Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Henryk Górecki - Beatus Vir (rec. 1993)

From the same Oxfam trip as the previous album.  I really should dedicate both of these posts to the person who donated a pair of rare-as-hen's-teeth Polish Górecki CDs two years ago - dziekuje!

Beatus Vir is a 32-minute, self-contained choral/orchestral work which is a bit more lively than the 3rd Symphony, and for me brings to mind some of Arvo Part's large-scale pieces from the 90s.  Beatus Vir was commissioned by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, and premiered in 1979, by which time he'd became Pope John Paul II.  It's also less widely recorded than the 3rd Symphony, and is best known from a 1993 Argo release.  This Polish CD didn't even have a discogs entry when I bought it.

The two supporting works on this album date from earlier in Górecki's repertoire, and provide early pointers to the substantive works from today and yesterday.  Ad Matrem (1971) was when Górecki started getting in to sacred music. 'Trzy utwory w dawnym stylu na orkiestrę smyczkowa' ('Three Pieces In The Old Style') was composed in 1963, and was one of the first times Górecki moved away from prevailing avant-garde trends towards weaving old Polish melodies into a memorable cycle.

Beatus Vir


  1. Interesting choices - this blog has been good to visit. I think the best Oxfam find I've ever had was a Larry Young CD - fairly thin pickings on that front.

    Good call on the Vesala albums below - I knew both of them and they're magical in places I think. Are you aware of the Barre Phillips album 'Three Day Moon', on the subject of great 70s ECM albums? Well worth seeking out.

    1. Many thanks for your comment Gerald. Three Day Moon is great, think I got it from musica degradata (in my blogroll, great place for European jazz). And Mountainscapes is another phenomenal Barre album, totally out-there even for mid 70s ECM!

      Coincidentally, had one of my favourite early 80s ECM albums lined up for the next post, so I'll put it up in a sec!