Henryk Mikolaj Górecki


Photo by Gerry Hurkmans

Henryk Mikolaj Górecki (1933-2010) was a Polish composer, whose name and music remained largely unknown in the West until the fall of communism in the 1980s.

Life and Music

  • Górecki finally achieved fame in the 1990s with the recording of his Third Symphony – ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’ by soprano Dawn Upshaw and the London Sinfonietta. Since its release in 1992, the recording has sold over a million copies worldwide.
  • Henryk Górecki’s compositional style was far more experimental in the early stage of his career.
  • His training at Katowice Academy of Music led to his Symphony No. 1 and Scontri, both of which were characterised by a harsh, inharmonious sound.
  • Despite achieving fame later in life, his music has gone on to touch the lives of many and his legacy will undoubtedly live on.
Did you know?

By the mid-1970s, a growing love of Polish folk music and medieval Polish chants mellowed Górecki’s music. His dedication to the Catholic Church led to a search for greater purity and a more transparent style.



Album reviews

Byrd, Allegri, Górecki, Tavener An impassionate affair

The Armonico Consort's wide-ranging programme of composers who revelled in raw emotion coud do with some passion of its own

Top Górecki Pieces