Saturday, 13 November 2010

Henryk Gorecki Has Died

Sad news.  The 20th century Polish composer Gorecki has died.  At first an obscure modernist, he became an unlikely "star" in the popular realm when his "symphony of sorrowful songs" stopped traffic in Los Angeles and was a world-wide phenomenon of the early 90s.  It seems hard to believe this haunting, deeply spiritual and humanist work should have been famous for 18 years, when it seems like yesterday when I first heard it, at the age of 26.  I was deeply moved - no surprise there.  The promised "new age" of spiritual wisdom never materialised, instead we had the Balkan wars, and then the "clash of civilisations" marked by 9/11.  The music continues to transcend its moments, though, and while Gorecki never completed another work of universal acclaim, he remains a key cultural figure of the pre-millenium period, and the creator of the darkest, most sublime piece of music created in the post-Holocaust era.
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