Penderecki Krzysztof -  Misterioso for Flute and Piano

Penderecki Krzysztof - Misterioso for Flute and Piano

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Misterioso for flute and piano is indeed a mysterious piece. Experts on Penderecki’s oeuvre either ignore this composition or only consider its proper placement in the composer’s catalogue. The piece is available in two recordings, one of which was used in the soundtrack for Beyond the Music, a Polish biographical film about the composer. Just as that 1987 film focused on a then-unknown side of Penderecki’s life – that of a dendrologist with his own arboretum – so does Misterioso reveal secrets of his juvenilia from student days. Some of those juvenilia are well known today for example Request for Happy Islands and Silence, included in the cycle “A sea of dreams did breathe on me...”, while others, such as the Breath of Night and remaining miniatures for flute and piano – Misteriosomost likely was one of them – have for the most part been lost.

 (dated to 1954 or 1955) is one of Penderecki’s first serious, successful attempts at composition  and, first and foremost, it is stylistically different from his other works.

Those two minutes of music surprise with their impressionist atmosphere, more akin to Debussy’s Syrinx and – because of the selected intervals and the piano part – to Lutosławski’s Orthodox Church Bells than to any other among Penderecki’s works. The music seems suspended in time. The economical use of resources – thin texture, an accompaniment in high registers and pianodynamics that initially supports only single tones of the flute – creates the effect of hypnotic attraction, enhanced in the last section by denser rhythms. In this new texture, the movement of the music gradually subsides. 


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