Henryk Mikolaj Górecki

Biography

Born: December 6, 1933; Czernica, Poland   Died: November 12, 2010; Katowice, Poland  
Henryk Górecki was that rarity among contemporary composers: the originator of a full-fledged hit. A recording of his Symphony No. 3 by the London Sinfonietta with soprano Dawn Upshaw climbed to the top of the British pop charts in the early '90s. Górecki was among the Eastern European composers for whom contemporary stylistic trends (first serialism and then the various reactions against it) took on anti-authoritarian overtones, and who thus Read more emerged in the forefront of late twentieth century music; in his works, stylistic originality seems a personal and political necessity.

Górecki was born in 1933 in the small town of Czernica in the Silesia region of Poland. He was trained as a primary-school teacher, and did not formally become a composer until the age of 22 when he enrolled at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice. He studied in Paris for a time and became acquainted with the leading edge of the Western avant-garde. The works of Webern, Stockhausen, and Messiaen were unavailable in Poland, suppressed by socialist-realist doctrines; but all of them, especially Messiaen, influenced Górecki's early music. Górecki became a professor at Katowice and went on to gain some official acceptance, ascending to the post of provost.

Górecki's music was always deeply rooted in Polish ideals, however, and it carries a sense of the emotional impact of the atrocities of the Second World War. He ran afoul of the authorities in the late '70s, resigning his post as provost to protest the government's refusal to permit Pope John Paul II to visit Katowice. He later composed music to honor an injured Solidarity labor union activist. What gave his protests additional weight was that he had rejected Western hyper-modernism and created a new musical language that more directly served his ideals. Górecki had first gained recognition with Scontri (1959), a work very much of the avant-garde in its treatment of sonority and texture as primary structural elements. In the 1960s, however, Górecki's music offered harbingers of the eclecticism that would dominate contemporary music by the century's end. Genesis shows minimalist qualities, while Three Pieces in the Old Style manipulates modal and whole tone ideas, and Lerchenmusik quotes Beethoven, to name a few examples.

Górecki became interested in the folk music of his native region and investigated Polish music of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. In 1976 he synthesized the new trends in his music with the Symphony No. 3, subtitled "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs." Scored for soprano and orchestra, this hour-long piece contains three movements, quoting old religious and folk texts and incorporating folk tunes. It opens with a canon in the strings that builds gradually over a 12-minute span, with an effect comparable to that of Western minimalist composition but proceeding from different spiritual bases. (One of the animating principles of Górecki's work was a fervent Roman Catholicism.) The work was recorded several times, but it was the 1993 release that caught fire -- partly because it fit perfectly with the new and well-marketed trend toward "holy minimalism."

Despite his growing success, Górecki continued to compose largely in response to inner creative dictates rather than according to any plan to increase his reputation. Much of his work in the 1980s and 1990s has been in the choral and chamber genres; the String Quartet No. 1, Op. 62 ("Already It Is Dusk"), was written for the Kronos Quartet, a successful U.S. ensemble devoted to new music, and further enhanced his reputation. The work used a Renaissance part-song as raw material, transforming it first into a dissonant but peaceful chorale and then into a folk-inflected dance. Read less
Górecki: Miserere;  Gubaidulina: Alleluia / Kitajenko, Et Al
Release Date: 06/17/1997   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9523   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $18.99
CD: $14.99
Low Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $18.99   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Górecki, Pärt, Schnittke / Turovsky, I Musici De Montréal
Release Date: 01/20/1998   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9590   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $18.99
CD: $14.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $18.99   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Antoni Wit Conducts Henryk Gorecki
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8503268   Number of Discs: 3
On sale! $24.99
CD: $22.99
In Stock
On sale!   $24.99   CD:  $22.99 Add CD to Cart

Work: Symphony no 3, Op. 36 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs"

Browse 1-19 of 19 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    100 Great Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002054602 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Sammartini,  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Kevin Mallon,  Christopher Hogwood,  Thomas Füri,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aradia Ensemble,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Camerata Bern  ... 
    On sale! $259.98
    CD: $189.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $259.98   CD:  $189.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    Antoni Wit Conducts Henryk Gorecki
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503268 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Zofia Kilanowisz,  Andrzej Dobber,  Anna Górecka,  Carol Wincenc
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit
    Recommendation
    On sale! $24.99
    CD: $22.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $24.99   CD:  $22.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Gorecki: Symphony No. 3; Aruty: Trumpet Concerto
    Label: Audiophile Classics   Catalog: 7702053 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki,  Alexander Arutiunian
    Import CD
    $7.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $7.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Gorecki: Symphony no 3, Three Pieces in Old Style / Gritton, Simonov
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1204 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Susan Gritton
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $6.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 5.
    Gorecki: Symphony No. 3 'symphony Of Sorrowful Songs'
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001742402 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Joanna Kozlowska
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $5.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 6.
    Gorecki: Symphony No 3, Three Pieces in Old Style / Gritton, Simonov
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28260 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Susan Gritton
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    Górecki: Symphony No 3 / Donald Runnicles, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80699 Release Date: 03/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Christine Brewer
    Conductor:  Donald Runnicles
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    20th-century Masterpieces - 100 Years Of Classical Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17500 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy,  Frederick Delius,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes,  Christa Ludwig,  Martha Argerich,  Sarah Chang  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London
    Recommendation
    CD: $108.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $108.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    Górecki: Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs / Upshaw, Zinman
    Label: Tony Palmer Films   Catalog: TPDVD102 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Dawn Upshaw
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
    On sale! $19.99
    DVD: $18.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $19.99   DVD:  $18.49 Add DVD to Cart

  • 10.
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4720402 Release Date: 01/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Conductor:  Takuo Yuasa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 11.
    Gorecki: Symphony No 3, Canticum Graduum / Altinoglu, Perruche
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5019 Release Date: 11/15/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Ingrid Perruche
    Conductor:  Alain Altinoglu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
    Recommendation
    SuperAudio CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    SuperAudio CD:  $17.99 Add to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 12.
    Gorecki: Symphony No 3 / De Feis, Leaper, Gran Canaria Po
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 277790 Release Date: 06/14/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Doreen DeFeis
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grand Canary Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    Górecki: Symphony No 3 / Kozlowska, Kord, Warsaw Po
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000231802 Release Date: 04/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Joanna Kozlowska
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $7.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $7.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 14.
    Gorecki: Symphony no 3 / Woytowicz, Bour, Baden-Baden RSO
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 7498212 Release Date: 06/23/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Stefania Woytowicz
    Conductor:  Ernest Bour
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  South-West Baden-Baden Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 15.
    Gorecki: Symphony No.3 Op.36
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4501482 Release Date: 04/03/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Zofia Kilanowisz
    Conductor:  Jerzy Swoboda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish State Philharmonic Orchestra
    Import CD
    $12.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 16.
    Górecki: Symphony No 3 / Doreen De Feis, Adrian Leaper
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 68387 Release Date: 01/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Doreen DeFeis
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grand Canary Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 17.
    Górecki: Symphony No 3, Etc / Kamirski, Rso Berlin
    Label: Koch Schwann   Catalog: 361302 Release Date: 01/25/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Stefania Woytowicz
    Conductor:  Wlodzimierz Kamirski,  Karol Teutsch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Warsaw Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 18.
    Gorecki: Symphony No. 3
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550822 Release Date: 06/28/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Zofia Kilanowisz
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $7.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 19.
    Gorecki: Symphony No 3 / Zinman, Upshaw, London Sinfonietta
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79282 Release Date: 05/05/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
    Performer:  Dawn Upshaw
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
    CD: $15.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart