Górecki's Milestone Third


With the release of a single recording, Polish composer Henryk Mikolai Górecki achieved legendary status in the U.S. and abroad. That recording, released in 1992, was of Górecki's Symphony No. 3, "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs." Over a decade and a half later, Telarc has released a distinctly different, 21st Century take on Górecki's Third.

With a persuasive performance by soprano Dawn Upshaw and the London Sinfonietta under the hand of David Zinman, the original recording not only soared to the top of the classical sales, but also opened hearts in the pop sphere.

The reason for the symphony's continued broad appeal lies in the universality of its message. Building simply over a mesmerizing expanse of time -- play the 23-minute first movement on fast forward to get a Reader's Digest version of Górecki's minimalist architecture -- the music addresses the sorrows of war, starvation, and loss in harmonies that speak to the depth of our being.

On the new disc, not only does the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles benefit from Telarc's Grammy-winning team of recording engineer Michael Bishop and producers Elaine Martone and Thomas C. Moore, but it also supports the luscious and in many ways more appropriate voice of soprano Christine Brewer in the symphony's three heart-breaking songs. If Upshaw represents the voice of eloquent, empathetic youth, Brewer is the all-suffering Mother whom Górecki's music seems destined for. The eloquence and beauty of this marvelous account are self-recommending.

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