Saturday, 13 November 2010

Henryk Gorecki 1933-2010

Henryk Gorecki, arguably one of the most important composers of the last hundred years, has died. His music went from a Stockhausen-esque irregularity to an effective minamilism, perhaps best seen in the stunning motet Totus tuus which was written for his fellow countryman, Pope John Paul II, when he visited Poland for the third time during his pontificate in 1987. Totus tuus was, of course, Pope John Paul II's motto.

The best recording of Totus tuus that I know of is by the London Oratory (on Amazon here) but above is a good recording by New College, Oxford. The text is below.

Maria! Totus tuus sum, Maria!
Mater nostri Redemptoris.
Virgo Dei, virgo pia,
Mater mundi Salvatoris.
Totus tuus sum, Maria!

Mary! I am completely yours, Mary!
Mother of our Redeemer.
Virgin Mother of God, pious virgin,
Mother of the world's Saviour.
I am completely yours, Mary!

May he rest in peace.

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