Author Topic: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)  (Read 21713 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #120 on: February 24, 2017, 07:57:25 AM »
As I drove into work today the 'Sorrowful Songs' symphony was playing on BBC Radio 3.

Very nice, Jeffrey. I suppose you didn't get to the end of the performance to hear who the performance was by?
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #121 on: February 24, 2017, 10:23:37 AM »
Very nice, Jeffrey. I suppose you didn't get to the end of the performance to hear who the performance was by?
When I retired from my teaching job in 2015 I no longer had a 50+ minute drive to school which allowed me to hear complete works - it was often the highlight of the day  ::) often I'd stay in the car until I heard the complete work. My new part-time job involves only an eight minute drive to work so I only heard the opening movement. But, as its you John, I did extensive online research ( :D) and discovered it was the famous Upshaw/Zinman/Nonsuch performance - which none of us like! Still, it kept me in the car park until the movement ended.
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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #122 on: February 24, 2017, 11:04:39 AM »
The Zinman / Upshaw performance has (to me) an inexorable and inevitable momentum, the timing, air-tight ensemble playing on the part of the orchestra, and perfect placement giving it an overwhelming and compelling pulse which I found completely absent in the polish recording.  Once heard, it is difficult to imagine another approach which could be as nearly successful. 

Conversely, I may as well say this.  Upshaw has a lovely voice: from a number of things I've heard, it sounds to me as though she sings absolutely any and all she touches exactly the same, giving everything a rather neutral prettiness I find more than a little flat considering the actual import of the texts meant to be conveyed.  Whatever it is, it is equally pretty, and has little or nothing to do with the meaning of the sung text.  She is a very pretty voice and near non-communicator.

The Polish recording has the opposite, no compelling pulse, an approcah or rending of the rhythm that sounds to me inattentively sloppy, while it does have a nearly raw emotional tenor that is absent from the Zinman / Upshaw recording.  Imo, this Polish performance is more than a little bit inappropriately over-the-top, considering the resignation and acceptance the composer spoke of when referring to these texts of a mother lamenting the loss of her child, but the over-emotive, I think, is far more desirable as far as communicating something emotional vs. the next to nothing at all on the Zinman / Upshaw rendering.

My thought is that either recording lacks about exactly half of what is needed to make an 'ideal' performance of the work. If the Zinman recording, with that inexorable pulse and the very tight balance and placement of the orchestral playing, could have instead had the Polish soprano from the Polish recording... bingo.

The introductory canonic movement, regardless of which performance, struck me as completely non-compelling, hopelessly academic and completely uninteresting, so failed to do anything for me or hold my interest past two hearings, the second was to give it  -- and me -- another chance, hoping that perhaps the unfavorable first impression would change or be wiped away;  it stayed exactly the same.  Any subsequent hearings on my part, I had to skip that first movement.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 11:36:38 AM by Monsieur Croche »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #123 on: February 24, 2017, 11:43:21 AM »
The Zinman / Upshaw performance has (to me) an inexorable and inevitable momentum, the timing, air-tight ensemble playing on the part of the orchestra, and perfect placement giving it an overwhelming and compelling pulse which I found completely absent in the polish recording.  Once heard, it is difficult to imagine another approach which could be as nearly successful. 

Conversely, I may as well say this.  Upshaw has a lovely voice: from a number of things I've heard, it sounds to me as though she sings absolutely any and all she touches exactly the same, giving everything a rather neutral prettiness I find more than a little flat considering the actual import of the texts meant to be conveyed.  Whatever it is, it is equally pretty, and has little or nothing to do with the meaning of the sung text.  She is a very pretty voice and near non-communicator.

The Polish recording has the opposite, no compelling pulse, an approcah or rending of the rhythm that sounds to me inattentively sloppy, while it does have a nearly raw emotional tenor that is absent from the Zinman / Upshaw recording.  Imo, this Polish performance is more than a little bit inappropriately over-the-top, considering the resignation and acceptance the composer spoke of when referring to these texts of a mother lamenting the loss of her child, but the over-emotive, I think, is far more desirable as far as communicating something emotional vs. the next to nothing at all on the Zinman / Upshaw rendering.

