The news of the passing of Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki on 29 March 2020 caught the attention of people round the globe, in spite of the raging pandemic. The name of this outstanding artist is well-known and celebrated all over the world. It is immediately associated with classical music, and with Poland.

Over the past 20 years, the Polish Chamber Choir had the opportunity to meet and work with Professor Penderecki many times in Gdańsk, many other cities in Poland and on international tours upon his personal request. We recorded his pieces for a cappella choir and had them specially dedicated to us. Even the tiniest opportunity to be in the Maestro’s presence was an honour, made us proud and gave us a feeling that we had a part in making history.

For the members of the Polish Chamber Choir, led by its conductor Jan Łukaszewski,  Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki was not only a genius of the stave, but also a friend.

The first recording of Krzysztof Penderecki’s music by the Polish Chamber Choir (called Schola Cantorum Gedanensis at the time) was his “Agnus Dei” in 1981, on a cassette titled Tschaikowsky, Verdi, Penderecki, Łuciuk, Negro Spirituals, Russisches Volkslied released on the Verlag Dr. Rossek label. In 2008 Musica Sacra Edition released a record with works by the Polish composers: Kilar | Penderecki | Borkowski | Łukaszewski | Chyrzyński | Kowalski-Banasewicz, with two pieces by the Maestro: “Veni Creator Spiritus” and “Benedictus”. In 2009, one of the most important items in the discography of the Polish Chamber Choir: Penderecki | Complete Choral Works | Wszystkie Dzieła Chóralne was released. A winner of many awards and a favourite of critics, the disc got a sequel: Penderecki | Choral Works | Utwory Chóralne Part 2, released in 2013. Both albums were released on the DUX label, both are winners of the prestigious Orphée d’Or award from the French Academie du Disque Lyrique and are an almost complete set of Krzysztof Penderecki’s works for a cappella choir.

In 2014 came the completion of a very exclusive album: Krzysztof Penderecki. Missa Brevis. Sketches, manuscript, recording. To Krzysztof Penderecki on his 81st Birthday, edited by Artur Matys. Released in a limited edition of 199 numbered copies, it contains, besides a CD with a recording of the “Missa Brevis”, facsimiles of the composer’s scores and notes.

There is one piece by Krzysztof Penderecki on our Choir’s latest disc: Polish Choir Music | Polska muzyka chóralna, released by DUX in 2018. The carol “My też pastuszkowie” (“We Shepherds Too”), dedicated personally to Jan Łukaszewski, written in 2015 and premiered by the Polish Chamber Choir at the composer’s final monographic concert at Gdańsk’s Artus’ Court on 30 January 2016.

Furthermore, the Polish Radio and Polish Television archives are full of recordings of works by Krzysztof Penderecki conducted by Jan Łukaszewski and by Krzysztof Penderecki himself.