Gorecki: Miserere; Choros I; Totus tuus

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Koch Schwann
WORKS: Miserere; Choros I; Totus tuus
PERFORMER: Krakow Choral Society/Malgorzata Orawski, Krakow State PO/Roland Bader
CATALOGUE NO: 3-1201-2
If Górecki’s Third Symphony hadn’t become such a hit, I doubt that we’d now be welcoming the 12th recording of Totus tuus into the catalogue. It’s a simple, fetching, unaccompanied motet, stretched out by much repetition, including a long fade at the end, and which outstays its welcome by a considerable margin. The Miserere is more interesting: it begins with a single line, then gradually adds more strands, at first only men’s voices, then women’s, and increases in harmonic density, fervour and volume in a series of waves. This goes on for half-an-hour and consists only of repetitions of the words ‘Domine Deus noster’, but Górecki’s cunning enough to ring the changes on his self-restricted material, so that the music is always moving forward, and he’s helped by the well-paced performance and the ecclesiastical acoustic. Finally, in the last of the 11 sections, the remainder of the text – ‘miserere nobis’ – provides release. Sandwiched incongruously between the two choral works (and, dare I say, more interesting) is Choros I for strings, typical Polish texture music of the Sixties, rather like Penderecki or Lutoslawski. The booklet promises 11 tracks for the Miserere: there is only one on the CD itself. Martin Cotton