Fergus Black

music teacher and performer


Notes on Gorecki’s Totus Tuus

Personally, I think that commercial music publishers ought to provide a translation of non-English texts, but they don’t, at least for this popular work. So here is mine: I also took the opportunity to provide a translation of the very many Italian terms in the score!

These notes are also available as a pdf.

Totus Tuus Henryk Mikolaj Górecki (b. 1933)

Maria! Mary!
Totus tuus sum, Maria, I am completely yours, Mary,
Mater nostri Redemptoris. Mother of our Redeemer.
Virgo Dei, virgo pia Virgin Mother of God, blessed virgin,
Mater mundi Salvatoris Mother of the world's Savior.
Totus tuus sum, Maria! I am completely yours, Mary!

Summary of markings

Italian English
allargando broader and usu. slower
ancora yet
assai very
avanti before (until)
cantabile in a singing style
cantabilissimo very much in a singing style
dim(inuendo) getting quieter
div(isi) divided
dolce sweetly
e and
espressivo expressively
largamente broadly (not nec. slower)
lento slowly
lo the
ma but
maestoso majestically

meno less
molto a lot
mosso movement
più more
pochiss(imo) a very little
poco little
poco a poco little by little
quasi as if (like)
rall(entando) gradually slow down
sempre always
sff very loud with accent
sonore sonorous (i.e. not mezzo voce)
stesso same
tempo speed
tempo Iº at the first speed
tranquillo calmly
unis(ono) not divided

Terms of volume

fff forte-fortissimo very, very loud
ff fortissimo very loud
f forte loud (strongly)
mf mezzoforte half-loud
mp mezzopiano half-soft
p piano soft (gently)
pp pianissimo very soft