Program Notes

Totus Tuus – Henryk Gorecki

Totus Tuus (Entirely Thine Am I)

Totus Tuus is a hymn to the Virgin Mary that was composed in 1987 for the third visit of Pope John Paul II to his homeland. The choral text is taken from a poem written by Maria Boguslawska. The music is based on chants of the Polish Catholic Church and reflects Gorecki’s deep love of his country and its musical traditions. The simple form of the chant is repeated to build a musical affirmation of faith.

Henryk Gorecki is a highly respected composer in Poland, but one who rarely seeks publicity. The church and Polish music have been major influences on his life and work. While much of his earlier music is written in an avant- garde mode, his later compositions have been more austere and show an increasing use of Polish folk melodies. Gorecki’s home is in Katowice, where he can best pursue his interests in the folk culture of the Tatra mountain region of southern Poland. Although some of his music was published during his student days in the 1950’s, his work was not well known outside of his native Poland, because of poor international distribution of Polish music and possibly also his reluctance to travel. He became prominent in this country in 1976, after release of recordings of his Third Symphony. Other works include his Old Polish Music, written in 1969, and Beatus Vir (1979).