|THE SHININGDOCUMENTARYROOM 237|
Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, whose often disturbing and challenging avant-garde music has turned up in films from “The Shining” to “The Exorcist” and “Children of Men,” and as recently as the TV series “Twin Peaks: The Return,” died at his home in Krakow on Sunday, March 29. He was 86 years old.
Penderecki’s greatest influence on any modern composer can perhaps be found in the work of Johnny Greenwood, the lead guitarist and keyboardist of Radiohead and musician behind the soundtracks for films including Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” “Phantom Thread” and “The Master,” as well as Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “You Were Never Really Here.”
“What sad news to wake to. Penderecki was the greatest — a fiercely creative composer, and a gentle, warm-hearted man. My condolences to his family, and to Poland on this huge loss to the musical world,” Greenwood tweeted on Sunday morning.
Penderecki began composing in the 1960s, going on to produce eight symphonies, four operas, a requiem, and many concertos and choral works, many of which are regarded as notoriously difficult to play. His compositions were often politically motivated, including probably his most famous work, “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” which appeared in the films “The People Under the Stairs” and “Children of Men.”
The chilling composition below was also used by David Lynch in the landmark Episode 8 of Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return,” set against images of an atomic bomb that appears to birth evil itself into the world. In “Children of Men,” “Threnody” sets off the film’s masterful long-take sequence as Clive Owen rushes to safety through a harrowing warren of chaos. In this piece, 52 string instruments collaborate to create a nerve-shredding soundscape.
Penderecki’s work also appeared in “The Shining,” with terrifying pieces employed by director Stanley Kubrick in lieu of an original soundtrack though composer Wendy Carlos did turn in a score, it went mostly unused in favor of preexisting music. Penderecki’s works also appear in David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” and “Wild at Heart,” Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist,” and Peter Weir’s “Fearless.” His work even appears in the 1996 disaster movie “Twister” and the Netflix series “Black Mirror.” He also contributed original scores to films as well, including most recently in the 2015 Polish horror film “Demon.”
Head over to The New York Times for a full obituary...
EXCLUSIVE: Spotlight production co Topic Studios is teaming with journalism outfit Field of Vision to offer $250,000 in emergency financial help for struggling documentary freelancers during the coronavirus lockdown.
The two companies are divisions of First Look Media, the org set up by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar with doc heavyweights Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras.
Industry freelancers have been particularly hard hit by the economic aspects of the crisis, with film and TV production halted around the world. As such, the fund is aiming to support the most vulnerable by providing life assistance grants, such as for rent, healthcare, bills, groceries, for those who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity. The money comes from the operating budgets of the two companies.Field of Vision / Topic Studios
The fund will offer individual grants of up to $2,000 in two chunks, initially in April and then again in May, as the situation evolves. It will open for applications between April 8 and April 10 or until the companies receive 750 applications and then again between May 6 and May 8 or until a further 750 applications are received.
Co-Founder and Executive Producer of Field of Vision, Charlotte Cook said, “This is an incredibly hard time for the documentary field and we're hoping the fund is able to offer some relief. We started with our virtual mentorship and consultation service to try and be as available to filmmakers as possible, but felt it was vitally important to also provide financial assistance. We want to support the artists working in the documentary field every day, but especially now, and will continue to build and add more resources as we can over the next few weeks and months.”
Executive Vice President of Topic Studios, Maria Zuckerman added, “We at Topic Studios are proud to launch this initiative in partnership with our close colleagues at Field of Vision. We hope to respond to the needs of our collaborators in the documentary community and look forward to a time, hopefully soon, when our main focus will again be on making great work together.”