I woke up to this music on the radio this morning, and almost could not tear myself away to start getting ready for work. I’ve never heard anything like it. It’s by a composer I had never heard of before, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. He was a Polish composer of contemporary classical music, who sadly passed away last year on November 12, 2010.
The work is known as Sorrowful Songs, Symphony No. 3, Opus 36. The recording that AllClassical.org was playing was this one, with Dawn Upshaw, soprano. It is haunting, beautiful, passionate, elegant. The full work is nearly an hour long, and when my radio kicked on it was about 45 minutes into it, so I couldn’t tell you now which movement it was. Here are some YouTube videos of the piece, there are more out there if you’re interested.
This piece did the 1992 equivalent of going viral, after it was recorded by Dawn Upshaw with the London Sinfonietta. Górecki observed, “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.”
FAIR WARNING: The video for the third movement contains graphic images, which some people may find disturbing. You may want to listen without watching.
Third movement: GRAPHIC IMAGES
There is obviously more to it, and I am off to ArkivMusic to buy the CD now.