Dies Irae, Auschwitz Oratorium

Krzysztof Penderecki


A memorial to the victims at Auschwitz, Dies Irae allows the singers and players to improvise according to their talents and abilities. The chorus recites words, rather than singing them, and the instruments are the framework for the rhythm and pitch. It was first performed on the grounds of Auschwitz in 1967.

Penderecki composed Dies Irae (also known as Auschwitz Oratorio) after the successful performances of his St. Luke Passion. It has much in common with that work, though it is on the whole a less impressive achievement. The text draws on various literary sources: Psalm 116, the Apocalypse, Aeschylus’s Eumenides as well as poems by Broniewski, Aragon, Rózewicz and Valéry. (All the contemporary texts are translated into Latin while the Aeschylus fragments are sung in Greek.) The scoring is for very substantial orchestra with a large percussion section, though without violins, violas and clarinets, the latter being replaced by saxophones. The choral writing often uses divisions (up to 24 parts at times) and mixes song, speech and chant with a variety of unusual vocal effects, as it did in the masterly St. Luke Passion. Dies Irae may well be an occasional piece, but it is nevertheless a substantial work as well as a deeply-felt statement. (from here)


Krzysztof Eugeniusz Penderecki (born 23 November 1933) is a Polish composer and conductor. Among his best known works are his Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, St. Luke Passion, Polish Requiem, Anaklasis, four operas, eight symphonies and other orchestral pieces, a variety of instrumental concertos, choral settings of mainly religious texts, as well as chamber and instrumental works.(from Wikipedia)



Founder of Aneddotica (Anecdotic) Magazine, webmaster and something more... FoaF Profile

Latest articles

Related articles


  1. Quando si commemoreranno i venti milioni di vittime di Stalin e le centinaia di migliaia di vittime delle foibe jugoslave? Quando si commemoreranno le 700 vittime di S. Anna di Stazzema? Quando si rendera’ onore a Salvo D’Acquisto per essersi immolato innocente per la salvezza di tanti civili incolpevoli? Quado si redera’ disonore a quel vigliacco che uccide tranta soldati tedeschi a Via Rasella, adando poi a ascondersi nelle fogne e lasciando trucidare trecento innocenti? Credo sia ora di farla finita con i luoghi comuni ed i capri espiatori del vincitore ai danni del perdente.

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.