GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Maciek on April 14, 2007, 01:51:14 AM

Title: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on April 14, 2007, 01:51:14 AM
(http://buwcd.buw.uw.edu.pl/sklep/skany/muz2_1.jpg) (http://www.polmic.pl/pliki/SzymanowskiKarol6.jpg) (http://www.polmic.pl/foto/SzymanowskiKarol1.jpg)
(Karol Szymanowski. A Life in Images ;))

A very good forum friend has asked me for some Szymanowski recommendations, so I decided it was time to restart this thread here.

Berfore I begin, let me point out this great composer's full name: Karol Maciej Szymanowski. ;) 8)

Also, let me salute Todd, who was the main promoter of this composer on the previous forum. He started no less than 3 topics there:
Król Roger (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,7536.0.html)
Sinae Lee Plays Szymanowski (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,12827.0.html)
Anderszewski Plays Szymanowski (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,3496.0.html)
(He has also already started a Szymanowski-related thread on this new forum: Potentially Good News for Szymanowski fans (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,196.0.html); EDIT another thread from Todd: Szymanowski's Songs (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2027.0.html); and I'd like to mention one of my own making: Polish Art Song - Chopin, Moniuszko, Karlowicz, Szymanowski and others (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,237.0.html))

And PefectWagnerite and Hammerklavier were right behind him, with 1 topic each:
Recommendations for Szymanowski's King Roger (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,13768.0.html)
Karol Szymanowski (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,1259.0.html)

Also, two of my Szymanowski uploads seem to be still available on rapidshare. They are both excellent, great, fantastic recordings, never released on CD (the first one is live, and mediocre sound quality). Snatch them up before they disappear!

Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 played by Wanda Wilkomirska:
[EDIT: link removed (file expired)]

Karol Szymanowski's Violin Sonata played by the legendary violinist Tadeusz Wroński (Wronski) and famous pianist Władysław Szpilman:
[EDIT: link removed (file expired)]

And now for a list of my favorite Szymanowski pieces:

Well, I love Król Roger (King Roger) best by far. It is my favorite opera, and I loved it even at a time when I couldn't abide opera. I don't have the words to describe my admiration for this piece - it's brilliant, a work of pure genius. One simply has to hear it!

I generally love all of Szymanowski's vocal writing, especially if it involves choir and/or orchestra (though his songs with piano accompaniment, and he has written a real lot of them, are usually wonderful too). Here two compositions are must-hears: Symphony No. 3 "Song of the Night" op. 27 (a masterpiece!), Stabat Mater op. 53 (number 2 on my favorite Szymanowski works list - another masterpiece!). And recently I have been completely infatuated with the six Kurpie Songs (as sung by the wonderful choir Camerata Silesia). Here I should also mention his great, energetic ballet Harnasie op. 55, which also involves quite a bit of singing. Other very worthwhile works in the vocal/orchestra genre: Love Songs of Hafiz op. 26, Demeter op. 37 bis, Litany to the Virgin Mary op. 59.

The orchestra works are another wonderful chapter of his writing. I already mentioned the 3rd Symphony. Symphony No. 4 (Sinfonia concertante) op. 60 for piano orchestra is another must-have (number 3 on my favorite Szymanowski works list ;)). The Symphony No. 2 op. 19 is an earlier work but the best of his "traditional" symphonies (ie. no solo piano or vocal parts ;)), and is considered by many the best work of this kind ever written in Poland. The two Violin Concertos (op. 35 and op. 61) are indispensable too. The 2nd gets played less often but it is just as good as the 1st.

He has also written some splendid violin and piano works. I especially like the Nocturne and Tarantella op. 28, and the Myths op. 30. And I should also mention his 2 String Quartets (op. 37 and op. 56) - fascinating, and quite unlike most of the quartets I've ever heard.

Finally, his solo piano music is quite fantastic, especially the Mazurkas (op. 50 and op. 62), a cycle called Metopes op. 29, and one called Masques op. 34.

This may seem like a lot, so I let me list what I think is indispensable (the order reflects my current feelings but I'm sure others would have a different one):
King Roger
Stabat Mater
Symphony No. 4
both Violin Concertos
Kurpie Songs
Symphony No. 3
the piano Mazurkas
Myths op. 30 for violin and piano
Harnasie op. 55

As for recordings, I'd especially recommend what has been released by CD Accord (excellent Violin Concertos with Kaja Danczowska, great violin and piano disc with Krzysztof Bąkowski, and my favorite recording of Król Roger) and Polskie Nagrania (most of their 6 volume set is OOP, but the Stabat Mater/3rd Symphony with Stefania Woytowicz and solo piano discs are still available).

