Symphony No.3 Op.36 ('Symphony of Sorrowful Songs')
Henryk Górecki


Listen to this piece at now

Górecki is a one-hit Hall of Fame wonder, and his symphony is down 53 this year

This work owes its mass appeal to the powerfully evocative second movement: the setting of an eighteen-year-old girl's prayer, inscribed on the wall of a Gestapo prison in 1944.

The Polish composer behind the hit, Henryk Górecki, holds a special place in the history of Classic FM. The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs was played in the very first week that the station began broadcasting in September 1992 and the audience response was so great that it quickly raced to the top of the classical music charts.

Górecki was almost totally unknown outside classical music circles, so in that respect the symphony was a slightly unusual selection. But it captured the British public's imagination, remaining the country's most popular classical CD for months.