While listening to London’s Classic FM this morning, I heard that Polish composer Henryk Górecki had passed away today, at the age of 76. His most notable work is probably Symphony No.3, Opus 36. The work is based upon an inscription left on a wall, in a Krakow concentration camp, from a Polish woman to her mother. I can only describe it as hauntingly beautiful. It is a mixture of lament about that which has already happened and unfailing hope that the future holds brighter things, whether they be in this world or the next.
The lyrics are transcribed in the video. It’s emotionally difficult to read the lyrics as you listen, but it’s important to remember the atrocities of WWII. With this symphony, Górecki made sure that we always would.
I know him only through a few of his works. What I saw, though, was that he was among the gifted few who are able to translate the depths of human emotion into musical notes. Actual words became unnecessary. I felt the meaning, through the music. In the end, that, not a flashy costume or grand stage presence, is what separates musical personalities from truly great musicians.
R.I.P. Henryk Górecki, 1933-2010
“And you, God’s little flowers
May you blossom all around
So that my son
May sleep happily”
– Symphony No. 3, Opus 36