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Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

Statue detail - St Pancras Station

Before you read this post please listen to the piece of music below, unless you already know it. (Put it on in the background as you do something else for 9 minutes). It’s the second movement of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3. I’ve loved it for many years.

I have listened to this haunting, beautiful piece so many times. But I have only just learned the background to it. And that has made it even more powerful.

Helena Blazusiak was 18 years old when she was imprisoned by the Gestapo in 1944. On the walls of her prison cell she scrawled these words,

“Oh, Mamma, do not cry! Immaculate Queen of Heaven support me always…”

She does not despair, does not cry, does not scream for revenge. She does not think about herself; whether she deserves her fate or not. Instead, she only thinks about her mother: because it is her mother who will experience true despair.
This scrawled sentence was the inspiration for Henryk Górecki to write the second movement of his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.
And now, if you listen to the piece again, its power is transformed.

Why am I writing this here, on this blog? Because it reminded me to always examine things closely, to dig deeper into your subject, to remain curious, for there are extraordinary stories and great beauty all around us. The more we know, the more we see. The more we see, the more we know.

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  1. Mike Barnes Posted

    Stunning. Thanks for this.

  2. Greetings Alastair..Hope this finds you well and having an interesting time in Dubai. Just played the Gorecki Symphonie No 3 – 2nd Movement….love it. I have music on that is very interesting whilst I do artwork..and I need to find a way to have this one as well…it inspires me very much. I would like to send one along to you if possible…it’s a video of gently swaying bamboo trees to a song from a Korean opera. Funny thing tho..I don’t know what the song is saying..but I do love it so. I’d like to know your take on it. ;D (Will try to send it via e-mail to you) Take good care…Johnn

  3. Sad news – Gorecki has just died:

  4. Tim Johnson Posted

    What is the sculpture you have as a photograph and where is it from? It is so compelling.



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