10 Jul

Remembering The Holocaust

Henyrk Górecki – Symphony No. 3, Op. 36

Augmented by the artwork of Van Gogh, Hugues Merle, and Francis Louis Mora, this Spadecaller video dramatizes the dominant themes of Gorecki’s symphonic masterpiece about motherhood and separation through war. David Performed by David Zinman, conductor, and Dawn Upshaw, soprano.


Gorecki Symphony No. 3 “Sorrowful Songs” – Lento e Largo

Soprano: Isabel Bayrakdaraian, Sinfonietta Cracovia, conducted by John Axelrod.
Taken from “HOLOCAUST – A Music Memorial Film from Auschwitz”. For the first time since its liberation, permission was granted for music to be
heard in Auschwitz and a number of leading musicians were brought there to perform music for the film.


Gorecki Symphony of Sorrowful Songs Rebecca Evans

For Holocaust Memorial Day…..Rebecca Evans sings part of the 2nd movement of Gorecki’s Third Symphony – Symphony of Sorrowful Songs – inspired by the prison grafitti of people detained by the Gestapo in Poland during the Second World War.


Henryk Górecki

Henryk Górecki was born on December 6, 1933, in the village of Czernica (Silesian Voivodeship) in southwest Poland. The Górecki family lived modestly, though both parents had a love of music. His father Roman (1904-1991) was an amateur musician, while his mother Otylia (1909-1935), played piano. Otylia died when her son was just two years old, and many of his early works were dedicated to her memory. Henryk developed an interest in music from an early age, though he was discouraged by both his father and new stepmother to the extent that he was not allowed to play his mother’s old piano. However, he persisted, and in 1943 was allowed to take violin lesson with Pawel Hajduga; a local amateur musician, instrument maker and ch?opski filozof (peasant philosopher).

I was born in Silesia….It is old Polish land. But there were always three cultures present: Polish, Czech, and German. The folk art, all the art, had no boundaries. Polish culture is a wonderful mixture. When you look at the history of Poland, it is precisely the multiculturalism, the presence of the so-called minorities that made Poland what it was. The cultural wealth, the diversity mixed and created a new entity.[14]
— Henryk Górecki

In 1945, Górecki fell while playing in a neighbor’s yard and dislocated his hip. The resulting suppurative inflammation was misdiagnosed by a local doctor, and delay in proper treatment led to tubercular complications in the bone. The illness went largely untreated for two years, by which time permanent damage had been sustained. He spent the following twenty months in a hospital in Germany, where he underwent four operations. Górecki has continued to suffer ill health throughout his life, and as a result has said he has “talked with death often”.


Words Accompanying Górecki’s Symphony No. 3

(in translation)

First Movement

My son, my chosen and beloved

Share your wounds with your mother

And because, dear son, I have always carried you in my heart,

And always served you faithfully

Speak to your mother, to make her happy,

Although you are already leaving me, my cherished hope.

(Lamentation of the Holy Cross Monastery from the “Lysagóra Songs” collection. Second half of the 15th century)

Second Movement

No, Mother, do not weep,

Most chaste Queen of Heaven

Support me always.

“Zdrowas Mario.” (*)

(Prayer inscribed on wall 3 of cell no. 3 in the basement of “Palace,” the Gestapo’s headquarters in Zakopane; beneath is the signature of Helena Wanda Blazusiakówna, and the words “18 years old, imprisoned since 26 September 1944.”)

(*) “Zdrowas Mario” (Ave Maria)—the opening of the Polish prayer to the Holy Mother

Third Movement

Where has he gone

My dearest son?

Perhaps during the uprising

The cruel enemy killed him

Ah, you bad people

In the name of God, the most Holy,

Tell me, why did you kill

My son?

Never again

Will I have his support

Even if I cry

My old eyes out

Were my bitter tears

to create another River Oder

They would not restore to life

My son

He lies in his grave

and I know not where

Though I keep asking people


Perhaps the poor child

Lies in a rough ditch

and instead he could have been

lying in his warm bed

Oh, sing for him

God’s little song-birds

Since his mother

Cannot find him

And you, God’s little flowers

May you blossom all around

So that my son

May sleep happily

(Folk song in the [Polish] dialect of the Opole region)

  The “folk song” of the third text was created during the Polish Silesian Uprising of 1921, fought between Poles and Germans.

Comments are closed.

© 2021 | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Global Positioning System Gazettewordpress logo