Henryk Górecki, who died on November 12 aged 76, was a Polish composer who achieved immense popularity in Western Europe and America in the 1990s thanks to the ethereal splendour of his Symphony No 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), which briefly reached No 6 in the British charts, just behind Paul McCartney.
Symphony of Sorrowful Songs was originally conceived as a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. In each of the three movements a soprano sings a Polish text: a 15th-century lament; a message scribbled on the wall of a Gestapo cell; and a Silesian prayer of a mother searching for her missing son.
The work was written in 1976, but in 1992 it was released on the Nonesuch label sung by Dawn Upshaw with the London Sinfonietta conducted by David Zinman. Not only had the political landscape changed in the intervening years, but so too had the economic and musical landscape in the West.