Top of The Pops: A Symphony?

Poland's Henryk Gorecki has a surprise transatlantic hit with his hypnotic Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

IT IS THE UNLIKELIEST OF SYMPHONIC success stories. The composer: a little- known Polish avant-gardist named Henryk Gorecki. The music: his Symphony No. 3, subtitled Symphony of Sorrowful Songs -- a transcendental meditation on mortality and redemption for orchestra and soprano. In three slow, slow, very slow movements lasting nearly an hour, it speaks of bleak despair yet sings of sublime hope. Against all odds, this deeply felt, quasi-liturgical piece -- composed 17 years ago but newly recorded -- is captivating a huge public on both sides of the Atlantic, far bigger than most serious compositions ever reach. It is at...

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