The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has paid tribute to the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, whose work "Ekecheiria" was used as part of the Opening Ceremony for the Munich 1972 Olympic Games.
The IOC said they would be forever grateful to Penderecki, who died after a long illness at the age of 86 in Krakow in Poland.
"Our thoughts are with his family and we mourn with all Polish people who have lost one of their greatest," said IOC President Thomas Bach.
In 1972, Penderecki was asked to write a musical piece on the idea of the Olympic truce to be performed during that year's Olympic Games.
Polish National Opera director Waldemar Dąbrowski said: “The fact that it was Penderecki who was commissioned to write pieces for the American Bicentennial, the 3000 years of the city of Jerusalem and the Olympic Games in Munich speaks for itself.”
Dabrowski added that Penderecki's music would “have a lasting place in mankind’s cultural treasure house.”
Penderecki’s Olympic composition was entitled "Ekecheiria", the Greek word for truce.
It was performed for the first time at the Opening Ceremony shortly after the Olympic Oath had been taken by long jumper and sprint hurdler Heidi Schuller and equestrian judge Heinz Pollay.
“It attempted to give a modern interpretation of the peace of the gods which Hellas had prescribed and which Coubertin had in mind when he introduced his ideas to the people” said a report of the ceremony by the United States Olympic Committee.
Our thoughts are with his family and we mourn with all Polish people who have lost one of their greatest."— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) April 2, 2020
IOC President Thomas Bach
The music was composed in the experimental Radiophonic Workshop at Polish radio.
It was performed by bass baritone Bernard Ladysz alongside the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir.
The work was inspired by the writings of ancient Greek lyric poet Pindar who paid tribute to Diagoras of Rhodes, Olympic champion in 464 BC.
Diagoras was considered the greatest of the ancient boxers.
“And now, with the music of flute and lyre alike I have come to land with Diagoras. I may praise this straight-fighting, tremendous man," wrote Pindar.
Penderecki also wrote music for the Stanley Kubrick film "The Shining” and ‘’The Exorcist’’ by William Friedkin and also composed ‘’Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.”
Polish authorities have confirmed that Penderecki's remains will be interred at the National Pantheon at the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Krakow.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Piotr Gliński told Polish television that Penderecki’s death was a “huge and irreparable loss” for Polish culture.