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Classical - Released November 9, 2018 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Górecki wrote his Third Symphony in 1976, but it only came onto the market in 1992. It made its entrance with so much fanfare that it has overshadowed all of his other work. And this other work, by and large, belongs in a rather different category, one of much more avant-garde and revolutionary material: a category of music that many fans of the Symphony would not be so quick to dive into. The First Quartet, written in 1988, and the Second from 1991 both belong to the same modernist movement. However, the composer, who had matured over the years, also clearly softened his style. We only need to compare these quartets with Elementi Op. 19 No. 1 from 1966, which also appears on this album, to see how far he came: it is a piece of the purest contemporary avant-gardism. It is very possible that the minimalists, the "tintinnabulists" and even Shostakovitch – or indeed Bartók! – all left a mark on his writing from his later peiods. The Tippett Quartet are every bit as comfortable with this material as they are with Beethoven and perform the work with considerable skill. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released May 1, 2012 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Górecki was not hugely prolific, but he was something of a hero to listeners who welcomed the mysticism and transparent emotional expressiveness of his works after he turned from the avant-garde to a more accessible post-Modern tonal language in the mid-1970s. A 1993 recording of his Third Symphony ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," 1976), in fact, became an international best-seller. This recording with Antoni Wit leading the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra includes four works typical of his later style. Little Requiem for a Certain Polka, for piano and orchestra (1993) is in four movements whose dramatically contrasting juxtapositions are typical of the Eastern European minimalist and polystylistic trends of the era: a largely tonal language; a predominantly quiet mood punctuated by startling, rambunctious outbursts (which can sound like Shostakovich on an ironically cheerful day); and a cryptic sense of structure and musical development that owes little to earlier models from the classical (or any other) tradition. Concerto-Cantata for flute and orchestra (1992), which is recorded here for the first time, follows the form of the Requiem surprisingly closely, but is overall less successful due to its tendency to overdo repetition, and the relative blandness of its musical ideas. The brief Harpsichord Concerto (1980), performed in its version for piano, is of an entirely different cast, made up of two very fast movements, marked Allegro molto and Vivace marcatissimo, and its manic energy is completely engaging. In this piece pianist Anna Górecka, the composer's daughter, is given ample opportunity to display her virtuosic gifts. The outer movements of Three Dances (1973) have the direct appeal of Bartók's folk-influenced works, and a middle movement that's a more typically Góreckian elegy. Wit, who has done much to bring contemporary Eastern European, and especially Polish, music to the attention of broader audiences, delivers compelling performances of the pieces. Some inconsistencies in the playing of Górecki's exposed and not-always-idiomatic orchestral writing, however, are reminders that the Warsaw Philharmonic, although a very fine ensemble, is not among the very top tier of the world's orchestras, particularly in its string section. Naxos' sound is clean and balanced, but not especially lively or present. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 1, 2001 | Naxos

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released April 6, 2018 | Audio Cave

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Classical - Released March 16, 2007 | Nonesuch

Booklet
The essay in the program booklet for this release of Górecki's String Quartet No. 3 (...songs were sung), makes much of a supposed caesura in Górecki's creative output following the phenomenal success of Nonesuch's 1992 release of this Third Symphony, with soprano Dawn Upshaw, which elevated him practically to the level of a pop star. The essay implies that his meteoric rise to being one of the most famous and popular contemporary composers may have produced a creative crisis that caused him to wait until 2005 to finally deliver the score of his Third Quartet, which he had written in the winter of 1994-1995. In fact, Górecki's sudden notoriety seems to have had little effect on his creativity; between 1993 and 2004, he wrote 16 opus numbers. The String Quartet No. 3 inhabits much the same musical and emotional universe as the composer's Third Symphony and the earlier string quartets -- an overwhelming sense of sadness followed by a cathartic peacefulness, created by the use of figural repetition; predominantly slow tempos, which are very occasionally punctuated by faster, often ironic, outbursts; the use of melancholy, folk-like melodies; and mildly dissonant minor key chorale-like textures that tend toward harmonic stasis. The five-movement quartet is constructed in a loose arch form, with material from the first movements repeated in the last movements and an ending that mirrors the beginning. The composer throws in enough surprises, such as a surprisingly stolid and romantic theme that appears in the third and fourth movements, to relieve the quartet's darkness. The response to the composer's Third Symphony will be a good indicator of the listener's appreciation of this quartet because it shares so many qualities with that work. The Kronos Quartet, which commissioned the piece, gives it a technically superlative and emotionally wrenching performance. Nonesuch's sound is intimate and warm, with excellent balance. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 5, 1988 | Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga Musica

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 1, 1997 | Chandos

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Chamber Music - Released June 15, 2018 | DUX

Booklet
Up until the media explosion of the Symphony No. 3 in 1992 (even if the work dated back to 1976), Górecki was only known within a small circle of music enthusiasts; it’s worth mentioning that his musical language, filled with serial Boulezian avant-garde and extreme minimalism, didn’t necessarily draw crowds. But this Symphony No. 3 completely changed how he was perceived and we won’t be mad at him (quite the contrary in fact) if this String Quartet No. 3, "...songs are sung" (translated from the original Polish title “…pieśni śpiewają”) features many of his old tropes, in particular for the slower sequences, at least in one of the five movements – the shortest, a five-minute Allegro worthy of Shostakovich and Pärt −, central to the piece and surrounded by Largos and Adagios. Górecki started working on this project in the middle of the 1990s, commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, and finished it in 2005, five years before his death. The theme of death is in fact omnipresent throughout the piece, particularly as it highlights a poem by Velimir Khlebnikov: “When horses die, they breathe; when grasses die, they wither; when suns die, they go out; when people die, they sing songs.” . An ambitious piece, masterfully interpreted by the DAFÔ String Quartet – an ensemble that mostly focuses on 20th and 21st century music. © SM/Qobuz
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released January 28, 2014 | DUX

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Classical - Released October 10, 1994 | Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga Musica

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Concertos - Released November 1, 1997 | Chandos

Booklet
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Classical - Released November 27, 1993 | Stradivarius

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Jazz - Released March 26, 2018 | Audio Cave

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Classical - Released October 10, 1995 | Jaro Records

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Classical - Released October 10, 1993 | Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga Musica