I'm sure others will have many interesting things to say and many more great recordings to recommend...

Cheers,
Maciek

(http://buwcd.buw.uw.edu.pl/sklep/skany/muz2_3.jpg)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: edward on April 14, 2007, 03:39:49 AM
Szymanowski's definitely one of my favourite early-20th-century composers, particularly in the works where the influence of goral folk music is a key element (ie: most of the later ones). In particular, his choral writing is absolutely outstanding.

Did you say excellent Violin Concertos with Kaja Danczowska? I adore her and Zimerman in Mythes, so there's one for the wishlist straight away.

My list of favourite Szymanowski is much the same as yours, except that I would definitely put Litany to the Virgin Mary at or near the very top of the list.

I've been interested for a while in improving my coverage of the orchestral song cycles: I have the Naxos (ex-Marco Polo) recording only, and would like alternatives in Love Songs of Hafiz, Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin and Songs of a Fairytale Princess, not to mention any recording of the orchestral Slopwenie.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on April 14, 2007, 03:45:31 AM
Did you say excellent Violin Concertos with Kaja Danczowska?

Yes I did. :) Here's the cover:

(http://www.cdaccord.com.pl/images/covers/026.jpg)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Robert on April 14, 2007, 07:27:33 AM


Thank you very much for this information....I guess you feel his string quartets is not one of his strong suits...

Robert
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on April 14, 2007, 09:12:45 AM
Actually, on second thought I think I should have included the 2nd String Quartet in the essentials! Hmm, somewhere around the Mazurkas, I think...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on April 14, 2007, 10:52:37 AM
The 1st String Quartet, on the other hand, I find a bit... oversaturated...? I'm always exhausted after listening to the first movement! Great piece but very tiring (IMHO).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Robert on April 14, 2007, 11:08:08 AM
Yes I did. :) Here's the cover:

(http://www.cdaccord.com.pl/images/covers/026.jpg)

On its way...Thank you Archiv music...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on June 03, 2007, 01:41:52 AM
André asked me about 3rd Symphony recordings yesterday. Here are two live performances recorded from webcasts. Don't remember how I recorded them exactly but sound is far from perfect (especially in the first one).

Karol Szymanowski Symphony No. 3 op. 27 "Song of the Night" for tenor/soprano, mixed choir and orchestra.

These two recordings are sung by sopranos which was Szymanowski's second choice. Unfortunately, for some reason tenors sing this piece much less often... :'( I feel tenor voice brings a lot of sensuality into the music and also blends in with the color of the orchestra much better. A soprano can be sensuous too, of course, but in a different way. And it tends to stand out from the texture a bit. But there are pros for soprano too...

1.
Iwona Sobotka soprano
National Philharmonic Choir
Sinfonia Varsovia
Jerzy Maksymiuk

EDIT: link removed

File-Size: 25,81 Mb

2.
Anna Lubanska soprano
Polish Radio Choir + Camerata Silesia
PNRSO
Kazimierz Kord

EDIT: link removed

File-Size: 41,96 Mb

Maciek
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Todd on June 04, 2007, 04:01:30 AM
I've not yet heard Song of the Night with anything other than a tenor.  Now I'm intrigued - must investigate further.  Thanks, MrOsa.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SonicMan46 on June 04, 2007, 07:46:13 AM
Maciek - thanks for re-starting a thread on this composer - I already have just over a half dozen discs of his works (nearly all instrumental except for the Stabat Mater), but I was curious about obtaining some more solo piano works - have 2 Naxos discs w/ Roscoe Martin, but just saw this Nimbus offering below on 4 CDs w/ Martin Jones - good price at the Marketplace; so for all, just wondering what the thoughts might be on this set - thanks.  :D

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RX8ASA82L._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Todd on June 04, 2007, 07:50:05 AM
but just saw this Nimbus offering below on 4 CDs w/ Martin Jones - good price at the Marketplace; so for all, just wondering what the thoughts might be on this set - thanks.


It's a reasoanbly good set, but the sound leaves something to be desired.  It's got that Nimbus ultra-resonant sound.

