Thursday, June 22, 2017

How a Somber Symphony sold more than a million records

This year is the 25th anniversary of the unprecedented success of the CD of Gorecki's third symphony (composed in 1976), recorded by the London Sinfonietta under David Zinman with soprano Dawn Upshaw for Nonesuch. The aptly subtitled Symphony of sorrowful songs piece stormed the charts, selling over one million records. To this day it has remained one of the best selling and most controversial pieces in the classical repertoire, with opinions ranging from "dull and boring" to "brilliant masterpiece" (I'm in the latter group). The linked article gives a fascinating insight into the decision making before its recording and release, as well as the effect on the composer. Very highly recommended. The complete symphony is available on YouTube.

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