Gorecki in Montreal
November 1, 1998
On November 20, the great Polish composer Henryk Gorecki will visit
Montreal to accept an honorary degree from Concordia University. Although he is among the
most famous of living composers, he is also an intensely private man who believes that
"success and fame are a dangerous poison."
was born on December 6, 1933, in Czernica, Poland. In a recent interview he described his
origins: "I was born in Silesia, an ancient Polish land that has three coexisiting
cultures: Polish, Czech, and German. Nobody chooses their time and place of their birth
but I was lucky to grow up with them all." Gorecki's music defies classification and
he rarely speaks about his work. He avoids press conferences and interviews, but he likes
to quote the Pope, who said that art "is only a distant echo of God's word ".
His early period was violent and explosive, his later period more contemplative and
religious. At all times his music is rooted in the folk and religious music of old Polish
Gorecki's phenomenally popular Symphony No. 3, which sold
over one million copies, shows only one side of Gorecki's music. To discover the different
facets of Gorecki's more rarely played music, it is recommended that listeners attend one
of the concerts to be held this month in honour of his visit to Montreal and Quebec City.
Programs will include Three Pieces in an Old Style, Musiquiette 3, Genesis I, Choros I,
String Quartet No. 2, Little Fantasia, and Sonata for Two Violins. Gorecki will
give a seminar at Concordia University on November 18, receive an honorary degree at Place
des Arts on November 20 and attend an evening concert of his own chamber works at
Concordia Concert Hall that evening. There will be a Gala Concert at the St. Leon de
Westmount Church, 4311 de Maisonneuve West, at 8:00 pm on Saturday November 21, to
celebrate the composer's 65th birthday. After the concert, the audience will have a chance
to meet the composer. (The same concert will be presented in Quebec City on November 22).
Tickets cost 20$, 10$ for students. Call (514) 487-5550 or Admission 790-1111