Jacaranda, the classical music series known for presenting rarely heard and new compositions, will feature the music of renowned Polish composer Henryk Gorecki at its concerts this weekend on Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m.
The concerts will take place at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, 1220 Second Street (cross street is Wilshire), one block from the ocean, and will feature the Calder Quartet and the Lyris Quartet.
Jacaranda’s music director, Mark Alan Hilt, will conduct the series’ chamber orchestra and pianist Mark Robson will perform the composer’s first published work.
When he died in November last year, Gorecki was best known for his Symphony No. 3, an extended lamentation subtitled “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” that included a prayer from a young victim of the Holocaust, which sold more than a million copies in the 1990s and brought international fame to soprano Dawn Upshaw.
The Jacaranda concerts, while not featuring this particular symphony, will instead introduce audience members to some of Gorecki’s other works and explore his evolution from a composer whose early music was more avant-garde to one “later influenced by traditional Polish music and themes of war and loss in his nation’s history”, according to Gorecki’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles played a special role in Gorecki’s career, according to Jacaranda’s artistic & executive director Patrick Scott.
Scott remembers Gorecki’s CD being offered as a donor premium during a 1992 KCRW Radio pledge drive, as the beginning of Gorecki’s popularity. In 1997, Gorecki came to Los Angeles to conduct the Third Symphony, his first time in America, and garnered rave reviews.
During the Jacaranda program, dubbed “Songs of Stones: Music of Henryk Gorecki”, music director Hilt says the evening of solo piano, quartet and chamber orchestra works are a celebration of the Polish love of music.
“Poles have a dark sense of humor, and their strong faith helped sustain them through years of painful repression,” Hilt said. “Gorecki was able to channel a pure spirit of transcendence, but also outlandish irony. His music is always deeply felt and immediately engaging.”
Tickets are available at www.jacarandamusic.org or by calling 1-800-595-4TIX.
The cost is $35 general/$15 for students, or at the door for $40 general/$20 for students.