Choros I op. 20
Górecki’s Choros I for strings has a rather complicated history. It was conceived as another part of the Genesis cycle and, indeed, it does continue the composer’s sonoristic explorations characteristic of that cycle. Its first version, written in 1963, was withdrawn by the composer before the planned premiere at the Warsaw Autumn festival. The second version, first performed at Warsaw Autumn in 1964 and presented in this recording, was not the final one, as Górecki introduced final revisions late in 1964. The title suggests that he was planning more Choros pieces, perhaps as another cycle – but eventually abandoned those plans. Choros I has remained an independent composition for string orchestra. Its homogeneity is an important structural device, enhanced by the density of texture that results from the composer’s focus on limited pitch resources, the use of glissandi and the repetition of overlapping rhythmic-motivic strata. All this gives the composition its monolithic character, devoid of violent contrasts. Still, beneath the surface the music buzzes with hidden energy, and is “rather like a dance on a volcano”, as Leon Markiewicz aptly described it in his review in the journal Ruch Muzyczny (1964/21).