“Something weird happened in the UK album chart” in 1993, writes Phil Hebblethwaite in Wednesday’s (3/27) thequietus.com (U.K.). “A piece of contemporary classical music that had inexplicably made it into the Top 40 the week before shot up to No. 8…. The album—a recording of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 by the London Sinfonietta with soprano Dawn Upshaw, conducted by David Zinman … wasn’t an obvious pop hit….. The melancholy, three-movement work concerns ‘the great grief and lamenting of a mother who has lost her son,’ Górecki said…. The Polish text … was taken from … a 15th-century lament of Mary, mother of Jesus; a prayer-like message inscribed on the wall of a Gestapo jail cell by a teenage girl during World War II; and a Silesian folk song. To listeners … Symphony No. 3 … seemed to provide spiritual respite from complicated political and societal change…. Domino Records … are … releasing a new, live version of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 with Portishead’s Beth Gibbons on vocal duties … with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki…. After the piece became a hit [Górecki said] he was delighted that, ‘Perhaps people find something they need in this piece of music.’ ”

Posted March 28, 2019