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Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933-2010)

Górecki died five days ago, and I've been meaning to make this entry, and avoiding making this entry. Truly, to me personally, Górecki was, and remains, one of the most important of all contemporary composers. Like many people, I came to Górecki by way of his Symfonia pieśni żałosnych (Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, as conducted by David Zinman, with vocalist Dawn Upshaw. I first heard Górecki in 1994, shortly after moving to Athens, Georgia. I've rarely heard anything more beautiful and true. I wanted to post of YouTube clip from Symphony 3, but I can't find one I'm happy with. Instead, here's Lamb's song, "Górecki":

I do not choose my listeners. What I mean is, I never write for my listeners. I think about my audience, but I am not writing for them. I have something to tell them, but the audience must also put a certain effort into it. But I never wrote for an audience and never will write for because you have to give the listener something and he has to make an effort in order to understand certain things. If I were thinking of my audience and one likes this, one likes that, one likes another thing, I would never know what to write. Let every listener choose that which interests him. I have nothing against one person liking Mozart or Shostakovich or Leonard Bernstein, but doesn't like Górecki. That's fine with me. I, too, like certain things.

— Henryk Górecki, April 1994.


( 4 comments — Have your say! )
Nov. 18th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
Like many people, I came to Górecki by way of his Symfonia pieśni żałosnych (Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

Indeed. That was how I discovered him.
Nov. 18th, 2010 03:18 am (UTC)
Much appreciation for posting this. I knew the lamb song, but there is obviously more I must investigate.
Nov. 18th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
You mentioned listening to Górecki's 3rd in another post. Thank you for introducing him to me.

One of his listeners was Helena Błażusiak, the young woman whose prayer is sung in the second movement. She survived the Holocaust, married, and died in Wadowice, Poland in 1999.
Nov. 18th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
Symphony of Sorrowful Songs
I remember hearing Symphony of Sorrowful Songs back in the 1990s while I was driving around on a lunch break. I immediately drove into the Tower Records to purchase it. It remains one of my favorite pieces of music. Dawn Upshaw adds both soul and a wonderful weightiness to this ethereal masterpiece. I think you are the only other person I know who marked Gorecki's passing. However, as my response was silent reflection, I may have missed something.

PS - I sent Kathryn a message about tickets Bella Figura. I am not sure about William Forsythe's work but the Kylián piece may be worth the trip to Boston. It is suppose to be avant garde and erotic. I can arrange for tickets for the two of you to go on your own or you can join me and my friend Judith. It is in March/April and in Boston. I have season tickets to the ballet, so it is no trouble. My apologies if I am being too familiar or forward.
( 4 comments — Have your say! )