Gorecki, Symphony #3, “Lento e Largo”


I swear I’m going to cheer up tomorrow.

After listening to Hans Zimmer’s gorgeous and mournful “Aurora,”  I got to thinking about some of the most sorrowful music I’ve ever heard.  Henryk Gorecki (sorry, I still can’t do accent marks) composed his third symphony, also known as the “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” in 1976.  It is often interpreted as a tribute of sorts to victims of Auschwitz, although Gorecki himself resisted that and any other political/religious/spiritual interpretations of what might be his finest work.  He saw it as being about the relationship between mother and child, more universal than specific.  The lyrics, sung on the recording by Dawn Upshaw, are all based on lamentations about a parent and child separated by tragedy.  The second movement, “Lento e Largo,” was taken from an inscription on written on a wall in Auschwitz by a teenage girl.

It is a powerful piece of art, considered a modern classic.  The symphony as a whole creates an intense sense of sadness, but also leads toward hope.  It takes my breath away every time I hear it.  I can’t think of a better way to describe it.

3 thoughts on “Gorecki, Symphony #3, “Lento e Largo”

    • I hope you have a nice chat with your mom. I called mine yesterday to tell her the San Diego Zoo has a new baby panda to watch on the internet; nothing important but it’s nice to touch base.

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