Henryk Górecki, Dec. 6, 1933-Nov. 12, 2010.
Górecki was, as far as I can tell from his music, a deeply spiritual Catholic. I am not sure what his exact views on God were, but his music goes far beyond religion (If you remember my earlier post on music you will know that I feel this way about others, Bach and Part to name two other examples). His 3rd symphony, “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” gained him popular recognition in the 1990s, but I believe his 2nd symphony, “Capernican,” (written for the 500th anniversary of Capernicus’ birth in 1972) is a better work. (This is not to say that his 3rd is not a worthy work, by any means.)
Here is the second movement, with some wonderful images of space to go with it. The moment that starts around 3:40 is particularly breathtaking as the (pentatonic, I learned here. It’ also nice to know I’m not the only one who favors the 2nd symphony) chord builds and builds in volume and texture for nearly three straight minutes before decrescendoing for over a minute until it cadences on a major triad which is then held for another minute, reiterated on the piano a few times as the orchestra holds the notes. Five minutes, two wonderful chords.
Thank you, Mr. Górecki, for sharing your gift with us.