Following his Stabat Mater, Penderecki garnered certain fame in avant-garde circles, though, in respect to his upcoming radicalism and emotional directness in his orchestral works, this led to musicians and music-lovers to turn their backs on him under accusations of him being reactionary and on disrupting musical progress.
The two parts of Utrenja were conceived and written separately, even though at the time of the latter's premiere, the two parts became strongly associated and started to be performed together generally. Some critics have associated it also with St. Luke Passion, which would make it a tryptych cycle; however, the complete version of Utrenja is recorded and performed separately, with no connections to St. Luke's Passion or Stabat Mater.
As a liturgical composition, Utrenja Part I is inspired by the Orthodox ritual of Holy Saturday and, therefore, is focused on the lamentation, passion and entombment of Christ; on the other hand, Utrenja Part II is based on the morning service of Easter Sunday, which commemorates and renders homage to the resurrection of Christ. The text from both parts has been taken from old church slavic writings.
Given that Utrenja is a set of two different compositions, their movements are numbered separately. A typical performance of the complete work would last 75–80 minutes to perform. The movement list is as follows:
- Part I: Złożenia Chrystusa do grobu (The Entombment of Christ)
- I. Troparion
- II. Pieśni Pochwalne (Songs of Praise)
- III. Irmos
- IV. Kanon Wielkiej Soboty, Pieśń 9 (Canon of Holy Saturday, Song 9)
- V. Irmologion (Stichira)
- Part II: Zmartwychwstanie Pańskie (The Resurrection of Christ)
- I. Ewangelia (The Gospel)
- II. Stichira
- III. Psalm z Troparionem (Psalm with Troparion)
- IV. Kanon Paschy, Pieśni 1, 3 (Passover Canon, Songs 1 and 3)
- V. Kanon Paschy, Pieśń 8 (Passover Canon, Song 8)
- VI. Kontakion
- VII. Ikos
- VIII. Kanon Paschy, Fragmenty (Passover Canon, Fragments)
Both parts were commissioned by the West German Radio. Part I was premiered in Altenburg in April 8, 1970, under the baton of Andrzej Markowski. Part II was premiered in Münster, again under Markowski, in May 28, 1971. This performance was followed by Part I; however, the premiere of the complete version of Utrenja took place in Kraków, on September 16, 1971, under Jerzy Katlewicz. Critical and audience reception of the work was tumultuous, partly due to the Polish government crackdown following the Gdansk shipyard riots.
In popular culture
- Excerpts of Ewangelia and of Kanon Paschy, Pieśń 8 were featured in Kubrick's The Shining.
Notable recordings of this composition include:
|Orchestra||Conductor||Record Company||Year of Recording||Format|
|Warsaw Philharmonic||Antoni Wit||Naxos Records||2009||CD|
- Whitehouse, Richard (2009). Penderecki: Utrenja. Hong Kong: Naxos Rights International. pp. 3–4.
- Clements, Andrew (May 1, 2009). "Penderecki: Utrenja: Hossa/Rehlis/Kusiewicz/Novacki/Bezzubenko (Naxos)". theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Blue" Gene Tyranny (2013). "Krzysztof Penderecki - Utrenia I: The Entombment of Christ, for 5 voices, 2 choruses & orchestra". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Blue" Gene Tyranny (2013). "Krzysztof Penderecki - Utrenia II: The Resurrection of Christ, for 5 soloists, boy's choir, chorus & orchestra". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "PENDERECKI, K.: Utrenja (Warsaw Philharmonic, Wit)". Hong Kong: Naxos Digital Services Ltd. 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2013.