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Sorrowful Songs composer Gorecki dies

Posted 2 hours 8 minutes ago

Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, who became one of the best-selling classical artists ever with his doleful Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, has died after a long illness at the age of 76.

"We are sorry to confirm the news that Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki has passed away," said Beata Jankowska-Burzynska, an official with Polish Radio's National Symphony Orchestra in the southern city of Katowice.

Gorecki was born December 6, 1933 in Czernica, near Poland's gritty coal-mining city of Katowice. He was orphaned at the age of two when his mother, a pianist, died.

He studied music at the Katowice Music Academy, where he went on to hold a professorship and became its rector from 1975-1979.

Known for his trademark simple yet monumental musical style, Gorecki was regarded as being at the forefront of Polish avant-guard classical composers through the 1950's to 1970's, exploring Polish folk music and medieval themes.

Focused on motherhood and the ravages of war, Gorecki's Symphony No 3 or Symphony of Sorrow Songs, gained critical acclaim and worldwide popularity after its 1992 re-release featuring American soprano Dawn Upshaw.
ABC