Better than either Martin is Sinae Lee (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,12827.0.html).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SonicMan46 on June 04, 2007, 08:02:32 AM
It's a reasoanbly good set, but the sound leaves something to be desired.  It's got that Nimbus ultra-resonant sound.

Better than either Martin is Sinae Lee (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,12827.0.html).

Todd - thanks for the link - don't know how I had missed that one - will certainly put her on my wish list!  :D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on June 04, 2007, 10:32:47 AM
I've not yet heard Song of the Night with anything other than a tenor.

Well, good for you, Todd! The score I have reads "for tenor, choir and orchestra". No mention of soprano. Yet almost all of the recordings I've ever heard featured soprano instead of tenor. In fact, I've only heard the Symphony performed by a tenor twice, and these were both live performances! And the difference (at least for me) is striking - the music really fits a tenor better. Though I'm not really orthodox in that matter - I feel some of the soprano performances are also excellent.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on June 04, 2007, 10:35:03 AM
Maciek - thanks for re-starting a thread on this composer - I already have just over a half dozen discs of his works (nearly all instrumental except for the Stabat Mater)

Thanks, Dave. Do check out the 2 radio recordings I linked to in my first post. The Wilkomirska is in poor sound but the Wronski is better, and the performance itself is striking - the most exciting reading of the Sonata I've heard so far.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 10:36:08 AM
The 1st String Quartet, on the other hand, I find a bit... oversaturated...? I'm always exhausted after listening to the first movement! Great piece but very tiring (IMHO).

Don't know the quartet, and so I cannot speak to it, specifically.

But there are certainly works from the last quarter of the 19th century, and first quarter of the twentieth, which (whether or not I like them, and I just may) are an exhausting listen.

Heck, I'd say that of Moses und Aron.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on June 04, 2007, 10:40:55 AM
there are certainly works from the last quarter of the 19th century, and first quarter of the twentieth, which (whether or not I like them, and I just may) are an exhausting listen.

Yeah, it's very much a thing of those times - the way the music is often so intense and sensuous, it tends to become a bit too much for some listeners (such as myself ;D).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on June 05, 2007, 02:49:52 AM
Fascinating. I read the introduction to the score yesterday - no mention of a soprano. I looked through the notes - same thing. However, the first page of the score contains instructions (from the composer) on performing the piece without the chorus! (Some of the bars should be left out.) So now I'm wondering: at what point exactly did Szymanowski allow a soprano to be used?

Re Szymanowski's piano pieces, has anyone heard this set?
(http://www.merlin.com.pl/images/27/5567032.jpg)
(http://www.polskieradio.pl/_admin/cm/cf/_photoMainAlbum/szymanowski1.jpg)
PR CD 111-114
Jerzy Godziszewski - Karol Szymanowski complete piano works (4 CDs)

This was released in 1997 or 98 and, according to info I found on the internet, 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)?

Maciek
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: johnQpublic on June 05, 2007, 03:34:15 AM
However, the first page of the score contains instructions (from the composer) on performing the piece without the chorus! (Some of the bars should be left out.)

I can sympathize with a composer who thinks about practicalities to produce more performances,  but I really can't envision ever wanting to hear this sympony sans chorus. They add so much heady perfume to the score.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SonicMan46 on June 30, 2007, 11:50:11 AM

It's a reasoanbly good set, but the sound leaves something to be desired.  It's got that Nimbus ultra-resonant sound.

Better than either Martin is Sinae Lee (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,12827.0.html).

Todd - thanks for the recommendation above, i.e. the 4-CD Sinae Lee set - shown below - follow Todd's link above for his own extensive & excellent review of this compilation; can't say that I like all of Szymanowski's piano writing (it is quite varied, somewhat like I've found w/ Bartok, at least for my ears), but these are certainly performed & recorded superbly by a pianist whose PhD work is specifically on this composer's piano music - hard to beat that combo!  :D

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/310Q3V99EKL._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on July 19, 2007, 02:14:10 PM
From a concert that took place on June 20th in Dresden:

An interesting interpretation. Though if you ask me, there it's far too "objective", without the mad passion this music requires.

