Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sorrowful Songs

I've always found this piece fascinating, the back story as much as the music. This from that fount of knowledge, Wikipedia.

Later that year Górecki learned of an inscription scrawled on the wall of a cell of a Gestapo prison in the town of Zakopane, which lies at the foot of the Tatra mountains in southern Poland. The words were those of 18-year-old Helena Wanda Błażusiakówna, a highland woman incarcerated on 25 September 1944. It read "O Mamo nie płacz nie—Niebios Przeczysta Królowo Ty zawsze wspieraj mnie" (Oh Mamma do not cry—Immaculate Queen of Heaven support me always). The composer recalled, "I have to admit that I have always been irritated by grand words, by calls for revenge. Perhaps in the face of death I would shout out in this way. But the sentence I found is different, almost an apology or explanation for having got herself into such trouble; she is seeking comfort and support in simple, short but meaningful words". He later explained, "In prison, the whole wall was covered with inscriptions screaming out loud: 'I'm innocent', 'Murderers', 'Executioners', 'Free me', 'You have to save me'—it was all so loud, so banal. Adults were writing this, while here it is an eighteen-year-old girl, almost a child. And she is so different. She does not despair, does not cry, does not scream for revenge. She does not think about herself; whether she deserves her fate or not. Instead, she only thinks about her mother: because it is her mother who will experience true despair. This inscription was something extraordinary. And it really fascinated me.

I have the cd with all three movements, but this is my favourite. It's where I go when I'm sad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow,spine tingling, dont know what else to say. Just listening to the music is extremely powerful and that is without evening knowing the background to the music. But by you providing the background to why it was written and then seeing the video on Utube, leaves you breathless, upset, angry. It is an extremely emotive and spine chilling, piece of music. I can totally understand why it is called the song of sorrows... Wow, still feel quite overwhelmed by it.