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Henryk Gorecki: Symphony No. 3 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs"

Christine Brewer Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £11.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 April 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc Classical
  • ASIN: B001RTP3QO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,288 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I Lento: Sostenuto tranquillo ma cantabile - Gorecki, Henryk
2. II Lento e largo: Tranquillissimo cantabill - Gorecki, Henryk
3. III Lento: Cantabile, semplice - Gorecki, Henryk

Product Description

CD Description

Written in 1976, Henryk Gorecki's third symphony, also known as the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs", is a setting of three Polish texts with the theme of separation through war: The first is a 15th century Polish lament in which Mary speaks to her son Jesus as he is dying; the second is a message written on the wall of a Gestapo cell by a teenage girl during the Second World War; and the third is a folk song in which a mother grieves for her son killed in the Silesian uprisings. The symphony marked a change in compositional style for Górecki, who was previously identified as a member of the modernist wing of European music that was prone to compositions constructed of clashing sound masses and serially ordered elements. The symphony's simplicity, chant-like melodic nature and largely consonant harmonies took many listeners and critics by surprise, and the symphony became an unexpected crossover hit record when a 1992 recording by soprano Dawn Upshaw and David Zinman and the London Sinfonietta was embraced by record buyers. The recording sold more than a million copies and climbed to the top of the classical music charts in both the U.S. and the U.K. It also reached number six on the mainstream U.K. album chart.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's performances of Górecki's Third Symphony in May 2008 were presented in a production enhanced by lighting effects and visuals by Anne Patterson and Adam Larsen and conducted by the ASO's Principle Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. Mr. Runnicles was recently named General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony, effective in 2009, has been Music Director and Principal Conductor of the San Francisco Opera since 1992, and is Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming. Soloist Christine Brewer is a GRAMMY® Award-winning American soprano whose appearances in opera, concert and recital are marked with her own unique timbre, at once warm and brilliant, combined with a vibrant personality and emotional honesty.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Donald Runnicles (conductor), Christine Brewer (soprano)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weeeell ... 13 Jan 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It is an amazing piece of work and Ms.Upshaw a fine soprano but the recording doesn't do anyone justice . As the sleeve photo suggests , ' I put me 'and up Guv , its all my fault ' . Shoot the recording engineer and all will be forgiven but not forgotten - try the LPO/Simonov production instead !
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ave Atque Vale: Henryk Górecki 15 Nov 2010
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Henryk Miko'aj Górecki December 6, 1933 - November 12, 2010). And so passes another genius composer of the last century. Despite his somber output of works recorded thus far, this was a man of pulsating life, one who knew the agonies of a country almost decimated by WW II, and yet a man who could draw from Polish poetry and folksongs and fashion pieces that will continue to be indelibly stamped on the hearts of music lovers around the world.

When recordings of this his third and most popular symphony, 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs' are compared, most people will gravitate toward the Zinman/Upshaw recording that not only must be one of the most moving works on CD but also surprised the world by becoming a best selling classical music album. Subsequent recordings by different conductors and orchestras and sopranos stand well but the comparison is inevitable - until this very fine recoding with Donald Runnicles conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with soprano soloist Christine Brewer, for this listener, adds to the appreciation of this work. Brewer's approach to the text may not be as visceral as Upshaw's pinnacle interpretation, but the sheer majesty and glory of her voice invites the listener to hear the poetry again, refreshed. The orchestra performs well under Runnicles exacting standards and since the recording was made after a run of live performances there is a sense of involvement and commitment from all concerned - as though Górecki were sitting in the audience nodding in agreement.

As with all important contemporary symphonies it is healthy to have more than one version in the library and this very fine recording deserves that position. Henryk Miko'aj Górecki will be missed but he has left the world with a legacy that will most assuredly last. Grady Harp, November 10
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, but... 9 Nov 2010
By William Dodd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you have never heard this Symphony, you will no doubt love this recording. It's recording quality is fine, the orchestra and soloist are fine. But compared to my favorite, the Simonov, and the almost as fine Zinman, this release lacks the absolute, heart wrenching feeling that simply blows you away. It isn't that I can't recommend this, it's simply that there are two others that go beyond.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Moving 17 May 2009
By David C. Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is honestly my first exposure to the work of Henryk Gorecki, but it is certainly quite the welcome. The piece, a new direction in Gorecki's style, is considered one of the finest in 20th-century composition, and this recording explains it all. From the eerie contrabass introduction to the dying out of the full strings and piano and harp, Runnicles, Brewer, and the Atlantans are all in. Brewer conveys the dark and stirring texts beautifully. The music moves so subtly that it almost seems as though one is frozen in time, yet the music is very gripping in its quiet stirrings. Needless to say, even after the mega-hit by Zinman and Upshaw, this recording is a wonderful and powerful experience I will not soon forget.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting 2 May 2009
By Dr. David Sleet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Amazing recording with a pure and vibrant female voice and masterful orchesteral performance. Learn the history of the composer and you'll see why this is such an important CD.
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