Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Henryk Górecki - Beatus Vir (rec. 1993)
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.