I’m intrigued by the news from Boosey and Hawkes today that Henryk Górecki’s Fourth Symphony is to receive its world premiere next year, on 12 April in London. The performers will be the London Philharmonic.
No, I hadn’t realised either, but it seems that Górecki – seemingly unproductive for many of his last years due to illness – left behind a number of works that were more or less complete, just unperformed. And these aren’t trifles either – as well as the headline-making Fourth Symphony, there is also a 15-minute Kyrie setting for chorus, piano, percussion and strings, and an hour-long cantata for two soloist, chorus and orchestra in honour of the Czech 10th-century saint Adalbert of Prague. A cycle of 20 Church Songs
will be released soon has been released on CD. I’ve clearly not been keeping up.
According to B&H’s news feed:
The fourth symphony does not emulate the distinct character of its vocal predecessor, the celebrated Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, but rather reflects the composer’s musical journey as a whole while paying homage to his fellow-Polish composer Alexsander Tansman (1897-1986). As Górecki scholar Adrian Thomas notes, “although it appears not to quote from Tansman’s music, Górecki does make use of a musical theme based on his name. This purely instrumental work relates closely to the chamber music that he wrote in the 1980s and ’90s, with its reflective intimacy and extrovert dance impulses.”
George Chamber (@geocham) has seen the score, and remembers it as: