Classical musician achieved unlikely fame with Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, composed in memory of the Holocaust, writes Maev Kennedy in The Guardian.
He had been regarded as a pioneer of modernism in his own country, though later adopted a more pared-down, minimalist style and became noted for religious music. In 1992, a recording of his then 15-year-old third symphony, also known under the title of the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, was released to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust: it became a worldwide critical and popular success.
I play this regularly. Oddly enough, given its theme, it helps my brainwaves settle to a rhythm where I can work – as does the Adagio from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, or Frank Corcoran’s Trauerfelder, and Ommagio, from Michael Holohan’s Fields of Blue and White
Michael Holohan’s piece apart (I don’t know what inspired it) what does this say about music inspired by intense sorrow? Perhaps it means that powerful sorrow in the hands of a supreme artist blasts away the superfluous, leaving us with our spiritually naked selves.