Henryk Gorecki, Composer of “Sorrowful Songs,” Dead at 76

(via The Anchoress)

The Polish composer, Henryk Gorecki, passed away yesterday. He was 76.

…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.

This achingly beautiful excerpt was recorded at Auschwitz by Sinfonietta Cracovia, conducted by John Axelrod and featuring soprano Isabel Bayrakdaraian. It was included in the film HOLOCAUST – A Music Memorial Film from Auschwitz.

Remember America, but for the Grace of God and the blood and toil of patriots before us – there go we.

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