My thought is that either recording lacks about exactly half of what is needed to make an 'ideal' performance of the work. If the Zinman recording, with that inexorable pulse and the very tight balance and placement of the orchestral playing, could have instead had the Polish soprano from the Polish recording... bingo.

The introductory canonic movement, regardless of which performance, struck me as completely non-compelling, hopelessly academic and completely uninteresting, so failed to do anything for me or hold my interest past two hearings, the second was to give it  -- and me -- another chance, hoping that perhaps the unfavorable first impression would change or be wiped away;  it stayed exactly the same.  Any subsequent hearings on my part, I had to skip that first movement.
Very interesting review - thanks.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #124 on: February 24, 2017, 07:45:33 PM »
When I retired from my teaching job in 2015 I no longer had a 50+ minute drive to school which allowed me to hear complete works - it was often the highlight of the day  ::) often I'd stay in the car until I heard the complete work. My new part-time job involves only an eight minute drive to work so I only heard the opening movement. But, as its you John, I did extensive online research ( :D) and discovered it was the famous Upshaw/Zinman/Nonsuch performance - which none of us like! Still, it kept me in the car park until the movement ended.

Thanks for your diligent research, Jeffrey! I appreciate it. Yeah, on a purely surface level the Upshaw/Zinman is attractive, but it's no more than that. After really listening to the Kilanowicz/Wit, I realized exactly why I prefer it over the more well-known, chart-topper and that's because they (Kilanowicz/Wit) don't treat this work like it's something from Schindler's List. As I may or may not have stated previously, Kilanowicz/Wit have this music in their blood and don't make the music too sugary or try to glorify it's message/intent.

Of course, I disagree with Monsieur Croche, and even more so since he just refers to the Kilanowicz/Wit as the 'Polish' recording (as if these performers were the only Poles to record the work). ::)
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 07:48:44 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #125 on: March 24, 2018, 09:50:44 AM »
I just played Symphony 4 for the first time even though I bought it when it first came out. At first I thought it sounded a bit weird, rather like a noisier and more disjointed version of the 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs' however, by the end I wanted to immediately play it again:


The first movement reminded me a bit of the orchestral music of Jon Leifs, with quiet reflective moments juxtaposed against noisy interludes from the three bass drums.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 09:58:38 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #126 on: April 01, 2018, 07:19:42 PM »
I just played Symphony 4 for the first time even though I bought it when it first came out. At first I thought it sounded a bit weird, rather like a noisier and more disjointed version of the 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs' however, by the end I wanted to immediately play it again:


The first movement reminded me a bit of the orchestral music of Jon Leifs, with quiet reflective moments juxtaposed against noisy interludes from the three bass drums.

Sounds interesting, Jeffrey. I love the 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs' but have somehow not bothered to investigate any of Gorecki's other music.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #127 on: April 02, 2018, 05:36:49 AM »
Sounds interesting, Jeffrey. I love the 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs' but have somehow not bothered to investigate any of Gorecki's other music.

Thanks Kyle. I expect you'd enjoy Symphony 4 even though it is a bit disconcerting at first!
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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #128 on: April 02, 2018, 05:38:05 AM »
Sounds interesting, Jeffrey. I love the 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs' but have somehow not bothered to investigate any of Gorecki's other music.

That's because... you know,... you just know

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #129 on: April 07, 2018, 12:22:50 AM »
I also like Symphony 2 'Copernican' which, after a discordant crash, bang, wallop opening movement, features a beautiful, tranquil second movement, presumably representing the beauty, simplicity and harmony of the Copernican universe. This structure reminded me a bit of Prokofiev's Second Symphony.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Offline ChamberNut

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #131 on: December 06, 2018, 10:56:32 AM »
Just bought this yesterday.  Looking forward to diving into it.  My only exposure to Gorecki is the famous 3rd symphony.  7 discs of the complete Nonesuch label recordings.

Location:  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)
« Reply #132 on: December 06, 2018, 11:15:39 AM »
Just bought this yesterday.  Looking forward to diving into it.  My only exposure to Gorecki is the famous 3rd symphony.  7 discs of the complete Nonesuch label recordings.


Looks like a great set. Happy exploring!
 :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).