Wednesday, November 25, 2015

London Philharmonic Orchestra: Górecki Symphony No. 3

The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Gilbert Levine conducting, performs the second movement of the Górecki Symphony No. 3, opus 36,  “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” (in PolishSymfonia pieśni żałosnych)a symphony in three movements The soprano is Zofia Kilanowicz.

The symphony was composed by Henryk Górecki  [1933–2010] in 1976; it was first performed at the Royan International Festival, in France, with Stefania Woytowicz as soprano and Ernest Bour as conductor, on April 4, 1977. The music and the performance is both sublime and transcendent.

In an article (“‘Auschwitz’ and Górecki: reflections on evil and hope;” November 19, 2005) in News Weekly, an Australian publicationPatrick J. Byrne writes:
Górecki (pronounced "Gor-etski") wrote the music to expiate his nightmares after visiting a death camp as a young schoolboy, soon after the war. The shingle on the camp pathways was the crushed bone of the murdered inmates. He said he felt he was walking on dead people.
The symphony was written in 1976, but not released until 1992. It sold two million copies in two years, something unprecedented for classical music.
It left commentators asking how it was that, in this secular world of religious indifference and instant material gratification, there was still a deep hunger for spiritual answers to fundamental human issues, such as the nature of good and evil.
The second movement is based on a message from 1944 found scrawled on the wall of a Nazi prison camp (Gestapo headquarters) in Zadopane, Poland, near the Tatra Mountains, not far from where the composer grew up. The message was by an 18 year old girl, Helena Wanda Blazusiakówna, to the Queen of Heaven.

The lyics are as follows:
Mamo, nie płacz, nie.
Niebios Przeczysta Królowo,
Ty zawsze wspieraj mnie.
Zdrować Mario, Łaskiś Pełna.
[English translation]
No, Mother, do not weep,
Most chaste Queen of Heaven
Help me always.
Hail Mary.
I could not find any information on what happened to this young woman, if she had survived her imprisonment. If she did, it would be an answer to prayer.

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