HENRYK MIKOLAJ GÓRECKI (1933-2010): String Quartets No. 1, Op/ 62 “Already it is Dusk” and No. 2 “Quasi una fantasia”, Op. 64, Genesis I: Elementi, for String Trio, Op. 19/1.
Catalogue Number: 12U055
Description: Elementi is an early work in Gorecki's output, from 1962, when he was still very much part of Polish Modernism, and it sounds very much like Pendereckian sonorism - somewhere between Threnody and the blisteringly aggressive solo part of the first Cello Concerto. The First Quartet has a tripartite structure, its outer sections a chorale-like theme, which in its first incarnation is repeatedly interrupted by strident chords which accumulate a powerful climax. This brackets a hectic motoric dance in repeated gestures. Two opus numbers later, the Second Quartet is twice the size, more sophisticated and more emotionally complex. The half-hour work is in traditional four movement form, and this (and the work's title) are not the only respects in which it reflects Górecki's indebtedness to Beethoven. The 'Arioso' slow movement alternates a very Beethovenian idea full of yearning and pathos with calm, but more harmonically astringent episodes. The first movement begins with a sombre, long-breathed theme, later joined in doleful counterpoint by the whole ensemble, and the 'scherzo' has a brutal insistence reminiscent of Shostakovich. The propulsive finale is in Górecki's vigorous minimalist mode, reminiscent of the Harpsichord Concerto. Tippett Quartet.