HumanitiesWeb.org - Henryk Górecki - The Search for Expression [Recommended Recordings]
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Site last updated
26 June, 2013

Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
Recommended Recordings



Kleines Requiem, Harpsichord Concerto, Good Night
(Elisabeth Chojnacka, Dawn Upshaw; London Sinfonietta; David Zinman and Markus Stenz. conducting)


Symphony no 3
(Dawn Upshaw; London Sinfonietta; David Zinman, conductor )
This album, which catapulted Polish composer Henryk Gorecki to into the international spotlight, takes texts born in pain and turns them into statements of affirmation through the use of music that ebbs and flows in mystic minimalism. The clear voice of soprano Dawn Upshaw, singing the Polish texts, is a large part of the success of this particular recording, but the music, contemporary without either dissonance or movie-music mawkishness, clarifies and uplifts the words. This is a moving and essential element of the modern repertoire. (review by Sarah Bryan Miller)

Symphony no 3
(Zofia Kilanowisz; Warsaw Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit, conductor)
The current Schwann catalog lists nine versions of Górecki's phenomenally popular Symphony 3 (Sorrowful Songs) composed in 1976. During his early career, Górecki embraced serialism and concentrated on instrumental sonorities in the vein of Messiaen. But in Symphony 3, his atonality disappears into a strategy of gently mounting thematic pitches, taking the strings through all possible registers. All three movements are marked lento, rare for any symphony. The Elektra Nonesuch recording has tended to be the bestseller, but give this Naxos release a try--it's just as good. The sound is excellent and the performances are above reproach. (review by Paul Cook)

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