Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (Polish composer)

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Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (Polish: [ˈxɛnrɨk mʲiˈkɔwaj ɡuˈrɛtski]; English pronunciation Go-RET-ski; December 6, 1933 – November 12, 2010) was a Polish composer of contemporary classical music. Górecki became a leading figure of the Polish avant-garde during the post-Stalin cultural thaw. His Webernian-influenced serialist works of the 1950s and 1960s were characterized by adherence to dissonant modernism and drew influence from Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Krzysztof Penderecki and Kazimierz Serocki. He continued in this direction throughout the 1960s, but by the mid-1970s had changed to a less complex sacred minimalist sound, exemplified by the transitional Symphony No. 2 and the hugely popular Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). This later style developed through several other distinct phases, from such works as his 1979 Beatus Vir, to the 1981 choral hymn Miserere, the 1993 Kleines Requiem für eine Polka and his requiem Good Night.

His name remained largely unknown outside Poland until the mid-to late 1980s, and his fame arrived in the 1990s. In 1992, 15 years after it was composed, a recording of his Third Symphony, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs—recorded with soprano Dawn Upshaw and released to commemorate the memory of those lost during the Holocaust—became a worldwide commercial and critical success, selling more than a million copies and vastly exceeding the typical lifetime sales of a recording of symphonic music by a 20th-century composer. As surprised as anyone at its popularity, Górecki said, "Perhaps people find something they need in this piece of music […] somehow I hit the right note, something they were missing. Something somewhere had been lost to them. I feel that I instinctively knew what they needed." This popular acclaim did not generate wide interest in Górecki's other works, and he pointedly resisted the temptation to repeat earlier success, or compose for commercial reward.

Apart from two brief periods studying in Paris and a short time living in Berlin, Górecki spent most of his life in southern Poland.

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist Rating Releases
1985 Symphony No. 3 (Symphonieorchester Des Südwestfunks Baden-Baden feat. conductor: Ernest Bour) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
1988 Symphony No. 3 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" / Three Pieces in Olden Style Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
1988 Three Pieces in Olden Style / Symphony No. 3 / Amen for Choir Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
1991 Already It Is Dusk / ''Lerchenmusik'' Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
1992 Symphony no. 3 Henryk Mikołaj Górecki; Dawn Upshaw, London Sinfonietta, David Zinman 3
1993 String Quartet no. 1, op. 62 "Already It Is Dusk" / String Quartet no. 2, op. 64 "Quasi una fantasia" Henryk Górecki; Kronos Quartet 2
1993 Beatus Vir (Czech Philharmonic Orchestra & Prague Philharmonic Choir) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
1993 Symphonie Nr. 3 Henryk Mikołaj Górecki; Sinfonie-Orchester des SWF, Baden-Baden, Ernest Bour, Stefania Woytowicz 5 1
1994 Symphony No. 3 / 3 Olden Style Pieces (Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Antoni Wit, soprano: Zofia Kilanowicz) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 2
1994 Concerto for Piano and Strings / Three Pieces in Old Style Henryk Górecki; Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Agnieszka Duczmal, Anna Górecka 1
1994 Miserere Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
1994 Symphony no. 3 Henryk Mikołaj Górecki; Joanna Kozłowska, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Kazimierz Kord 5 4
1995 Kleines Requiem für eine Polka / Concerto for Harpsichord and String Orchestra / Good Night Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
1995 Symphony No. 3 (Cracow K. Szymanowski State Philharmonic Orchestra feat. conductor: Jacek Kasprzyk, soprano: Zofia Kilanowicz) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 2
1995 Górecki: Sonata no. 1 / Four Preludes / Pärt: Für Alina / Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinushka Górecki, Pärt; David Arden 1
1996 Kleines Requiem / Lerchenmusik (Schönberg Ensemble feat. conductor: Reinbert De Leeuw) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
1996 Tavener / Pärt / Górecki Tavener, Pärt, Górecki; Vasari Singers, Jeremy Backhouse 4
1996 Three Pieces In Old Style / Good Night / Kleines Requiem Henryk Górecki; I Fiamminghi, Rudolf Werthen 1
1997 Górecki: Miserere / Gubaidulina: Alleluia Henryk Górecki, Sofia Gubaidulina; Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Radio Choir, Dmitri Kitajenko, Jesper Grove Jørgensen 1
1997 Schnittke: Concerto grosso no. 1 / Pärt: Tabula rasa / Górecki: Harpsichord concerto Schnittke, Pärt, Górecki; I Musici de Montréal, Yuli Turovsky, Eleonora Turovsky, Natalya Turovsky, Catherine Perrin 1
2001 Symphony No. 2 "Copernican" / Beatus Vir (Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Antoni Wit) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 5 1
2004 Symphony No. 3 Henryk Mikołaj Górecki; Yvonne Kenny, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Takuo Yuasa 1
2007 String Quartet No. 3 "...songs are sung" (Kronos Quartet) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
2008 String Quartets (Kwartet Śląski) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
2009 Symphony No. 3 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, feat. conductor: Donnald Runnicles, soprano: Christine Brewer) Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
2011 The Three String Quartets Henryk Górecki; Royal String Quartet 1
2012 Concerto-Cantata / Little Requiem for a Certain Polka / Three Dances / Harpsichord Concerto Henryk Górecki; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Antoni Wit, Anna Gorécka, Carol Wincenc 1
2012 GÓRECKI MIKOŁAJ / HENRYK MIKOŁAJ Mikołaj Górecki & Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 5 1
Ikos Górecki, Tavener, Pärt; Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist Rating Releases
1993 Symfonia No. 1 „1959“ / Choros I / Three Pieces in The Old Style Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1
2003 Eastern European Piano Music Górecki, Pelēcis, Ustvolskaya & Gubaidulina 1
The Essential Gorecki Henryk Mikołaj Górecki 1

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