Try to taste this one.
Górecki: Symphony #3, Op. 36, "Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs" - 1.
Lento, Sostenuto Tranquillo Ma Cantabile 26:47 Dawn Upshaw; David
Zinman: London Sinfonietta Górecki: Symphony #3 Classical AAC audio
file 100 2 10/23/10 3:14 PM 1992
Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, Composer, Dies
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 12, 2010
Filed at 12:04 p.m. EST
WARSAW, Poland (AP) ‹ Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, famous for
his "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," including one about a woman who was
held prisoner by the Gestapo, died Friday following a serious illness.
He was 76.
Gorecki died in the cardiology ward of a hospital in his home city of
Katowice in southern Poland, Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa, the director of
Polish Radio orchestra in Katowice, told The Associated Press.
The composer was suffering from a number of ailments, chiefly a lung
infection, she said.
Wnuk-Nazarowa said she and another Polish composer, Krzysztof
Penderecki, had visited Gorecki in the hospital on Wednesday.
"Penderecki insisted on seeing him," Wnuk-Nazarowa said. "We tried to
joke, make plans for the future. Penderecki promised he would direct
(Gorecki's) 'Beatus vir' for the 80th birthday" that both would
celebrate in 2013.
The work was commissioned by Archbishop Karol Wojtyla before he became
Pope John Paul II to mark 900 years since the death of Roman Catholic
martyr, Stanislaw, bishop of Krakow ‹ whom Pope John Paul II later made
a saint. The composition, completed in 1979, is a psalm for baritone,
choir and orchestra.
Gorecki was best known internationally for his Symphony No. 3, Opus 36,
for a soprano and orchestra, which was published in the United States in
1992. It later became a best-selling recording, with more than 1 million
Although his early works were more avant-garde, Gorecki was later
influenced by traditional Polish music and themes of his nation's
history, as reflected in works such as the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs."
Its three movements contain soprano parts about Mary, the mother of
Jesus; a female Polish prisoner held by the Gestapo during the Second
World War, and a Polish folk song about a mother searching for her dead
son. The second song is based on a prayer that was found inscribed by
the prisoner on the wall of her cell in a German Nazi police prison in
occupied southern Poland.
In awarding him an honorary fellowship in 2008, Cardiff University
praised Gorecki for "his independence of thought and independence of
spirit. His work is grounded in a profound humanity and is rooted in the
folk and religious culture of his native Poland."
Gorecki was born Dec. 6, 1933, in Czernica, near Rybnik in the coal
mining Silesia region in southern Poland.
In 1960 he graduated from the State Higher School of Music in Katowice,
where he studied composition. Eight years later he joined the faculty
and was its head from 1975 to 79.
His music uses simple harmony, minimal means and repetition in a style
often called the "New Simplicity."
Conductor Antoni Wit said that Gorecki did not compose much in recent
years, even though he knew his works would be welcome.
"He refrained from writing at times when he believed he did not have
anything important to write," Wit told the PAP agency. "He did not care
about so-called career."
Last month, in his hospital bed, he received Poland's highest
distinction, the Order of the White Eagle, bestowed by President
The composer is survived by his wife, piano teacher Jadwiga; his
daughter, pianist Anna Gorecka-Stanczyk; and his son, composer Mikolaj
Plans for the funeral were not immediately announced.
(This version CORRECTS Recasts the lede. Corrects date of U.S. issue to
1992. Adds reaction, background, photo, byline. This story is part of
AP's general news and entertainment services.)
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