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Symphony #3

Henryk Gorecki Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 16.70 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Symphony #3 + Guilty Pleasures
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Product Details

1. Symphony No. 3 Op. 36 (1976): I. Lento - Sostenuto Tranquillo Ma Cantabile - H. GORECKI
2. Symphony No. 3 Op. 36 (1976): II. Lento e Largo - Tranquillissimo - H. GORECKI
3. Symphony No. 3 Op. 36 (1976): III. Lento - Cantabile Semplice - H. GORECKI

Product Description

Product Description

Upshaw/London Symphony Orchestra. This recording went to the top of the Pop charts in England, and it's been at the top of our classical chart for 17 weeks last time we looked!


This album, which catapulted Polish composer Henryk Górecki to into the international spotlight, takes texts born in pain and turns them into statements of affirmation through the use of music that ebbs and flows in mystic minimalism. The clear voice of soprano Dawn Upshaw, singing the Polish texts, is a large part of the success of this particular recording, but the music, contemporary without either dissonance or movie-music mawkishness, clarifies and uplifts the words. This is a moving and essential element of the modern repertoire. --Sarah Bryan Miller

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This disc is truly the best of both worlds: an amazingly cheap (cheap! not merely affordable) classical disc of a fascinating piece of musical magnificently performed. Despite the presence of premium priced versions of this haunting piece of music (as well as at least one other very good bargain version), Antoni Wit directing the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra manages to outshine the competition. I knew two previous versions of this before, the famous Nonesuch with David Zinman and Dawn Upshaw, and the Philips with Joanna Kozlowska undertaking the vocals.
I recommend this version over the alternatives for four reasons. First, the price is unbeatable. Second, I believe the performance is marginally better than its competitors. Third, the remarkable singing of Zofia Kilanowicz. Fourth, unlike some recordings of this symphony, the disc contains not only the symphony itself, but "Three Olden Style Pieces," which while not as interesting as the main piece are not without interest. In short, this disc features the best performance, is offered at the best price, and contains more music than its competitors.
I do want to question the logic behind one of the other reviews. A reviewer from Derbyshire has expressed his belief that this music is somehow intellectually inferior and that its effects can be as harmful as a drug. I'm sure this was meant hyperbolically, but even granting this, this seems to me to indicate some confusion. In fact, the point is confusedly made. He grants that in Ravel (in the Bolero, a piece that I like not only less than most of the rest of Ravel's corpus but far less than the Gorecki) repetition is effective, and also in Beethoven.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minimal and intensely moving June 24 2004
Format:Audio CD
When this recording emerged in the early 1990's, it not only shot to the top of the classical charts, but to the top of some pop charts as well, an unusual phenomenon. It's not hard to see why; the composer's simple, but eloquent language here speaks to many types of listeners, even those who might not usually listen to so-called "serious" classical music.
The symphony is in three slow-moving sections, all labeled "Lento" and with heartbreaking texts. As a sample, here are the words to the second movement, based on a message found scrawled on a Gestapo prison cell wall in 1944 by an 18-year-old girl:
No, Mother, do not weep,
Most chaste Queen of Heaven
Help me always.
Hail Mary.
The music accompanying these sometimes agonizingly sad words is shining, gleaming, radiant -- transforming what could be heard as unremitting despair into something more spiritually uplifting. Dawn Upshaw, singing in Polish, sounds gorgeous here, with the simple purity of her voice adding a great deal to David Zinman's unforced interpretation of the work. The renowned London Sinfonietta plays with a delicacy that suits the music, and the recording quality allows all this transparent peacefulness to shine through.
Those familiar with Arvo Pärt or John Tavener's slow-moving, spiritual style should find this work quite rewarding. (Note to prospective Gorecki fans: his style is eclectic, and not all of his work is as placid as this piece.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholic Prime Jan. 4 2001
Format:Audio CD
For quite some time, this has been one of my most played albums. Henryk Gorecki certainly possesses the power to pen some very moving, albiet dreary symphonies, while disregarding the bouncy aesthetics of most composers, and, in turn, utilizing more emotion and less pretense. What words would be best used to describe such a piece? Brilliant, yes. Sorrowful, definitely.
I actually prefer this version of the symphony more than any others I've heard, as the really slow tempo enhances the overall power of the piece. A clean recording and wonderful presentations also compliment the music within, as well as some terrific linear notes that provide both information on the composer and "The Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs", Symphony no. 3.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally heartwrenching! Feb. 29 2004
Format:Audio CD
I first heard this music on NPR and sat at my desk at work weeping. I called the station and they told me they always received the most calls after they played it from people like me yearning to purchase it. I did just that and never tire of it. I can feel my heart stretching in anguish and sorrow for those that suffered through the horrible times of the holocaust. This is one of the most perfect pieces of music-one that can touch your soul and make you feel pain and redemption at the same time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible April 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
When I first picked out this CD at a local library, I thought I was being very brave. I had never heard of Henryk Gorecki, and his symphony was dated from 1976. I prepared to listen to some really strange avant garde music, and after hearing the basses and cellos "drone on" for 5 minutes, I thought this was minimalism at its worst. I decided to be patient enough to finish listening to the first movement. I found myself listening to the rest of the entire symphony, wanting to hear it again.
Although(and because) it is extremely slow and repetitious, this symphony will have a memorable effect on you the first time you listen to it. Unlike other music which you have to listen to several times before you come to enjoy it, this piece will immediately get to you. It is so different from any music I have ever heard, yet so easy to understand. Also, the soprano sings Polish, which I think is the perfect language to use for this symphony. It fits the mood of the music perfectly, and is penetrating due to its beautiful use of consonants.
I proudly recommend this music to everyone who is willing to listen to a new kind of music, and say that if this symphony indeed crosses my boundaries of musical tolerance by employing minimalism and tone clusters, it is a grand exception.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Mozart and that says it all.
Not my cup of tea, although this was well performed.
Published 15 days ago by Maurice A. Rhodes
5.0 out of 5 stars Peaceful
I heard part of this on the radio, and fell in love with it. I understand from the literature enclosed that it has sad history based on the Second World War and loss, But I found... Read more
Published 9 months ago by red zonal
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This is an outstanding recording of a sublime piece of musical writing.But make sure you are in the mood for something that is very subtle and does not end loudly. Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2012 by pansonne
4.0 out of 5 stars What Requiem should have been
Electra Nonsuch, a division of Warner Communications, released a CD several years ago of such power, reverence and intensity that it deserves a second look in 2004. Read more
Published on July 10 2004 by OperaOnline.us
5.0 out of 5 stars an emotional masterwork
I'm a huge fan of Dawn Upshaw and bought this CD without knowing anything about it. I'll admit that I wasn't blown away by it - at first. I thought: what is this? Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by I. Sondel
5.0 out of 5 stars What is music really about?
There are people who will hate this cd, and people who will love it. It all depends on what music is about. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2004 by A. Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars a milestone in marketing genius of classical music
not saying anything much about this music, plenty has been said on that, but if the classical music industry would open its eyes and look at the way this living composer's music... Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars An Unbelievable Piece of Music
I just heard this symphony yesterday for the first time and I couldn't believe my ears. It is without a doubt one of the worst pieces of music I have ever heard. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2004 by Gary M. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and moving
From the opening strings to the coda you journey through an emotional landscape. Really one of the best symphonies of the last 100 years.
Published on Jan. 28 2004 by Dino Lencioni
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