Born in Poland towards the end of 1933, Krzysztof Penderecki established a reputation as one of the most revolutionary composers of the 20th century, his scores gaining acclaim among modernists. In the mid-1960's he surprised the musical world by adopting a more traditional and populist style of composing, using melodic conventions as the basis of his music. This return to tonality generated a renewed interest in the symphonic form, the dramatic First Symphony of 1973 completing his restoration of melodic language. It was a style continued in the Second Symphony, commenced by the composer on Christmas Day 1979. The Fourth Symphony was commissioned by Radio France to mark the bicentenary of the French Revolution, the music moving between conflict and moments of reconciliation.