Krzysztof Penderecki, Composer of ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘The Shining,’ Dies at 86
Often inspired by religious themes or world-shattering events, Penderecki’s distinctive style was first recognized by a major figure in Hollywood when William Friedkin used four of his pieces, including a score from his controversial 1969 work The Devils of Loudon. Based on a novel by Aldous Huxley about the Inquisition, the score received criticism from the Vatican, which called upon the composer to stop performances. Despite the criticism, he refused to stop.
Penderecki became more successful in Hollywood after Stanley Kubrick made extensive use of his work in The Shining (1980), as did David Lynch in Wild at Heart (1990) and Inland Empire (2006). Elements of his monumental work Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima — designed to be performed by 52 strings — were used in both in West Craven’s 1991 horror The People Under the Stairs; in Alfonso Cuaron’s 2006 film The Children of Men; and in the 2017 sequel to Lynch’s Twin Peaks.