Karol Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 1
Christian Tetzlaff
Philharmonic Orchestra of Helsinki
Leif Segerstam

DownloadLink: http://rapidshare.com/files/43891820/Szymanowski_Karol_I_Koncert_skrzypcowy_op_35_OF_w_Helsinkach_Christian_Tetzlaff_Leif_Segerstam.mp3 (http://rapidshare.com/files/43891820/Szymanowski_Karol_I_Koncert_skrzypcowy_op_35_OF_w_Helsinkach_Christian_Tetzlaff_Leif_Segerstam.mp3)
File-Size: 35,40 MB
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: edward on July 19, 2007, 06:11:19 PM
Thanks for that: I enjoyed the performance, but then again Tetzlaff is one of my favourite violinists.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on August 07, 2007, 03:30:51 PM
A friend of mine asked if the King Roger libretto was available anywhere on-line, so I figured I'd post the link over here too, in case others have a similar need.

The Polish original:
http://www.trubadur.pl/Indeks/bib/Roger.html (http://www.trubadur.pl/Indeks/bib/Roger.html)

An English translation (haven't read it, so can't vouch for the quality):
http://duszenko.northern.edu/szymanowski/index.html (http://duszenko.northern.edu/szymanowski/index.html)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: beclemund on August 07, 2007, 05:40:49 PM
I just had my first exposure to Szymanowski last week in this recording:

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v444/beclemund/SzymanowskiKingRogerKaspszyr.gif)

I will have to explore more, so thanks for that thread starting post, Maciek--some great information in that.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on August 25, 2007, 10:16:23 AM
Karol Szymanowski
Symphony No. 4 "Concertante" for piano and orchestra op. 60 (1932)
A mon ami Arthur Rubinstein

performers:
Bogdan Czapiewski, piano
Belgian Radio SO
Alfred Walter, conductor
live recording from, I think, 1985

http://www.mediafire.com/?fzdzsjmryyx (http://www.mediafire.com/?fzdzsjmryyx)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Brewski on September 13, 2007, 08:24:32 AM
Just got word of a very interesting Szymanowski concert on October 13 here in New York, with the following program:

Hanna Lachert, violin
Edyta Kulczak, mezzo-soprano
Anna Kijanowska, piano
Penderecki String Quartet

Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 9
Kurpian Songs
Three Davidow Songs
Mazurkas (for piano, selection TBA)
String Quartet #1
String Quartet #2

More information on the Kosciuskzo Foundation's website,  here. (http://www.kosciuszkofoundation.org/EV_Oct07_13.asp)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on September 13, 2007, 08:37:29 AM
Thanks for the link. I like the photo of Szymanowski they used (a fairly popular one in print but somehow I haven't seen it on the internet lately)...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: pjme on September 13, 2007, 08:40:22 AM
Ah! what can I add? Only praise! he's one of those composers that makes me weak and then...I want to start composing and singing myself.....It is in the quality of the melodies, the wonderful harmonies....invention, mystery!

Dutch Opera ( De Nederlandse opera/Amsterdam)did a very weak ( visually) Krol Roger in 2000. Good singing & excellent orchestra (THe Residentie Orchestra :The Hague/ Hartmut Haenchen). Silly staging & sets , flat characters ( Johannes Schaaf director)....James Johnson as Roger and Brigitte Hahn as Roxana.

The Stabat Mater worked very well in Antwerp's restaured cathedral - all Belgian/Antwerp artists - great performance in a luminous surounding!

Peter
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on September 13, 2007, 08:43:34 AM
The Stabat Mater worked very well in Antwerp's restaured cathedral - all Belgian/Antwerp artists - great performance in a luminous surounding!

Sounds like a great musical and visual experience! :D 8)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Brewski on September 13, 2007, 08:47:41 AM
That Stabat Mater does sound great in that setting!  Now if only the Met would consider mounting a production of Krol Roger...maybe in the Peter Gelb era there is hope.  8)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on September 24, 2007, 02:51:19 AM
Great news for Szymanowski fans! (http://www.pwa.gov.pl/en/home/2/news/0/311/index.html) King Roger on DVD coming out this Saturday!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on October 10, 2007, 03:20:49 AM
From this concert:
10th Music Festival of the Polish Radio "Szymanowski's Near and Distant Worlds"
Final concert: "Around Dionysus" (October 7th 2007)
Witold Lutosławski Concert Hall in Warsaw

Karol Szymanowski - Demeter op. 37bis
Jadwiga Rappé, alto
Polish Radio Choir
Polish Radio Orchestra
Lukasz Borowicz, conductor
http://www.mediafire.com/?3i029m2z2yh (http://www.mediafire.com/?3i029m2z2yh)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on October 13, 2007, 02:15:20 PM
More from the same concert:

