Author Topic: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)  (Read 54085 times)

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Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #60 on: February 03, 2009, 01:00:29 PM »
But I was disappointed with the Krenz concertino.

 :'( :'( :'( :'( But, hey, I said "first rate" not "great" or "genius" - maybe your expectations were too high? ;D Anyway, I think it's a fun piece. Krenz also made a very beautiful orchestral arrangements of 4 pieces from Kunst der Fuge.

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And Tadeusz Kassern was a new name to me - his concerto for soprano and orchestra could not have happened without mid-period Szymanowski.

It's still relatively new to me. I've only been able to hear one other piece of his, I forget the title, and it wasn't half as good as that concerto... :-\

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(Yes, I've been raiding your collection!).

Hope you're enjoying it! :D

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I'm really surprised about your comments about Rowicki's account of the 3rd symphony. I've heard a few versions (but not Dorati's) and have found it way better than any other, particularly in terms of direction(!) Mind you, I've lived with this performance for 40 odd years . . . but surely you don't think that Rattle (for example) does a better job?

Hm, can't really say, I never properly listened to the Rattle (I only got it recently). :o

The possibility that I'm slightly deranged about this matter cannot be completely ruled out. ;D The Rowicki was my first 3rd and I may have simply grown tired of it. ::) Dorati's approach, in comparison to Rowicki's, is very "objective" and maybe even toned down: the textures are not quite so lush and everything seems under absolute control all the time. Which, for some, might not be "Dionysian" enough - I wouldn't be surprised if many people found it too much "unlike Szymanowski". But the reason I like it so much is precisely that it sort of goes against one's expectations. The score is so heavy - that kind of intensity really doesn't require any "bringing out", it's there shouting at you all the time. So Dorati's very matter-of-fact approach, surprisingly enough, does not really create an effect of understatement - that would be impossible in this symphony. However, what it does seem to bring out, at least to me, is a sense of a very tightly-structured work. Which it certainly is - but in most performances that is difficult to notice, because the performers usually get sort of carried away with the "colour". Which is alright, I guess, since Szymanowski is, in a sense, all about colour. But I still venerate (and possibly adulate) the Dorati. 0:)

I would say the difference between these two recordings (Rowicki's and Dorati's) is similar to that between Wiłkomirska's and Szeryng's 2nd Violin Concerto. Only perhaps in the case of the VC Szeryng's approach is more obviously "appropriate" (or simply less contestable) because of the direction in which Szymanowski's style was evolving at that point. Wilkomirska plays the 2nd pretty much as if it was a second take of the 1st. Which, IMO, is completely wrong, since Szymanowski was obviously aiming at a bit less "ecstasy" and leaner textures, etc. So, although she is one of my favorite violinists, this happens to be one of her two recordings that I don't like at all.

Oh dear, I seem to have drifted away completely... $:) ::)

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I'll come back to you on different versions of Demeter at some point. It's just the excuse I need to compare them.

I'll be looking forward to your comments! I sincerely think Szostek-Radkowa had a great voice but didn't really do much with it! :-\

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #61 on: February 03, 2009, 04:00:25 PM »
Oh, and coming back to a controversy from very long ago: I can now confirm that Szymanowski was definitely born on the 3rd of October (Old Style 21st Sept.) 1882.

Offline Todd

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #62 on: March 30, 2009, 08:36:27 AM »



Found this disc of the violin concertos whilst out browsing over the weekend.  Ms Baeva appears to be another entry in the attractive young artist category, but how is her playing?  Good as it turns out, though I'm not sure she nails the works.  While definitely better than Benedetti for DG, she doesn't bring either the opulence or intensity I prefer.  She's got chops, though.  The band is good, too.  Sound is excellent.  Altogether, a very good if not great recording.
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Offline Brewski

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Szymanowski's "King Roger" in Paris - and you can watch it online
« Reply #63 on: July 08, 2009, 08:58:52 AM »
Thanks to ionarts, here are comments on the Bastille production of Szymanowski's opera.  AND...check out the link later in the article where you can watch the opera online (albeit without surtitles). 

--Bruce
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Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #64 on: July 08, 2009, 10:38:53 AM »
Well, no fan of Warlikowski over here (in fact, there isn't a single Polish theatre director I'm a fan of) but as for the characterization of the music... Wow! "[W]hile borrowing from Wagner, Strauss, Ravel, and Schreker" - that reviewer clearly has absolutely no idea what he's talking about, does he?

