#RIP: Henryk Górecki

Henryk Górecki: 6th December 1933 – 12th November 2010

with sadness we note the death of one of the twentieth century’s most brilliant composers.

anima eius et animae omnium fidelium 
defunctorum per dei misericordiam
requiescant in pace

Górecki is best known and rightly celebrated for his hauntingly beautiful Symphony No. 3, Op 36, commonly known as A Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. the most well known of the symphony’s three movements is the second – Lento e Largo – which contains a libretto for soprano that borrows the words of a prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary which was inscribed on the wall of cell 3 in the gestapo prison in Zakopane by Helena Błażusiak (1926-1999), a then 18 year old prisoner.

the prayer translates as something approximating:

Mama do not cry, do not.
Pure Queen of Heaven,
you are always supporting me.
Hail Mary.


Dawn Upshaw with London Sinfonietta conducted by David Zinman – Lento e Largo (Tranquillissimo)
from Symphony No. 3, Op 36 by Henryk Górecki

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