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Krzysztof Penderecki’s ‘Kosmogonia’ Is a Group of Startling and Enlightening Pieces

One of the rare pleasures of being a writer reviewing music is that you can choose to work outside of your comfort zone.

Krzysztof Penderecki

As much as I enjoy listening to classical music, ranging from composers that have been renowned for centuries to those who are redefining classical as it is known today, I have not regularly had the opportunity to actually review a classical release.

Thanks to Cold Spring Records and Krzysztof Penderecki, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the release of “Kosmogonia” which is one of four compositions on this recently released CD/digital and is available for the first time since it’s 1974 release on vinyl.

At 53:03, four pieces of music gives you many elements to be encompassed by. In the time I’ve had to prepare and read a more about Mr. Penderecki, his compositions took an even more fascinating quality that I could’ve predicted. After reading an article titled,” Notes on Penderecki” by Filip Lech, there is a story pertaining to another piece by Penderecki (“Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima or 8’37”) and the process of it being published in Germany that speaks volumes of the innovative skill Penderecki possesses. I highly recommend you take the time to read the entire article.

While “Kosmogonia” is the title piece, the following tracks (De Natura Sonoris II, Anaklasis, & Fluorescences) can’t be forgotten. As even a short time of reading will reveal, many have been introduced to the works of Penderecki through “De Natura Sonoris II” because of it being featured in various films (most famously, The Shining). Because of classical compositions transcending generations, I took the time to seek out other recordings of all four pieces on this new release; the remastered  work, by Denis Blackham and Martin Bowes, in order for it to be presented digitally is very well done. The power of certain choral parts and the magnitude of swelling, climactic instrumental builds has been given a new life. This is not music for casual listeners; these pieces of music are four unique experiences that are worth your full attention.

I hope to acquire a copy of the six-panel digipack Cold Spring has made, as I’m sure that the already beautiful audio is complimented nicely by having a tactile way of experiencing the collection. It should go without saying, but the work of Mr. Penderecki is sure to be remembered as a treasured piece of Polish history and I’d highly recommend picking up this release.


Track List:

01) Kosmogonia
02) De Natura Sonoris II
03) Anaklasis
04) Fluorescences


Written by: Ben Manzella
Label: Cold Spring (UK)
Modern Classical