Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima
|Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima|
|by Krzysztof Penderecki|
|Full title||Ofiarom Hiroszimy: Tren, na 52 Instrumenty Smyczkowe|
|English||Victims of Hiroshima: Threnody, for 52 String Instruments|
|Dedication||Victims and Hibakusha of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima|
|Publisher||Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne|
|Date||22 September 1961:565|
|Location||Warsaw Autumn Festival|
Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, also translated as Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (Polish: Tren Ofiarom Hiroszimy) is a musical composition for 52 string instruments composed in 1960 by Krzysztof Penderecki. Dedicated to the residents of Hiroshima killed and injured by the first-ever wartime usage of an atomic weapon, the composition won the Tribune Internationale des Compositeurs UNESCO prize in 1961.[a][b]
The piece's written length is about 8 minutes and 37 seconds. Originally called 8'37", the piece applies the sonoristic technique which tends to focus on specific characteristics and qualities of timbre, texture, articulation, dynamics, and motion in an attempt to create freer form, and rigors of specific counterpoint to an ensemble of strings treated to unconventional scoring. Penderecki's stated intent with the composition was to "develop a new musical language". Penderecki later said, "It existed only in my imagination, in a somewhat abstract way." When he heard an actual performance, "I was struck by the emotional charge of the work ... I searched for associations and, in the end, I decided to dedicate it to the Hiroshima victims".
The piece spans 52 string instruments,:93 melding them together in sonoristic manipulation and counterpoint in a manner which, according to reviewer Paul Griffiths, makes the listener "uneasy by choosing to refer to an event too terrible for string orchestral screams". The vertical component of the score is varied, with 24 violins divided into four sections, 10 violas divided into two sections, 10 cellos divided into two groups, and 8 basses in two sections. Threnody's sustained tone clusters and various extended techniques – including a riot of varying vibrato, slapped instruments, playing on the tailpiece and behind the bridge – are matched by an optical notation full of thick black lines.:94 At times Penderecki takes an aleatoric approach, offering the players a choice of techniques or demanding irregular degrees of vibrato. The piece is also marked by a considerable rigor in its timing indications, notated in seconds, as well as specific note clusters and the use of quarter tones, clustered pitches and sound mass which accumulates in a reservoir of hypertonality.:93
Usage in media
In film, excerpts from Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima are used in Alfonso Cuarón's 2006 film Children of Men, Wes Craven's 1991 film The People Under the Stairs, David Lynch's 2017 television series Twin Peaks, and in Gerry Anderson's 1969 film Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. In music, excerpts from Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima are sampled in one version of Manic Street Preachers's 1991 song You Love Us and in SebastiAn's 2010 release Bird Games.
- The UNESCO prize is not restricted to choosing a single winner, rather, the Rostrum may choose a variable number of winners ranked in a specialized order of selection.:202
- While referred to informally as the UNESCO prize, UNESCO is not involved with the selection of winners, who are instead chosen by the Tribune Internationale des Compositeurs (Rostrum of International Composers, or Rostrum). The Rostrum is organized by the International Music Council, an NGO which was created in 1949 as UNESCO's advisory body on matters of music.
- International Standard Work Code, No.T-905.954.212-0. "Tren Ofiarom Hiroszimy / Krzysztof Penderecki". International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers. ISWC-Net.
- "International Rostrum of Composers". 11 April 2015.
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- Krzysztof Penderecki (1988). Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima Tren ofiarom Hiroszimy (1980) ; Viola concerto (1983) (CD booklet). Conifer Records. OCLC 884553089.
- Krzysztof Penderecki (1961). Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for 52 strings = Threnos den opfern von Hiroschima fúr 52 saiteninstrumente (CD booklet). Deshon Music. OCLC 318270188.
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- Penderecki, Krzysztof (1961). ""Ofiarom Hiroszimy: Tren: Na 52 Instrumenty Smyczkowe = To The Victims of Hiroshima: Threnody: For 52 Stringed Instruments"" (Sheet Music). Warszawa: Polskie Wydawn. Muzyczne. OCLC 269308.
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[Penderecki's words are] Cited by Miekzyslaw Tomaszewski in his liner notes for Penderecki: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 (Naxos 8.554491, 2000).
- Kałużny, Jan A. (1963). "Krzysztof Penderecki and his Contribution to Modern Musical Notation". The Polish Review. The University of Illinois Press on behalf of the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America. 8 (3). JSTOR 25776495.
- Griffiths, Paul (1976). "Review of Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, Penderecki, K." The Musical Times. 117 (1605): 915. doi:10.2307/958398. JSTOR 958398.
- Kozak, Mariusz (1 February 2017). "Experiencing Structure in Penderecki's Threnody: Analysis, Ear-Training, and Musical Understanding". Music Theory Spectrum. 38 (2): 200–217. doi:10.1093/mts/mtw015. ISSN 0195-6167.
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- Robert Parrish, director (27 August 1969). Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (Motion picture). Screenplay by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and Donald James. Produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Music by Barry Gray. Cinematography by John Read. Edited by Len Walter. Century 21 Cinema Productions. OCLC 905922131.
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