Song of Katyń Families op. 81
Górecki fulfilled Tadeusz Lutoborski’s request to compose music for his poem Song of Katyń Families in 2004. Lutoborski, son of one of the thousands of officers murdered by the Soviets in Katyń early in the Second World War, was actively involved in the campaign for the acceptance of historical truth about the massacres. The moving poem begins with the words of the Polish national hymn, later paraphrased by the poet: “Poland has not yet perished, so long as Katyń lives”. Górecki’s setting is equally moving: simple, economical, and rather sombre sounding. Life added a dramatic conclusion to the story of the poem, when Tadeusz Lutoborski perished on his way to ceremonies at Katyń, in the crash of the Polish president’s Tu-154 jetliner on 10 April 2010.