During the 59th edition of the Grammy Awards, which took place on February 12, Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki and the Choir and Orchestra of the Warsaw Philharmonic(Henryk Wojnarowski – choir director) won the “Choral Music” category for the album “Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Vol. 1.” The first of a planned series, this album is the composer’s first studio recording with the Philharmonic, and includes the premiere of Dies Illa, written on the occasion of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and featuring soloists Johanna Rusanen – soprano, Agnieszka Rehlis – mezzo-soprano, and Nikolay Didenko – bass.
This album highlights Poland’s greatest living composer’s vocal-instrumental works on religious subjects. According to Penderecki, “My art, with its deep Christian roots, aims to restore the human metaphysical space, shattered by 20th-century cataclysms. Restoring the sacred dimension of reality is the only way in which man can be saved.” The works selected also provide proof of the special importance that the composer attaches to what he considers as “the most difficult of instruments”—namely, the human voice.
According to Penderecki, “I set the bar for myself higher and higher and I do not always manage to clear it, so sometimes I pass under it. I have in store works that I would like to finish and to do this I need at least 20 years.”