Desert Island Pick: Gorecki Symphony No 3

At the urging of a couple friends, I got into Lost--just before it was too late.  I think the show's writers missed a classic opportunity to talk about "Desert Island" lists of books and music.  (Or maybe they embedded their own lists in the periphery masquerading as the diagetic music and the books the characters read.)  Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kott have it right on Sound Opinions, but their scope is rather limited--or, rather, focused.

So I'm going to start making a list of my Classical music desert island picks, starting with Gorecki's 3rd Symphony, the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs".  This is the sort of music that comes in low, underneath the radar, but ends by drawing you in, consuming your awareness. It is not recommended to listen to it in the car and, in fact, has caused many drivers to pull over to the side of the road so as to give it their full attention.

Gorecki wrote the piece in 1976, using texts that reference children separated from their parents through war and strife.  The first movement uses a text based on Mary's sorrow over the loss of her son, Jesus.  The second uses a prayer written by a young girl on the wall of a Gestapo prison cell during WWII.  The third is about a mother's search for her son, killed in uprisings.
It's not exactly something you want to listen to every day on repeat.  But once in a great while, it's the perfect antidote to our fragmented postmodern psyche.

Filed under: Desert Island

Leave a comment