Karol Szymanowski - Pentezilea op. 18 - words by Stanisław Wyspiański (from his play Achilleis)
Izabella Kłosińska soprano
Polish Radio Orchestra
Łukasz Borowicz conductor
http://www.mediafire.com/?0gl1kynh32n (http://www.mediafire.com/?0gl1kynh32n)

This piece was performed twice during the concert: it was the first item of the program but then it was repeated again at the end as an encore. This here is that second performance (the first didn't record properly).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on October 13, 2007, 02:35:42 PM
I've saved the best for last. Last item from that concert (or two items, actually): the world premiere of Szymanowski's Agawe. This, together with Demeter, was supposed to form a cantata diptych for alto. But Szymanowski completed only the second part, that is Demeter. He did however leave very detailed sketches for Agawe. OK, in fact he left a draft of the score with only a few "holes" in it. This is actually written for soprano (he wrote down alto, and then crossed it out).

Until this concert no one ever attempted to perform the piece. Now it has been given two performances - in two different reconstructions/orchestrations. The first version was done by the Polish composer Piotr Moss (a commission from the festival). Only when the program of the whole festival was already prepared did it come to the organizers' attention that the British musicologist Malcolm Hill had recently completed a version of his own. So that was included into the program too. Both versions were performed during the concert side by side (interspersed by Demeter).

Enough of the introduction, here are the recordings:

Karol Szymanowski (orchestration/reconstruction by Piotr Moss) Agawe op. 38 cantata for soprano, female choir and orchestra, text by Zofia Szymanowska
Izabella Kłosińska soprano
Polish Radio Choir (altos and sopranos)
Polish Radio Orchestra
Łukasz Borowicz conductor
http://www.mediafire.com/?6adymcj4cnn (http://www.mediafire.com/?6adymcj4cnn)

Karol Szymanowski (orchestration/reconstruction by Malcolm Hill) Agawe op. 38 cantata for soprano, female choir and orchestra, text by Zofia Szymanowska
Izabella Kłosińska soprano
Polish Radio Choir (altos and sopranos)
Polish Radio Orchestra
Łukasz Borowicz conductor
http://www.mediafire.com/?d71jelzamh6 (http://www.mediafire.com/?d71jelzamh6)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on October 13, 2007, 02:41:48 PM
And to round off your Szymanowski cantata collection (if you have one - well, now you do ;D), here's something from another recent concert (October 12th 2007, the PRNSO's 2007/08 season inaugural concert held at the St. Peter and Paul's Church in Katowice):

Karol Szymanowski - Litany to the Virgin Mary op. 59 for soprano, female choir and orchestra
Iwona Hossa soprano
Polish Radio Choir in Cracow
Silesian Philharmonic Choir
Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra
Krzysztof Penderecki conductor

1st Movement - http://www.mediafire.com/?51bksq2ljc5 (http://www.mediafire.com/?51bksq2ljc5)
2nd Movement - http://www.mediafire.com/?b2dkbp3citt (http://www.mediafire.com/?b2dkbp3citt)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 15, 2007, 11:27:59 AM
Don't know how managed to miss this. Hagith seems to have come out on DVD a couple of months ago (or maybe more recently - but not more than a couple of months... 0:)). Anyone heard this?

(http://merlin.pl/images_big/30/DUX5898.jpg) (http://merlin.pl/frontend/browse/product/4,573992.html)

DUX 5898A19294

Hagith WIOLETTA CHODOWICZ
Stary Król / Old King TARAS IVANIV
Młody Król / Young King ADAM ZDUNIKOWSKI
Arcykapłan / High Priest WIKTOR GORELIKOW
Lekarz / Medic MACIEJ KRZYSZTYNIAK

Orchestra and chorus of the Wrocław Opera
Conductor TOMASZ SZREDER

Producers

Musical direction TOMASZ SZREDER
Stage direction MICHAŁ ZNANIECKI
Set designs RYSZARD KAJA
Chorus master MAŁGORZATA ORAWSKA
Lights BOGUMIŁ PALEWICZ
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on January 04, 2008, 09:03:02 AM
Great news for Szymanowski fans! (http://www.pwa.gov.pl/en/home/2/news/0/311/index.html) King Roger on DVD coming out this Saturday!

