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Henryk Górecki, RIP

It is said that when a Los Angeles classical radio station first played the Symphony No. 3 ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs") by the Polish composer Henryk Grecki in the early 1990s, cars could be seen pulling to the side of the freeways because the drivers' eyes were full of tears. The symphony, which incorporated included a 15th-century lament, a Silesian folk song, and words written by a teenage girl on the wall of her Gestapo prison cell, brought Grecki international acclaim.Grecki has often been grouped with composers like Arvo Paert and John Tavener--they've been called the "holy minimalists." But Grecki's music ranged beyond minimalism and cannot be so easily pigeon-holed.He resigned his university teaching post when the communist authorities in Poland refused to welcome a visit by Pope John Paul II. Many years later Grecki would write "Totus Tuus" for the pope's third trip to Poland. (Back in 1979 Grecki had written "Beatus vir," on the life of St. Stanislaw, for then Archbishop Karol Wojtyla.)Last month while he was in the hospital Grecki was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, the highest honor given by the Polish state. RIP.



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Thank you, Greg.

Thanks, Greg, May he rest in peace and rise in glory. His music will live on!David Philippart

Just listened to the whole symphony, Dawn Upshaw soprano. Such music.

I wouldn't have known perhaps. Thank you for your words, Greg. Tonight, Friday, I'll take time to listen to my CD of Gorecki's Symphony. Listening to his music, not often enough, has always taken me deeper into the meaning of my faith. Now more than ever the need for a tragic sense of life is strong.

The first time I heard Henryk Gorecki's 3rd Symphony was while listening to the my local NPR station in Nashville. I was so stunned by it's absolutely haunting beauty that I stayed in the car long after I had reached my destination to hear all of it. By the end of the day, I had gone to Tower Records and bought the CD. I also had the great privilege of hearing Dawn Upshaw perform it. It would only have been better if Gorecki himself had been conducting. It remains as moving today as the time I first heard it.He was a beautiful composer.Tony Spence

This was my first time listening to this music. I did not know who Henryk Gorecki was nor had ever hear his name. All I can say is I was blown away with sorrow of heart and almost broke down sobbing. I was drawn to listen again to it. Now, I might have a small insight into what Our Lady of Sorrows is all about. I have ordered the CD. Thank you!

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