This vast composition, Romantic in spirit, proved a breakthrough in the composer’s output.
The world premiere of the Violin Concerto with Isaak Stern as soloist once again took the audience and the critics by surprise, this time because of its traditional, not avant-garde language. Years later Penderecki would call this return to the past “opening the doors behind me”. The solo violin competes and clashes with the orchestra, which produces low and sombre sounds. The composer introduces motifs based on his favourite intervals, the semitone and the tritone. They are wistful and dramatic at the same time. Penderecki’s father was dying at the time when the artist was working on this piece.