Saturday, January 22, 2011

Polish Composer: Henryk Gorecki

The Polish contribution to Western culture and civilization is underestimated and little known. Few know the story of the the Lublin University school of philosophy where an ontological critique of Marxism originated that provided a tool to discredit communism at the cultural level. The human encounter with repressive socialist ideology led to many artistic works that point to something deeper that could not be explained with the dominant materialist ideology. Poland’s thought is valuable today because our culture is adopting a new form of materialism that has a more subtle and comprehensive grasp on our culture.

This is the first of several posts that will examine the cultural contribution of Poland that can help us address the reality we face in the West today.

Henryk Gorecki was a Polish composer that provided a response to the oppressive ideology by provided musical works that pointed toward another reality. His second symphony was commissioned by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla and he dedicated two works to Pope John Paul II: Beautis Vir (Opus 38 ) and Totus Tuus (Op 60). He also quit his university teaching post in 1979 to protest the government’s refusal to allow Pope John Paul II to visit. His most famous work is his third symphony, the Symphony of the Sorrowful Songs (Op 36).

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