November 13, 2010 – 7:12 am

The sound of distant drums and a rumour of war.


Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Symphony No. 3 [no label, 1CD]
Conducted by Marin Alsop with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Live at Southbank Center’s Royal Festival Hall, London; April 17, 2010. Very good BBC Radio 3 broadcast.

Polish composer Henryk Gorecki has died at the age of 76, the country’s national orchestra has announced reports the BBC Nov 12, 2010. He was best known for his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (Symphony No. 3), which was composed in 1976 and sold more than a million copies following a 1992 re-release. The symphony, re-issued to commemorate those who died in the Holocaust, featured vocals from US soprano Dawn Upshaw. It was often played on radio station Classic FM when it launched in 1992.

In memory of Gorecki, here is a show, conducted by Marin Alsop with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, that featured the Third Symphony. It is a slow and sorrowful work in which steadily moving string chords underpin a soaring and sublimely expressive solo soprano.

Thanks to baraka for recording and sharing the tracks on Dime.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 224 kbps).

Due to the size of some of the files, please be patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. I Lento - Sostenuto tranquillo ma cantabile (48.2MB)
Track 02. II Lento e largo - Tranquillissimo (15.1MB)
Track 03. Symphony n.3 - III Lento - Cantabile semplice (31.5MB)

Marin Alsop - conductor
Joanna Wos - soprano
Robert McDuffie - violin
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Click on the link to order Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, featuring Dawn Upshaw.


  2. Thanks for posting this; amazing where you can learn these things first!

    By uncle duke on Nov 13, 2010

  3. Thank you for the music, Henryk. It doesn’t come any more sublime than this. Peace.

    By kingpossum on Nov 13, 2010

  4. The sheer variety is what love about your blog. I was first introduced to Gorecki’s music many years ago by a Polish friend. Amazing to find this here - but then again not unexpectedly. Great music doesn’t know boundaries and the same applies to your blog. Rest in peace, Mr. Gorecki and long may you run, Big O!

    By madwhoman on Nov 13, 2010

  5. thanks again for the variety!

    By rick on Nov 13, 2010

  6. Makes a great change from the usual rock hasbeens that hang around here. Got anymore Arvo Part or Bulgarian Woman Choirs?

    By BLUEFOOD on Nov 16, 2010

  7. He’s dead? I had not heard of his death.

    Thanks for this version; should be good, the LPO has been buzzing under MA.

    It is a great piece of music, he was a great composer.

    By tony on Nov 21, 2010

  8. A great loss to the music world. Gorecki was ambivalent about his music being used in so many movies, etc and the resulting emotional and pictorial attachments that were inevitably involved. One attachment and a myth at that, was the rumour that Symphony No. 3 is about the holocaust. It is not. It was written about motherhood. Anyone who was listening to BBC radio3 will of course know this already! A truly beautiful piece of music and thank you so much for posting it here. Rest In Peace Henryk.

    By oiche on Nov 24, 2010

  9. I love this - thank you.

    By MrBill on Nov 30, 2010

  10. A religious experience? I was driving through an industrial part of L.A. late last night (north on Alameda from 103rd for locals) after an aborted videotaping assignment and decided to play this. It was transcendent, transluscent, transporting, trans-everything. Aural transcendence musical soundtrack against the grungy repair shops, strip clubs, street corner brown bag-alkys, you-name-it.

    Which is a very long-winded way of saying: THANKS for the great music!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By lowendbill on Dec 15, 2010

  11. Symphony No. 3 is a masterpiece and it makes the same transcendental impression in any circumstances. For me it is a piece form a fairy tale. But Gorecki is more than the Symphony No. 3

    By Nymure on Jul 17, 2013

  12. @lowendbill:

    Pressing into beautiful and exciting South Gate, then. Yeah I can see and almost smell that ride and the juxtaposition with this music. The video taping assignment may have been aborted, but you just captured a terrific movie scene.

    Thanks for the post (and thank you too, Bigo).

    By kingpossum on Aug 31, 2013

  13. kingpossum, thank you. Proving that great music can sound even greater when removed from the ideal setting, i.e.; the pristine, sacred concert hall, the Bose headphones, the high-end audio system. Why shouldn’t Gorecki or Part be played in a quiet, deserted bar or sweltering auto shop or on cheap headset while driving around late and lost in the grimy bowels of industrial LA?

    By lowendbill on Aug 31, 2013

  14. @lowendbill:

    Indeed. A dead Tuesday night at the Blue Star Cafe, cheap drinks and the greatest minimalist composers in the world. I’m there.

    By kingpossum on Sep 1, 2013

  15. Kingpossum-great idea! Let’s lease some dumpy space near Washington and Alameda, serve gourmet beer and burgers, hire some gogo dancers to shake their booties to the minimalist masters and we’ll be raking it in!

    By lowendbill on Sep 1, 2013

  16. @lowendbill:

    I’m not sure about the ‘raking it in’ part, but it could sure be fun.

    By kingpossum on Sep 5, 2013

Post a Comment