Henryk Gorecki, R.I.P.

by John J. Miller

The Polish composer had died. I’m a rock-n-roll guy, so when I speak of “classical music,” I usually mean the Beatles and Stones. But I also listen to the other kind of classical music–and my very favorite piece is Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, composed in 1976. The first time I heard it was at Linda Chavez’s house, in the winter of 1992-93. I had gone there to work (she was my boss) and she was blaring Symphony No. 3 through her house. I don’t know what else I accomplished that day, but I did learn the name “Gorecki.” Try to have a listen. It’s one of the most beautiful hours of music you’ll ever hear.

Here’s a little more background, from the NYT obit:

But the work for which Mr. Gorecki is most widely known, the Symphony No. 3 (1976), explores the gradations of a single mood: somber, introspective reflection, conveyed in three long, slow, quiet movements that last nearly an hour. Scored for orchestra and soprano, the work’s vocal sections include settings of a 15th-century sacred lamentation, a simple prayer (“Oh Mamma do not cry — Immaculate Queen of Heaven support me always”) scrawled by a young girl on the wall of a Gestapo prison in southern Poland, and a plaintive Polish folk song in which a mother grieves for a son lost in war.

Over to you, Jay Nordlinger.