Remembering Polish composer H.M. Górecki
PR dla Zagranicy
December 6 marks the 85th anniversary of the birth of Polish 20th-century composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. Photo: Lech Kowalski and Włodzimierz Pniewski - scanned from Polish monthly "Studio" Nov/Dec 1993 page 8/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)
A leading figure on the Polish avant-garde music scene of the 1960s, Górecki rose to international fame thanks to the success of his 1976 Third Symphony.
Subtitled the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, the piece broke popularity records in the 1990s. Its recording by the London Sinfonietta under David Zinman, with Dawn Upshaw as the soloist, sold over 1 million copies, rose high in the pop charts and was used on film soundtracks.
Górecki was particularly renowned for his choral settings, sacred music and chamber works. His close relationship with the American Kronos Quartet resulted in three string quarters, Already It Is Dusk, Quasi una fantasia, and Songs Are Sung, all of which achieved popularity.
Górecki died in November 2010, leaving several pieces unfinished. These include his Fourth Symphony and Two Tristan Postludes and Chorale, both of which have been orchestrated by the composer’s son Mikołaj Górecki.
H.M. Górecki’s honours included the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish state distinction.