Gorecki dies at 76

WARSAW, Poland – Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, famous for his "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," including one about a woman who was held prisoner by the Gestapo, died Friday (November 12 - 2010) following a serious illness. He was 76.

Gorecki died in the cardiology ward of a hospital in his home city of Katowice in southern Poland, Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa, the director of Polish Radio orchestra in Katowice, told The Associated Press.

The composer was suffering from a number of ailments, chiefly a lung infection, she said.

Wnuk-Nazarowa said she and another Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki, had visited Gorecki in the hospital on Wednesday.

"Penderecki insisted on seeing him," Wnuk-Nazarowa said. "We tried to joke, make plans for the future. Penderecki promised he would direct (Gorecki's) 'Beatus vir' for the 80th birthday" that both would celebrate in 2013.

The work was commissioned by Archbishop Karol Wojtyla before he became Pope John Paul II to mark 900 years since the death of Roman Catholic martyr, Stanislaw, bishop of Krakow — whom Pope John Paul II later made a saint. The composition, completed in 1979, is a psalm for baritone, choir and orchestra. Yahoo/AP