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SHOW REVIEW: Colin Stetson Brings Górecki Back to Life with Breathtaking ‘SORROW’ Perfor


Image via @thehouseofdis on Instagram

Colin Stetson recently undertook the task of reimagining Henryk Górecki’s popular Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). The result is nothing short of phenomenal: a mix of classical music with exaggerated heavy parts and a favoring on low-end brass instruments. Last night, Stetson brought his thirteen-piece ensemble to Le Poisson Rouge to showcase the symphony to a room full of serious music lovers.

The three-part symphony runs about an hour, and last night’s performance stayed true to the arrangement that can be heard on SORROW, the name Stetson has chosen to give his rendition of the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. Joined by the likes of frequent collaborator and Arcade Fire member Sarah Neufeld, his sister Megan Stetson on vocals, electronic valve instrumentalist Just Walter (who opened the show with a set of ambient music), and Liturgy’s Greg Fox on drums, amongst others, the combination of musicians was one never before seen by myself (and presumably the others there as well).

The music itself is literally the type of stuff that gives you goose bumps. It is intense, urgent, indeed sorrowful, and absolutely beautiful. It is cathartic, like a good cry initiated by an unexplainable cocktail of emotions. The singing Stetson was brought to tears at the end of the performance, putting the exclamation point on what was a moving hour of music that contained soft and beautiful saxophone playing to full-throttle blast beats. If you’ve yet to hear Stetson’s take on Górecki, go ahead and indulge…

Colin Stetson’s SORROW is available in digital format as well as on CD and 2xLP. Check it out here.


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