|A new recording of one of the most surprising popular hits in the orchestral repertoire, Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, features Donald Runnicles conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with soprano Christine Brewer, the CD was recorded live at Atlanta's Symphony Hall at the Woodruff Arts Center in June 2008 following acclaimed performances in May.|
Written in 1976, the symphony, which is also known as the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," is a setting of three Polish texts with the theme of separation through war: The first is a 15th century Polish lament in which Mary speaks to her son Jesus as he is dying; the second is a message written on the wall of a Gestapo cell by a teenage girl during the Second World War; and the third is a folk song in which a mother grieves for her son killed in the Silesian uprisings. The symphony marked a change in compositional style for Górecki, who was previously identified as a member of the modernist wing of European music that was prone to compositions constructed of clashing sound masses and serially ordered elements. The symphony's simplicity, chant-like melodic nature and largely consonant harmonies took many listeners and critics by surprise.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's performances of Górecki's Third Symphony in May 2008 were presented as a "Theater of a Concert" production enhanced by lighting effects and visuals by Anne Patterson and Adam Larsen and conducted by the ASO's Principle Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. Mr. Runnicles was recently named General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony, effective in 2009, has been Music Director and Principal Conductor of the San Francisco Opera since 1992, and is Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming. Soloist Christine Brewer is a GRAMMY® Award-winning American soprano whose appearances in opera, concert and recital are marked with her own unique timbre, at once warm and brilliant, combined with a vibrant personality and emotional honesty.