O, my Garland of Lavender op. 50
Recording not available.
Ah, My Lavender Wreath is a set of seven folk songs taken from original versions in Oskar Kolberg’s book of folk customs in Pomerania. This region of Poland had not had any big influence on musical life, unlike the regions of Podhale, Kurpie or Mazovia, with musical traditions used by many Polish composers. But Górecki admired Pomeranian melodies and lyrics and used a selection of them to compose this and his subsequent choral cycle, Cloud Comes, Rain Falls. The songs from the O, my Garland of Lavender collection refer to various periods in a woman’s life: childhood, marriage, motherhood, working in the fields and so forth. The variations in mood in successive lyrics correspond to the musical arrangement, pared as always in Górecki’s work, enriching the original melodies in terms of harmony and expression. The witty, slightly dissonant third song, I Have Kept Silent, musically describes marital disputes. A scary story for children, Bzi, bzi, bzibziana, is the fourth song, and a wistful melody full of regret, Why Did You Marry Me Off, Mommy, is the sixth. The cycle ends with a harvest song, a request to God for good crops in Give Us, God, Good Harvest.