Henryk Górecki’s iconic third symphony, often called “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” made a huge impact on listeners in the early 1990s and was a musical touchstone for virtuoso saxophonist Colin Stetson.
The original work’s three movements centered around three laments, each focused in some way about a child being taken away from a mother. Celebrated for the way he “demolishes clichés to unleash fresh, expected energies,” (Pitchfork) Stetson takes on the mammoth task of reimagining Górecki’s symphony for an expansive and contemporary sonic palate. Sorrow, his imaginative new interpretation of the heartbreaking work, is “timeless and of the moment,” (PopMatters) drawing on a uniquely constructed 12-member ensemble that employs electric guitars, synthesizers, drums, strings, woodwinds, and soprano to create transformative extensions of the emotional core of the piece.
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