Symphonies Evoke Sadness and Nostalgia

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IN the competition to find the North East's favourite orchestral symphony, the focus turns today to Gustav Mahler and Henryk Grecki.

The competition has been organised by Orchestra North East and sponsor Lowes Financial Management in association with The Journal.

You can vote for your favourite symphony by going to www.journallive.co.uk/culture and clicking on the link. The symphony which attracts the most votes will be performed by the orchestra in a concert at The Sage Gateshead on June 12 in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

For tickets to the concert, call 0191 443 4661 or buy online at www.thesagegateshead.org Grecki's Symphony No. 3 Henryk Grecki was born in Poland in 1933, studied at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice and rose to be provost.

He died last autumn but is remembered as a leading light in the Polish avant-garde, although this is maybe a way of saying that he wasn't widely known outside Poland for a lot of years.

Then came his Symphony No 3, known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

He composed it in Katowice in 1976 and it was premiered the following year. Musicologists will tell you that it represented a transition from his dissonant early style and his later more tonal approach. But nobody outside Poland took much notice until a recording was released in 1992 to commemorate those killed in the Holocaust.

Featuring the American soprano Dawn Upshaw, it topped the classical charts in Britain and the United States that year and remains popular and powerful to this day. …