The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, November 12, 2010

Henryk Gorecki, R.I.P.

From the BBC today (11/12/2010) comes news of the death of Polish composer Henryk Gorecki (say HEN-rik Goor-ETS-kee). His most famous work is his third symphony, written in 1976, "The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs." It became a world-wide hit in 1992 when a recording was released on the Nonesuch label, with soprano Dawn Upshaw and the London Sinfonietta, directed by David Zinman. This recording (pictured below right) went on to sell millions of copies, still a rare feat for a classical recording today. I found it a gripping work, one that still moves me to this day.

As a proto-serialist composer in the 1960's, like his fellow countryman and composer Krysztof Penderecki he grew disenchanted with the limited palette of atonal music, and composed in a more approachable style during the 1970's. Another Gorecki favorite is a work for chorus written for an open-air Mass, celebrated by Pope John Paul II upon his return to Poland as pope in 1987 - "Totus Tuus," or "I am wholly thine, Mary."

Worth checking out: the rarely recorded, but incredibly moving "Miserere." Highly recommended for those who love a capella choral music.

Requiescat in pace, Henryk.


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