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Henryk Gorecki
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    (December 6, 1933-November 12, 2010)
    Born in Czernica, Poland
    Last name pronounced Go-RET-ski
    Classical composer
    Best known for his Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs)
    Also wrote three other symphonies and a series of string quartets commissioned by the Kronos Quartet
    Symphony No. 3 is the only one his works to become known to the public.
    Symphony No. 3 did not become popular until a decade and a half after it was written in 1977.
    One of the few Western critics to review Symphony No. 3 when it first premiered wrote that it 'drags through three old folk melodies (and nothing else) for an endless 55 minutes.'
    One of his students said, 'He could be ruthless in his opinions.'
    Conductor Wojciech Michiewski said, 'I've seen him walk out of concerts waving his fists and screaming 'This is a scandalous outrage' on at least two occasions.'
    His ill health and death delayed the scheduled premier of his Symphony No. 4.
    His mother died on his second birthday.
    While he was still a student at the Kotowice Music Academy, the Silesian Philharmonic devoted an entire concert to his works.
    He was married to Jadwiga Ruranska for 51 years until his death.
    As a professor, he complained about interference by the Communist authorities, describing them as 'little dogs, always yapping.'
    He composed works to commemorate John Paul II becoming the first Polish-born Pope and the Solidarity movement.
    A 1993 recording of Symphony No. 3 by the London Sinfonietta featuring singer Dawn Upshaw sold over a million albums, topped the Billboard classical charts for 37 weeks and made the Top 10 on the British pop charts.

Credit: C. Fishel

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