Henryk Mikolaj Górecki: Miserere – Lobgesang, Op. 16 – Piesni Maryjne, Op. 54
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon (Conductor)
Recorded live at Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles (2012) – 68’06
DECCA #: 02894783537 – Liner notes in English, French, and German
Award winning Los Angeles Master Chorale celebrates here the life and work of acclaimed Polish composer Górecki (1933-2010). His Miserere was written in 1981 as a protest against violent attack by police on the Rural Solidarity union in the northern city of Bydgoszcz. Underground press reports of police brutality incensed ordinary citizens and hardened attitudes against the communist regime. The imposition of marshal law in 1981 meant that the work could not be performed. It finally received its world premiere in 1987.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, under the baton of Grant Gershon delivers an impassioned, overwhelmingly emotional performance.
This CD also includes the Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise) celebrating the 600th anniversary of the birth of Johann Gutenberg, inventor of the movable-type printing. The Marian Songs, more intimate and uplifting, are sung in the original Polish and illustrate Górecki’s love for Polish folk music.
The lush acoustics of the Walt Disney Hall, the Chorale’s home venue, perfectly suits the three pieces. However, it appears in the recording that higher voices are sort of quivering. This is no doubt a technical issue that should have been corrected by DECCA’s sound engineers.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale has also released in 2010 an interesting CD under the same label: A Good Understanding, music by 30-year old American composer Nico Muhly.
The CD features six works conducted by Director Grant Gershon: Expecting the Main Things from You, a three-movement work for organ and string quartet, Bright Mass with Canons, which pairs ancient music techniques with a minimalist bent, First Service, A Good Understanding, and Senex Puerum Portabat. Like as a Heart is featured as an iTune bonus track.
For more on the above, please read ConcertoNet’s review of Los Angeles Master Chorale's performance of October 21, 2012.
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