SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 30 This came into my husband’s Red Hand Files from a woman called Hannah from Minneapolis, USA. A lovely letter and yes, Gorecki’s symphony is one of the most moving pieces of music, I have ever heard especially this version sung by the great Dawn Upshaw. Thank you so much, Hannah. I would like to dedicate this beautiful, heart-breaking piece of music to the people of Turkey and Syria. God bless you all. Love Susie. x

Dear Susie, Have you ever heard Górecki’s Symphony No. 3? I was listening to it this morning with my son, who is 16 and interested in writing music for soundtracks. It occurred to me that it is a perfect submission for your “Songs of Devastation”. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. I am guessing you’ve heard it, but just in case you haven’t, I thought I’d ask.

“The symphony was dedicated to Górecki’s wife Jadwiga Rurańska. When asked why, Górecki responded, “Who was I supposed to dedicate it to?” He never sought to explain the symphony as a response to a political or historical event. Instead, he maintained that the work is an evocation of the ties between mother and child. Górecki was commissioned to write music in response to the Holocaust in the 1960s but was unable to finish any of the pieces he started for that purpose. While Górecki stated that for many years he sought to produce a work specifically in response to Auschwitz, he resisted that interpretation of the symphony, which he preferred to be viewed in a wider context. Other critics have attempted to interpret the symphony in spiritual terms, an approach which Górecki also dismissed.”