Goreski's Little Requiem for A Polka - Monday's Free Ensemble Monterey Download

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Dear Ensemble Monterey Friends - Today's selection is one of the most serious and spiritual compositions I know. It is Henryk Gorecki's Little Requiem for a Polka. I hope you are intrigued by the title, I certainly was. Gorecki, 1933 - 2010, was one of Poland's, and indeed the world's, most outstanding composers to bridge the 20'th and 21'st Centuries. I'm willing to bet you don't know him or this incredible piece, and that is why Ensemble Monterey exists. A warning up front: much of the Little Requiem if very soft and it takes its' time. My advice is to devote about 25 minutes of quiet concentration to this work. You will be rewarded beyond your most hopeful expectations!

Words cannot ever describe the essence of music, but a few observations one the less. Much of this music moves in what some composers call "eternal time." You are introduced to a music which has played forever in the past, and will play exactly this way forever in the future. The depiction of eternity is a very difficult compositional task but Gorecki achieves it perfectly. Note the use of distant bells to evoke a sense of "far away." Juxtaposed against this eternal music is the complete banality of the temporal: a comically grotesque little polka that just won't give up or ever change. A disclaimer - we are not really playing that badly! Everything you hear is as written. BE SURE to hang in there to the end no matter what! The exquisite horn solo (about 19 minutes in) which seems to reconcile the irreconcilable is here played by hornist Jackie Orzel. It is some of the most transcendent musicianship I have ever heard.

Until Wednesday -