Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933–2010) achieved an international success in the mid-1990s, with his Symphony No. 3, “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”. Since then, Górecki’s name has been associated almost exclusively with this piece. However, his music is much more than this one brilliant work. Górecki never looked at musical fashions, but consistently created his own sound universe. In the 1980s Górecki, feeling misunderstood, stepped back from the official concert life in Poland. He reached out to simple folk and church melodies, making their choral arrangements. He treated them with a great devotion and humility. In 1985, the composer drew on traditional church songs collected in the 19th-century Śpiewnik kościelny (Church Songbook) by Jan Siedlecki. He first selected five songs from it, which made up the cycle of five Marian Songs, Op. 54, for mixed choir a cappella. A year later, Górecki decided to compile other church songs of various character and associated with different liturgical seasons. This led to a collection of twenty Church Songs for a cappella choir today known as his Op. 84. Apart from two, the songs were not published during composer’s lifetime. This album by the Polish Chamber Choir led by Jan Łukaszewski offers this choral gem for the first time sang in Latin.
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