Two Sacred Songs op. 30a
Having composed Ad Matrem, Henryk Górecki confirmed his growing interest in the sphere of the sacrum in music with his Two Sacred Songs, composed in two versions: for solo baritone and piano, and for solo baritone and orchestra. Direct impulse for their composition came from the religious poems of Marek Skwarnicki, published in the magazine Tygodnik Powszechny in 1971 and drawing on traditional sections of the mass. Of the four printed poems by Skwarnicki, Górecki chose Offertorium and Introitus and set them to music. The simplicity of the words is reflected in their musical settings. The composer gave the songs a warm, almost lyrical sound that, however, is not devoid of dramatic intensity – especially evident in the more dramatic second song. The delicate texture of both songs gains colour in the orchestral version, but even in this variant the solo voice retains its leading role, whereas the orchestra only complements and enhances emotions conveyed by the voice, strictly linked to textual meanings.