Beth Gibbons sings the 3rd Symphony by Henryk Górecki

8edc1858144882587df1c15ce3b23ee7 - Beth Gibbons sings the 3rd Symphony by Henryk Górecki


Singer Beth Gibbons you know, of course, of Portishead, but her musical ambitions reach further than this band. Recently there appeared an album which she’s a very special classic piece sings.

In 2013, the band played in the Polish city of Krakow when promoter Filip Berkowicz something striking against Gibbons said. It seemed to him a good idea of if they even would dare to the work of composer Henryk Górecki and his third symphony in particular. Gibbons did not immediately, but the idea settled in her brain. Six years later we can the result to hear.


Symfonia no. 3 “Symfonia pieśni żałosnych (Symphony of treurliederen) from 1976 is one of the most impressive classical works of the last 50 years. Górecki processed in the piece a few texts of mourning women, making the symphony a very emotional and heavy moving load, added. Despite the fact that the texts in Polish are you feel as a listener, the pain.

This text consists of three parts. First, there is a prayer addressed to Mary, the mother of Jesus, then follows a text that is found on the wall of a Gestapo cell during the Second world War and finally, there is a lament of a mother, her son looks for during the Silesian Uprisings 100 years ago. All texts deal with the loss of a child during a war.


Henryk Górecki wrote the piece for soprano and orchestra, but Beth Gibbons is a contra-alto. Thus, it has quite a bit of effort to get the piece to get the hang of. Especially when you consider that they also have no Polish to speak and cannot read musical notes. After a long study in both England and Poland is the Gibbons have succeeded. Under the direction of conductor and composer Krzysztof Penderecki is the cooperation with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and on november 29, 2014 was the implementation in Warsaw.

Now, I’m a lover of both Górecki as Portishead, but here I was not even aware of. Until earlier this year an announcement came out of an album to which the performance is heard. Now is the album and I listen to it almost every day. I am not sure yet whether this version is more beautiful and better than the known performance from 1992 by conductor David Zinman and soprano Dawn Upshaw, for that, I already have countless times listened to, but this is at least in the near.


The first you notice is, of course, the voice of Beth Gibbons. So unequivocally good for Portishead. Despite the fact that they are higher then sings normally and in a different language, you can recognize her voice immediately and that gives me a special extra meaning to the piece. Whom the document knows that it takes a while before the vocals, but from then on it is instantly magical. This is partly because there is a separate vocal microphone is used for recording of Gibbons’ voice. This is her voice brighter than a regular recording.

Technically, it is Beth Gibbons subordinate to a vocal heavyweight as Dawn Upshaw, but feeling, emotion and the beautiful voice of Gibbons make very much good. Musically, it is perhaps miles away from the trip-hop of Portishead, but it is for the adventurous listener at least just as interesting.

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