Monday, November 15, 2010
Henryk Górecki, 1933-2010.
Dedicated to Henryk Górecki, the Polish composer, who died on the weekend, This is part of his Symphony Number 3, Opus 36 (Symphony for Sorrowful Songs) 3rd movement. One of the most beautiful pieces of the 20th century.
When listening to this I'm reminded of the (misquoted) line from Theodore Adorno, usually said as 'There can be no poetry after Auschwitz.' (The actual quote, from Adorno's 'Cultural Criticism and Society,' in Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1967), p.19.) is 'The critique of culture is confronted with the last stage in the dialectic of culture and barbarism: to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric, and that corrodes also the knowledge which expresses why it has become impossible to write poetry today.'
I recall once hearing in a radio interview a response to this, from author Anne Michaels, author of holocaust novel Fugitive Pieces. to paraphrase... 'Because of experiences like Auschwitz, there should be poetry.'
Henryk Górecki died on Saturday in Katowice, itself a short railway journey from Auschwitz.