Górecki Symphony No 3
The recording here is fairly well managed, with usefully defined strings and a secure bass line. Kazimierz Kord takes almost three minutes longer over the first movement than Antoni Wit does on his Naxos recording (Gorecki's metronome marking allows for a couple of crotchets' worth of leeway); but tempo isn't the problem here so much as a certain lack of subtlety. Everywhere in this symphony Gorecki draws the finest of dynamic distinctions: markings such as tranquillissimo e cantabilissimo, dolcissimo, legatissimo and pochissimo abound, and when Kord applies an unhelpful ritardando 2'46'' into the third movement (compare Wit in the same passage marked merely ben tenuto), or treads heavily where Wit effects a gentle pulse, monotony sets in—the very quality that Gorecki's detractors have most frequently voiced m opposition to this moving work. Joanna Kozlowska has a full, well-focused voice that tends to discolour in its higher reaches, but her interpretation isn't particularly memorable—certainly not in comparison with Kilanowicz, Upshaw or Woytowicz.
Gorecki's Third remains a pivotal post-war symphony, one that demands a level of commitment and control that is conspicuously missing from this mid-price production. Best to stay with either Wit or Zinman—although if booklet-notes are an important consideration, Bernard Jacobson's for Philips are well worth reading.'