Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima - Kryzsztof Penderecki
This piece marks a very important day for me in my musical knowledge and person-growing. We've all heard it before in The Shining, Children of Men, another movie, and that one documentary about bombs. (The first two are both great movies, please watch immediately!) This is the actual piece in its entirety, and I remember knowing that my perception of music changed that day I learned about it in Music History III.
I'm not expecting anyone to listen to the entire piece because it can be a bit traumatizing, especially if you did what I did (I'll share in just a moment). "Threnody" means a poem or song of mourning or lamentation. In this case, it's about the victims of Hiroshima during the bombings.
I remember I went to the library to get the full piece on CD. I felt myself drawn to it because of the techniques in the strings. I thought about how amazing it was that they were used to create the different timbres. After a while, I started to research Hiroshima and found loads of pictures of the remains and aftermath. I did all of this on the library computers while this piece blasted in my background. After a few minutes or so, I had to stop. I threw my headphones off of my head and closed my eyes to prevent myself from crying.
This was a very definitive moment for me. I felt like my bones were made of leaky, cold pipes. I sat frozen in my chair and waited for the sound of the library to come flooding back to my ears, which seemed like an eternity.
I grew up a lot in that moment. I had a lot of thoughts about music, war, history, America, and composition. I couldn't figure out how I was going to bring myself out of this, but then I heard the familiar sounds of the library come back to me. I appreciated it very much. It was warm, ordinary, and above all, usual.
Appreciation and thankfulness are how I moved on from this moment, and it's what makes me grow the fastest. This piece of music is an amazing work of art. I've never felt so strongly about any piece of music as I have with Threnody. I know this whole blog post is a little dark, but.. I guess you have to be in the dark to really see the light.