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #65 on: August 07, 2009, 07:16:29 AM »
Over here there's a new CSO broadcast with Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1, played by Zimmermann, conducted by Boulez. It is accompanied by the most inane comments I have heard in a very, very, very long while. Boulez claims that the concerto (which was finished in 1916 for crying out loud!) was "influenced" by Roussel. Wait a minute, isn't Boulez that prodigiously gifted musician? Well, maybe so, but apparently he's also deaf. Zimmermann does manage to top him however, by claiming there are moments in the concerto which are "like"... wait for it... Saint-Saens and Bizet! I rest my case. Hearing bits of Wagner in King Roger pales in comparison.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #66 on: August 09, 2009, 02:57:10 AM »
Re Szymanowski's piano pieces, has anyone heard this set?


PR CD 111-114
Jerzy Godziszewski - Karol Szymanowski complete piano works (4 CDs)

This was released in 1997 or 98 and [...] was the first complete CD recording of Szymanowski's piano works ever. It received several prizes here but I haven't heard this set. I wonder if it's worth seeking out (it's OOP)?

Breaking news! The set has been re-released! :D :D :D And rather cheaply (well, mid-price). It costs around 80pln - that's approx. 20eur, 28usd (4 discs).


snyprrr

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #67 on: August 12, 2009, 11:49:01 AM »
I have the Symphony No.3 on Koch. I believe that soprano you like is on this version, the same singer that sings my fav version of Gorecki No.3 (also on Koch). This isn't the same version that you didn't like, is it? She is one of the few classical singers I can stomach; she's great!

snyprrr

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #68 on: August 12, 2009, 12:01:06 PM »
I used to have quite a few versions of the SQs. I remember the Carmina on Denon had a very broad and spacious reading in great sound, but I let them go and kept the Varsovia on Olympia, in very special sound (this is the cd with the Szymanowski family home on the cover, like the one pic on page 1 of this thread). I also have No.2 with the Wilanow (w/Penderecki & Meyer).

These two SQs are definitely second only to the Janacek SQs in terms of my all time...well, anyway... the 1st mvmts of both SQs are very ecstatic and swooning, with those stratospheric violin lines. I do find that the finales of both SQs don't really continue this Orphic swooning vein, and it is in the finales that I think Szymanowski could have found a little "more". For me, the "point" of Szymanowski is more more MORE!!!; and I just wish he would have gone all out on these two SQs. Either way, the 1st mvmts of both are great examples of the most ecstatic that "normal", non-Xenakis-y music can be. Kind of like Scriabin?

I would recommend the Carmina for the curious. Still, the Olympia is a great album, and so is the Wilanow.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #69 on: August 12, 2009, 02:51:21 PM »
I have the Symphony No.3 on Koch. I believe that soprano you like is on this version, the same singer that sings my fav version of Gorecki No.3 (also on Koch). This isn't the same version that you didn't like, is it? She is one of the few classical singers I can stomach; she's great!

The Koch has Woytowicz who is one of my favorite sopranos ever, and yes, her Gorecki 3rd is usurpassable. She does also sing in the version I don't like, but there the conductor is Rowicki. The Koch has Jerzy Maksymiuk, who is usually completely different (not to mention from a different generation). I'm guessing brisk tempos, lots of energy, momentum?

[EDIT: Just noticed the cover also lists Stanisław Wisłocki and Tadeusz Strugała. It's probably Strugała, isn't it? Well, no matter, not Rowicki anyway. And staring even closer I see you might mean Szostek not Woytowicz. Oh, well, we'll have to part ways here. She does have a sumptuous voice though. If only she really knew how to do something with it... ;D]
« Last Edit: August 12, 2009, 03:11:03 PM by Maciek »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #70 on: August 12, 2009, 02:57:48 PM »
You know that the 1st SQ is the first ever example of polytonal writing? Each clef notated in a different key, four different keys simultaneously.

Salome (the one by Strauss) has a dash bitonality here and there, and there's much more of it in Ravel and Stravinsky. Also one of Bartok's piano Bagatelles and on of Prokofiev's Sarcasms are openly bitonal (ie. notated in two different keys, one for each hand). But here was the first ever piece (or rather movement of a piece) with more than two different keys used simultaneously (polytonal as opposed to bitonal). And, as I say, it was perfectly open about it in the notation as well.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #71 on: August 12, 2009, 03:03:04 PM »
I think you're right, Janacek and Scriabin seem to be the closest to Szymanowski. At least if I were to explain to someone what Szymanowski's music is like. And still, they are completely different. Because, as you say, Szymanowski is about MORE. So Scriabin comes across as a sissy in comparison, more or less. :P Not to take anything away from Scriabin, of course, but Szymanowski goes much, much further in every respect conceivable (except maybe for using a clavier à lumières).

