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Thread: Karol Szymanowski

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    Default Karol Szymanowski

    I have not seen much about this Czech composer anywhere. The other evening I heard the music to the ballet "Harnasie" on the radio and recently read about but did not hear or attend a performance of his opera "Roger" performed at the Bard College music festival called SummerScape. I would like to know what other forum members think of this composer.

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    Szymanowski was one of the greatest POLISH composers, and one of my favourite composers.

    If you enjoy Scriabin/Debussy/Ravel - you must try his music.
    If you love Chopin's piano - you must try his music.
    If not - still give him a shot.

    My recomendation:
    Karol Szymanowski - The Complete Mazurkas

    Great works - great performance.

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    Hello umpa

    Welcome to the forum, glad you could join us.

    I don't know this composer, so I must try his music.


    Margaret

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    Szymanowski sounds good with some Fauré.

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    Why Szymanowski is not much more widely performed is a mystery to me. His music covers a wide range of styles, from the richly Straussian Concert Overture through Scriabinesque piano music to the mystical later works. Many years ago I heard Isacac Stern perform the Nocturne and Tarantelle in a huge barn of a concert hall, and the sound absolutely filled the space. For those who don't know his music, I'd recommend starting with the first violin concerto (absolutely ravishing!), the aforementioned concert overture, or the second string quartet (the opening is among the most magical things I know in music. But I've never heard anything by Szymanowski that wasn't at least intriguing.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    I'm learning his 9 preludes op.1 at the moment and find them amazing. The piece that really got me into Szym though was his violin concerto, which in my opinion is among the great VC's of all time. I find his earlier works (especially for piano) very Chopinesque and believe that if Chopin had lived all the way up to the 1940's he would be writing works like the VC and the 3rd Symphony. God bless Poland!
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Szymanowski wrote some easy beginner works who are, amazingly, not utterly boring for the experienced listener. Bartók is probably the only other composer who managed doing this with his "For Children", so I consider Szymanowsky's beginner works a great compositional achievement, suggesting some mastery over the art, and have been trying to find more by him. The only thing I have found so far is a nocturne, 'La Murmure', by Maria Szymanowska (his sister?), it is very good though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Elgar View Post
    The piece that really got me into Szym though was his violin concerto,
    Which one? He composed two of them.

    I suggest the cd with piano works played by Piotr Anderszewski, includes Metopes, the third piano sonata and Masques.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    The famous one, not the 2nd
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    I have two sets of Szymanowski. One with Simon Rattle/City of Birmingham and the other is a various EMI 2-CD set one of the conductors is Antoni Wit. Anyway, I haven't heard much of his music other than Symphony No. 4, which is a beautiful piece of work, but to be honest I do not hear much impressionism from his music at all or at least the impressionism we know from Debussy, Ravel, Dukas, Delius, etc. He may very well have been influenced by Debussy and Ravel, but I don't really hear those influences.

    I'm not sure why he isn't performed more. One reason could be that outside of Europe he's just not widely accepted. His music is pretty hard to follow at times, especially his first two symphonies.

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    I like his Sonata for Violin and Piano (from Chandos cd) and Violin Concerto No. 1 (I have it on Jennifer Koh's Portraits).

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    I've heard his two violin concertos & compared to others of the same time, they sound even more contemporary and fresh. Not only are they quite rhapsodic and free in structure, but the movements are continuous. He seemed to be updating the genre, similar to what Liszt did with his two piano concertos almost a century earlier. I think they offer challenging but rewarding listening, nonetheless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirror Image View Post
    I'm not sure why he isn't performed more. One reason could be that outside of Europe he's just not widely accepted. His music is pretty hard to follow at times, especially his first two symphonies.
    I gotta say, I'm listening to the Dorati/Detroit recording of the 2nd and 3rd symphonies and I'm finding them very accessible. This is a composer whose music I had never heard, and so far, just from the 2nd symphony and the first mvt. of the 3rd, he has totally enraptured me.. I shall be seeking out more of his music, without a doubt..
    Life is a long lesson in humility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andruini View Post
    I gotta say, I'm listening to the Dorati/Detroit recording of the 2nd and 3rd symphonies and I'm finding them very accessible. This is a composer whose music I had never heard, and so far, just from the 2nd symphony and the first mvt. of the 3rd, he has totally enraptured me.. I shall be seeking out more of his music, without a doubt..
    Yes, they are accessible, but some parts of his music I find questionable. My favorite composition is his Symphony No. 4, especially the 2nd movement, which is absolutely beautiful.

    andruini, you have to hear Symphony No. 4 my friend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirror Image View Post
    Yes, they are accessible, but some parts of his music I find questionable. My favorite composition is his Symphony No. 4, especially the 2nd movement, which is absolutely beautiful.

    andruini, you have to hear Symphony No. 4 my friend.
    Will do!!
    I'm not believing this stuff.. I'm liking it waaay more than I expected to..
    Life is a long lesson in humility.

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