November 13th, 2010
09:02 AM ET

Polish composer Gorecki dies

Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki received Poland's highest honor.

The Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki died Friday in Katowice after a long illness, the Krakow Post reported. He was 76.

He started as an avant-garde stylist but moved toward more traditional music as he aged, according to the Krakow Post.

His most popular work was the 55-minute "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" (1976), which musically describes a 15th-century monastic lamentation, a wall inscription by a Gestapo prisoner and a folk song from Poland's Opole region, according to the University of Southern California's Polish Music Center.

He resigned his professorship at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice in 1979 in protest of communist authorities, but just last month he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honor, the Krakow Post reported.

"I think that music is one of the domains that people really need, and its importance only depends on whether one knows how to receive it," Gorecki said in a 1997 interview, according to the USC site. "Every person needs to be prepared to know how to 'use' music. Not only music - also literature, painting, sculpture, and film."

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Filed under: Music • Obituary • Poland • World
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Rita Tonucci aka Flowerchild

    Cnn news staff- guten tag. Wie geht es ihnen? Gut?- sehr gut. Today, i will be brushing up on my german, so i can follow along w/ your new right-wing agenda. You all are still not concerned about seeing three ghosts on xmas eve-huh? Gloria-I too wanna sleep w/ sarah palin-borger, too, is not afraid of those three ghosts either. Despite t/ fact her nov 10 news piece DECLARED THAT all lib dems ARE NOW VERBOTEN at cnn. NOR IS THE BOSS FEARING THOSE THREE GHOSTS EVEN AFTER HE COLORIZED THAT FAMOUS ALISTAIR SIMS MOVIE, AND THEN NOONE WHO WATCHED IT COULD FIGURE OUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DICKENS BOOK-APPARENTLY NOT EVEN HIS OWN NEW STAFF COULD UNDERSTAND ITS SIGNIFICANCE. PITY YOU ARE ALL ILLITERATE, you couldda read t/ book in time to Save your right-wing souls on xmas eve. Please tell t/ BOSS again that a billionaire, who suffers a tragic breakdown should ,too, care about t/ disabled w/o a buck. I CHOSE THIS SITE B/C MY COMMENT MAY ENTICE THE WIESENTHAL CTR. Ist das richtig? Bis spater.

    November 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cesar

    I wish this talented composer lived well into his 90's. I know he'll be missed by the great polish people and beyond. I sure like the German people's culture. They make great beer, sausage and awesome cars-BMW, Mercedes, Audi; need I say more?

    November 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lennie Appelquist

    I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs – I was driving through Vermont (1992) searching for a litle chocolate shop that a friend told me about. The song came on, and it wasn't long before the tears were streaming down my face... Am still waiting to see this beautiful piece of music performed live. Rest in peace Maestro.

    November 14, 2010 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs also brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard the music – and then, when I read the translation of the lyrics, and listened to the music again – it brought torrential tears to me eyes. Some of the most moving music ever written ...

      December 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. phil

    @Cesar...So. Have you ever worked on the cars you mentioned? Sure, they are fine automobiles and should be, cosidering their pricetags. They are engineered intentionally to make it more difficult to work on them. That sort of engineering is particularly expensive. While American manufacturers engineer their cars to last the length of the warranty. Both ways suck.

    November 14, 2010 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. cesar

    @Phil.No I haven't worked on them. But in the 90's I purchased a used Audi. I loved it. Never drove such a fast car engineered to perfection. Was very expensive to repair. Went back to GM.

    November 14, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. phil

    So. (gotcha)

    November 14, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 517blingdongding

    God has taken him to heaven. Bless him.

    November 14, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |