From the recording Threaded Sky
Polish composer KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI started his musical life on the piano and violin. He went to Krakow to study composition at the Academy of Music, and shortly after got a position as an assistant professor in the State Musical Academy. In 1959, Penderecki entered several of his pieces, each under a different pseudonym, in the Polish Composer Union’s 2nd Competition of Young Composers. His works won first, second, and third prizes. The following year saw the creation of perhaps his most famous work originally simply titled 8’37” but now known as “Threnody for Victims of Hiroshima.” His music has been used often in film, most notably The Shining (1980), Shutter Island, and Children of Men.
In 1980, Penderecki was commissioned to compose a piece for the unveiling of a statue commemorating those killed at the anti-government riots at the Gdańsk shipyards in 1970. The piece, Lacrimosa, became the first movement written of his Polish Requiem, a monumental work whose creation has spanned 25 years. The most recent and final movement, written in 2005, was the Ciaconna in Memoria Giovanni Paolo II. The composer spoke about the Requiem in 1988: "I don't write political music. Political music is immediately obsolete. My Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima remains important because it is abstract music. The Requiem is dedicated to certain people and events, but the music has a broader significance." The Ciaconna was originally scored for string orchestra and Penderecki said in an interview that it functions in the Requiem as a “brightening up, coming out of the thicket into a sunlit clearing.” He transcribed it for violin and viola in 2009, and the Miller-Porfiris Duo version returns some of the omitted voices to the transcription.