Sunday, December 6, 8933

Henryk Gorecki (b. 1933) - Symphony No. 3

Henryk Gorecki (b. 1933)

Symphony No. 3 ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs")

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki's (b. December 6, 1933, Czernica, Silesia, Poland) work in the late 1950's and 1960's was characterised by a dissonant modernism influenced by Nono, Stockhausen, and his contemporaries Penderecki and Serocki.

In the mid 1970's, he moved towards a "pure" sacred minimalist sound, encapsulated by the 1976 Symphony No. 3. Though he has remained primarily a religious composer, Górecki has progressed through several distinct styles, from the reverence of Beatus Vir (1979), to the meditative Miserere (1981), to the spiritualism of Good Night (1990).

Though he spent two brief periods studying in Paris and a short time in Berlin, Górecki has remained for most of his life in his native southern Poland. Until 1992, he was known only to a few connoisseurs, primarily as one of a number of composers responsible for sparking the postwar Polish music renaissance.

That year Elektra-Nonesuch released a recording of his 15-year-old Symphony No. 3, which topped the classical charts in the UK. Within two years the work had sold more than 700,000 copies worldwide -- at least four hundred times the expected lifetime sales.

Górecki was as surprised as anyone else at the recording's success and said, "Perhaps people find something they need in this piece of music…somehow I hit the right note, something they were missing. Something somewhere had been lost to them. I feel that I instinctively knew what they needed."

[8934 Kasai / 8933 Gorecki / 8933 Barry]