I purchased Gorecki's symphony No3, which I really enjoyed, so thought I would try the Miserere also. It is a beautiful piece, but not as haunting as No3. I purchased a used copy, so saved a fair bit on the price, so have no complaints.
I write this saddened by the knowledge that Gorecki is no longer here, but thankful that he has left some memorable music as his testament. To my mind, this, along with his compelling 3rd Symphony, are two such pieces. The Miserere was written during Polish unrest in 1981, when under the yoke of the Soviet Union. For unaccompanied choir, it is an atmospheric, intense and utterly compelling piece. The work begins in layered thirds until the dynamic climax is sung in ten parts: emotionally compelling, and highly addictive. The other pieces have less intensity, but their greater simplicity is expressive and measured, and richly melodic.The recording is warm, but a little cloudy, so only 4 stars. Well recommended.(Penguin Guide ***) If you are unfamiliar with the 3rd Symphony, an outstanding bargain is Górecki - Symphony No 3; Olden Style Pieces
Having visited Auschwitz some eight years ago, I was able to return to that place in my inner mind when I played his special symphony. Gorecki's music is authentic in that, as I understand it, he sat outside the camp on the ground letting the 'soil' run through his hands. And he remarked on the stillness and what everyone notices - the dearth of small birds. It is inevitable that this CD has echoes of this work and is both startling and contemplative. His music is appropriate for a very sacred space. That place where we all meditate. And, his music is deeply, emotional.