Symphony No. 4 (Tansman Episodes
) was the late Henryk Górecki’s final composition. The recording was made during the 2014 world premiere performance at Royal Festival Hall with co-commissioner London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrey Boreyko. The piece, which pays homage to Górecki’s fellow Polish composer Alexsander Tansman, was incomplete at the time of Górecki’s 2010 death and thus missed its previously scheduled premiere. However the score had precise indications for orchestration, which Górecki’s son Mikolaj, also a composer, used to complete it. The Daily Telegraph
said the piece "caps Górecki's reputation as an orchestral composer, but it also contains some surprises. The music … features some brutal juxtapositions of massively powerful music with slow, intimate passages for solo instruments, including prominent parts for piano and organ."
Symphony No. 4 is also part of Henryk Górecki: A Nonesuch Retrospective
, a seven-disc box set containing all Nonesuch recordings of Górecki works—Lerchenmusik
; Symphony No. 3; String Quartets Nos. 1, 2, and 3; Miserere
; Kleines Requiem für eine Polka
; Harpsichord Concerto; and Good Night
Born in 1933, Henryk Górecki spent most of his life in southern Poland. He was a leading composer of the Polish avant-garde in the 1950s and later reached a worldwide audience in the 1990s thanks to the success of his Symphony No. 3. The work was composed in 1976, and was at that time shocking in its tonality and simplicity, but it was with the release of the 1992 Nonesuch recording of the piece, featuring Dawn Upshaw and the London Sinfonietta, that it attracted international attention, selling more than a million copies and climbing to the top of the classical music charts in both the US and the UK. On the unexpected popularity of the piece, the composer remarked, "Perhaps people find something they need in this piece of music ... somehow I hit the right note, something they were missing. Something somewhere had been lost to them. I feel that I instinctively knew what they needed."