Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Henryk Gorecki, in memory

Polish composer Henryk Gorecki, whose composition Symphony of Sorrowful Songs brought him to international attention, passed away last month of a chronic lung infection. He would have turned 77 yesterday. He is buried in Slaskie Voivodeship, Poland.

The Symphony, whose 1992 recording by Dawn Upshaw and the London Sinfonietta first exposed the composer to fame outside his home country, is heartbreaking. It is a must-listen; the simplicity of the musical style, effective selection of texts, and elegant congruity consume me on every hearing.

Gorecki composed primarily for voice but few of his works have passed into popular circulation as Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. It is among the masterpieces of the 20th century, and I commemorate this master.

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