42 concerts and broadcasts, 8 world premieres, and countless emotions – this is what the 8th “International Days of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki” Festival has to offer to its audience. The inauguration took place on the 10th anniversary of the composer’s death, on 12 November 2020, and the last concert will take place on his birth anniversary, on 6 December 2020. The festival is part of the celebration of the death anniversary of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, the patron of not only the festival but also its organizer – the Silesian Philharmonic.
This festival is full of contrasts, presenting various forms, moods, and styles, combining tradition with modernity, light with darkness, and image with sound. The concert programs represent the diversity of Polish music from different epochs, and nearly all include a premiere of a work by a living Polish composer.
The 8th International Days of H.M. Górecki began with a prelude on 11 November, presenting exceptional works of sacred music by contemporary composers, including premieres of Psalm by Adrian Robak and Agnus Dei by Piotr Pudełko. The inaugural concert featured the premiere of Eugeniusz Knapik’s When Suns Die – They Go Out for soprano and string orchestra, based on the same literary text as H.M. Górecki’s String Quartet No. 3 ‘… songs are sung’.
On Nov 20, the festival presented the world premiere of Symphony No. 1 “Un livre sur l’homme” [Book about the man] by Marcel Chyrzyński, which was composed under the influence of the Polish philosopher Roman Ingarden and takes its subtitle from one of his works. On Nov 27, the premiere of Aleksander Lasoń’s Nimitta. Sinfonia Concertante No. 3 for amplified violin, amplified cello, and amplified string orchestra featured the composer’s sons – violinist Krzysztof Lasoń and cellist Stanisław Lasoń – in the solo parts.
During the Multimedia Organ Evening on Nov 29, audiences around the world heard the premiere of Interlude by Władysław Szymański, the Rector of the Academy of Music in Katowice, as interpreted by the composer himself. The concert on 4 December will premiere the Symphony No. 8 ‘Symphony of Biblical Psalms’ by Jan Wincenty Hawel, the founder and Honorary Head of the Silesian Chamber Orchestra, as well as the composition selected in the H.M. Górecki International Composers’ Competition: Piotr Pudełko’s Pater Noster.
This festival is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the “Music” program operated by the Institute of Music and Dance. All concerts were presented online this year, due to pandemic restrictions.