On This Day (January 9)…Penderecki’s Seventh Premieres

Krzysztof Penderecki’s Seventh Symphony, subtitled “Seven Gates of Jerusalem”, premiered in Jerusalem on this day in 1997.

This piece was commissioned for the celebrations of the third millennium of Jerusalem and is named for the city’s seven gates (with an eighth gate reserved for the return of the Messiah according to Jewish tradition). Interestingly, this piece was meant to be an oratorio rather than a symphony, and in fact was not called Penderecki’s seventh symphony until its Polish premiere. This can be seen in its structure; the piece has seven movements rather than the traditional four.

Reviews speak to the maturing of Penderecki as a composer shown in this piece, as well as the incredible scale at which it is written.

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