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CD Review

Henryk Mikolaj Górecki

Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

  • Symphony #3
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Donald Runnicles
Telarc CD-80699 49m DDD
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This famous symphony became a cult hit in the 1990's when it was released on the Elektra label with David Zinman conducting and it has become a sort of calling card as a memorial to the Holocaust.

Runnicles and his Atlanta players approach the score with great reverence and the almost interminable First Movement comes across as extremely sorrowful and sober – just the right type of sonic palette I thought. The notes explain the symphony's première in 1977 and the famous 1992 recording although I do feel that Runnicles is now the one to beat in this symphony after having heard it in its entirety.

The spiritual exuberance reached in the final Lento cantabile is also beautifully satisfying and here Runnicles truly gets to the heart of this work which deserves far greater currency than it currently has. Telarc's recording is of top drawer quality throughout and as I have already had occasion to mention, notes and presentation are absolutely first class. This is now the version to have for Górecki's epic symphony.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech