Henryk Górecki’s iconic third symphony, often called “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” made a huge impact on listeners in the early 1990s and was a musical touchstone for virtuoso saxophonist and Ann Arbor native Colin Stetson.
The work’s three movements centered around three laments, each focused in some way to child being taken away from a mother. Celebrated for the way he “demolishes clichés to unleash fresh, unexpected energies,” (Pitchfork) Stetson takes on the mammoth task of reimagining Górecki’s symphony for an expansive and contemporary sonic palate. Sorrow, his inspired new interpretation of the heartbreaking work, is “timeless and of the moment.” (PopMatters) It draws on a uniquely constructed 11-member ensemble (including Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld), employing electric guitars, synthesizers, drums, strings, woodwinds, and soprano to create transformative extensions of the emotional core of the piece.
Colin Stetson, alto, tenor, and bass saxophones; contrabass clarinet; lyricon
Megan Stetson, soprano
Sarah Neufeld, violin
Rebecca Foon, cello
Dan Bennett, tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet
Matt Bauder, tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet
Grey Mcmurray, guitars
Ryan Ferreira, guitars
Justin Walter, keyboards, EVI
Shahzad Ismaily, synthesizers
Greg Fox, drums