Colin Stetson – “SORROW III” (Singles Going Steady)

The track isn't merely about "sorrow", that passing sentiment of unhappiness that always allows recovery; rather, it is about this sentiment amplified tenfold.

Pryor Stroud: Just an “extract” from Colin Stetson’s reimagining of Górecki’s 3rd Symphony, “SORROW III” places its title in all caps for good reason. The track isn’t merely about “sorrow”, that passing sentiment of unhappiness that always allows recovery; rather, it is about this sentiment amplified tenfold, namely “SORROW”, a feeling of irreversible tragedy, of lives lost and loves laid waste. The soaring, operatic vocal is able to capture this feeling convincingly, and the nearly militaristic string arrangements backing it suggest that this “SORROW” may be the result of an act of jealous violence. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Not exactly an easy listen, unless interpretations of a Górecki symphony by an oddball free jazz saxophonist is your idea of a toe-tapping good time. Beautifully dense, with layer upon layer of keyboards, horns, percussion, vocals and whatever else lurks in there. It’s a fascinating peek at what is probably an enthralling, ambitious work, but in small doses you don’t quite get the whole picture, which is too bad. But it definitely piques my interest for the whole album. [8/10]

Jordan Blum: As a major fan of fusing bleak tones with grandiose orchestration, I really dig this one. I can’t say I know Górecki’s original version, but I’m instantly enthralled with what Stetson does here. It truly represents a cataclysmic outcome of some sort, and its avant-garde power would fit well at the end of a film by Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, or Richard Kelly (well, Donnie Darko, anyway). [8/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Colin Stetson’s “SORROW III” is an epic opera that reimagines Polish composer Górecki’s Third Symphony. By all means, “SORROW III” is a beautiful song; the soprano vocals are light yet powerful, the cymbal crashes slowly build the tension, and the echoing noises in the background enhance the darkened mood that the song sets out to make. However, Stetson’s composition lacks enough tonal shifts to keep the track dynamic, and the climax at the end was not nearly as spectacular as I envisioned. “SORROW III” is a decent song overall, but it lacks too many elements to make it the great song that it could have been. [6/10]

Steve Horowitz: Górecki subtitled his third symphony a “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, so why anyone would want to reimagine it? This is what Colin Stetson does here (only a small fragment) on Sorrow. Stetson goes right to the dark side. One can feel the digging of one’s own grave in the strange scraping sound of strings and mournful vocals. The rich quality of the recording suggests the music would be appropriate in a concert hall, but there is something gothic about the whole thing that suggests a cathedral would be a better setting. [7/10]

Chad Miller: Well I was not expecting the opera at all. The intro was so compelling and immediate, I just expected an instrumental piece. It might have lost its surprise factor early on, but the arrangement had such a unique and powerful sound throughout that it hardly mattered. [8/10]

Colin Stetson’s SORROW – A Reimagining of Górecki’s Third Symphony is released today.

SCORE: 7.33