Album of the month : Colin Stetson – Sorrow

Given that two of my favourite artists (Cate Le Bon and PJ Harvey) released albums this month, I would never have expected my album of the month to be this, a jazz re-imagining of Gorecki’s third symphony.

I know little of jazz (although it has been growing on me recently), and even less of classical music, so I barely even have the language to describe this music, but I can grasp its’ stunning beauty. It makes me feel like that scene in the Shawshank redemption, where Tim Robbins’ character plays an opera record over the prisons’ PA, and for a more the inmates are transported from their lives to another world.

I’ve never listened to Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony (although given my Polish roots, and its’ massive cultural importance in Poland, perhaps I should have done), so I can’t comment on this interpretation against any other. I will say that the description of Sorrow as a jazz re-imagining of the work seems to overstate the case somewhat. Sorrow is still, broadly speaking a classical piece in both instrumentation and structure. There is some influence and instrumentation from the jazz world, but you never feel that you are listening to a jazz record.

To my ears, there is also a little post-rock influence there. I was not surprised to find Stetson has performed with Godspeed You Black Emperor! as there were times (during part 1 of 3 especially) that I thought I could have been listening to them. As I say though, my description of this music can in no way do it justice, I can only urge you to listen and enjoy, even if this is an area of music alien to you.


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