Offline Dax

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #72 on: August 13, 2009, 02:58:51 AM »
You know that the 1st SQ is the first ever example of polytonal writing? Each clef notated in a different key, four different keys simultaneously.

Salome (the one by Strauss) has a dash bitonality here and there, and there's much more of it in Ravel and Stravinsky. Also one of Bartok's piano Bagatelles and on of Prokofiev's Sarcasms are openly bitonal (ie. notated in two different keys, one for each hand). But here was the first ever piece (or rather movement of a piece) with more than two different keys used simultaneously (polytonal as opposed to bitonal). And, as I say, it was perfectly open about it in the notation as well.

Huh?

Maciek, have you never heard any Ives?

If the notation of a number of simultaneous key signatures is important (it isn't for polytonality) then have a shufti at Hallowe'en.

http://webtext.library.yale.edu/xml2html/music/ci-d.htm

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #73 on: August 13, 2009, 03:57:56 AM »
Ives? Ives? Ives? Must be that French composer a little bit like Saint-Saens...

Dang, you're absolutely right, of course. >:( But then, I was just thoughtlessly repeating stuff I read in Chylińska's mammoth monograph (and she's the last person I'd suspect of nationalistic megalomania). Thank goodness I never bought that book, I'd have to tear it up and burn it now. >:D Instead, I'll just carry it back to the library where it deserves to stay, locked up for ever and ever (it's far too boring to read anyway; I gave up back in April, having only got halfway through the first volume).

(Incidentally, I never said that simultaneous notation is necessary for polytonality - I just meant that it's more apparent in cases where it's used.)

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #74 on: August 13, 2009, 04:20:42 AM »
Oh, and BTW: thank you very much for setting me straight on this! 8)

snyprrr

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #75 on: August 13, 2009, 06:24:41 AM »
I'll have to listen to SQ 1 ASAP!

also, I do believe it's Stephanie W. in the Symphony. The cd also includes 2 choral/vocal pieces (Stabat Mater?, and ?), I think (it's in storage), so maybe that's the other sopr. I think S.W. has one of the smoothest voices I've ever heard; as I recall, it haaas to be her.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER CDS WITH Steph.W. SINGING?

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #76 on: August 13, 2009, 12:31:27 PM »
Yes, I really love that voice too, very special, much darker than your regular soprano.

Now that I've made a total ass of myself, I think I'd better abstain from recommending anything. But if you go here, you'll get a short list of her Polish CD recordings. I think the only significant one missing is her Halka (available on amazon from time to time, always for a pretty steep price - it's on Chant du Monde, so not strictly Polish but that's actually a re-release of a Polskie Nagrania LP set). I do have all of those except for the one with the hideous cover and the Halka (which I do have but on cassette).

Other than that, I don't know her discography very well. But can see on amazon that she has several Gorecki 3rds :o, as well as some Mahler under Abbado (hmm, could be nice, might make me change my mind about Mahler...), Dvorak's Stabat Mater under Smetacek, Britten's War Requiem under Giulini (hmm, another nice one!), and the Szymanowski disc you already have (I can see now she's in the Symphony and Stabat Mater). Oh, and also... TA-DAH!... Nono's complete works for solo tape (well, apparently not all that solo ;D) - now that's something, isn't it?

I believe she may be the only professional musician I have ever met in person. Well, not really met but my mom once gave her a lift back home after a concert at our school (you see, artists in communist Poland did not make much money, not even when they went abroad, because all the money went through a state "agency" and they only ever saw very little of it). Very nice person. She died in 2005.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 02:15:31 PM by Maciek »

Offline Dax

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #77 on: August 25, 2009, 12:24:28 AM »
Here  are some performances by John Ogdon broadcast in 1965. Ogdon on top form. The 3rd sonata in particular is staggering.

Métopes

1 - Wyspa syren (L'ile des sirenes) - http://www.sendspace.com/file/w8n5fx

2 - Kalipso (Calypso) - http://www.sendspace.com/file/jrikjm

3 - Nauzykaa (Nausicaa) - http://www.sendspace.com/file/ba3sew

3rd sonata - http://www.sendspace.com/file/666qjl
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 12:36:00 AM by Dax »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #78 on: August 25, 2009, 02:36:14 PM »
Fantastic! Thank you very much! 8)

Offline Dax

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Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
« Reply #79 on: December 14, 2009, 03:51:15 AM »
http://highponytail.blogspot.com/  is well worth some investigation. Amongst the goodies for download is Wanda Wilkomirska's performance of Mythes - and the Ravel Sonata.