Top image: Beth Gibbons, photo by Marcin Oliva Soto
Portishead’s illusive vocalist and lyricist Beth Gibbons has announced a new album in collaboration with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in 2014 at the National Opera Grand Theater in Warsaw, the new album features a rendition of Henryk Górecki’s 1976 Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), conducted by Krysztof Penderecki.
One of Poland’s most renowned composers, Penderecki has previously worked with Aphex Twin and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, while his music has also been used in The Shining, The Exorcist, and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
According to an accompanying press release, Gibbons undertook intense preparation for the project, “tackling the challenge of learning the original text (and the emotional weight it carries) without speaking the mother language.
Beth neither speaks Polish nor reads music. But in preparation for the performance, she worked from an especially prepared vocal score bearing the original text, a phonetic interpretation, and – crucially – a translation”