Ha ha ha! January 2008 and it still hasn't come out!

BUT today I glimpsed this image in one of the internet stores. Apparently the cover is ready - hopefully soon the whole thing will be available:
(http://www.traffic-club.pl/product_images/1//front//245146.jpg) (http://www.traffic-club.pl/sklep/muzyka_show/id_product/245146.html)
Though, to be frank, that cover somehow doesn't stimulate the sort of anxiety I would have wished for... ::) But then I'm not exactly a fan of Mariusz Treliński's (the stage director's) work. It immediately reminds me of a recent review from a theatre festival where the reviewer complained that modern theatre consists primarily of mass-produced, thoughtless, avantgarde-looking pulp which in reality has absolutely nothing to do with avantgarde since it is essentially a lot stale, recycled ideas put together in a more or less automatic way... :-\
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: BachQ on January 04, 2008, 11:58:51 AM
I wish we had a thread dedicated to Szymanowski's operas ........ perhaps a 3-in-1 thread ........
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on January 04, 2008, 12:09:50 PM
Oh, but who would be so brave as to start such a thread? Or who would be mad enough? No, no, you wish in vain! For it is clearly impossible that such a thread could ever exist!
Title: Re: Szymanowski's novel "Ephebos"
Post by: Sydney Grew on January 05, 2008, 01:19:39 AM
What a fine group of photographs there in the first message of Mr. Maciek! We have not previously seen several of them and have saved them to our hard drive for easy reference.

Szymanowski was not only a first-rater among European composers - many Members have already helped to tell us why - but he was also one of the most prominent among the European homo-sexualists of his day. Indeed his First Violin Concerto is one of the first - and still one of the best - examples of music inspired by and expressing the spirit of that movement.

But to-day we wish to discuss not so much his music as his homo-sexualistic novel, completed in 1919, at a time when he felt unable to compose. It bore the title "Efebos," which is usually translated into English as "The Ephebe," but it may possibly mean "The Ephebic" or even "Ephebeity" if we may be permitted to coin that word.

According to Grove, the subject of the novel is "erotic love, and especially a love which is independent of all norms of public opinion." Grove adds that "the ephebe, as Teresa Chylinska observed, with a sensual mouth, long curls, falling on both sides of his delicate and beautiful young face, was the prototype for the Shepherd in the great opera King Roger."

Well! All that leads us to wonder where this interesting novel is now. All Grove deigns to tell us is that "only fragments survive." So let us investigate elsewhere.

The admirable Norman Lebrecht tells us more. The novel, he says, was "in two volumes." It told of a "prince who is seduced at school and emerges into gay Parisian society. It took Szymanowski two years to write, and he left it to a cousin to publish after his mother's death. It perished in the German invasion of Warsaw."

Yet that seems by no means to be the whole story. If we turn to volume one of the superb compilation "Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History - from Antiquity to World War II," and in particular to the article on Szymanowski written therein by Graeme Skinner, we read that "The novel Efebos recalled Szymanowski's own visits to Italy in the travels and homosexual romances of his central character, Prince Ali Lowicki. Never published, the novel was thought to have been lost during World War II. However, an account of the plot was published by Szymanowski's cousin and collaborator on King Roger and the Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin, the poet Jaroslav Iwaszkiewicz, in 1947, and a fragment was published by Teresz Chylinska in 1981." (She must be the same lady whom Grove mentions in passing.) C. Palmer in 1983 reported a further hundred and fifty pages discovered in Paris "in Russian translation."

A hundred and fifty pages is indeed a considerable chunk - half the size of an average novel. We wondered whether this had ever been translated into English, and so as a last resort we turned to the Wiki business on the Internet. There we find that Szymanowski thought the matter of his novel "very important and very beautiful." Indeed we are already aware of that. But again a fact new to us pops up - a German translation of "one chapter" was published in 1993 under the title "Das Gastmahl" (the Symposium). We also read that it was Szymanowski himself who presented those hundred and fifty pages to his young friend Boris Kochno, in whose estate they were discovered in 1981. Their central argument, we are told, is the perennial one of the relationship between the Apollonian and the Dionysian, with which King Roger too is concerned.

So what is really going on? This renowned novel, completed in 1919, which we have never read, seems still somehow to be a work in progress. We long to discover more! Where, for instance, is that "Russian translation" now? Every newly-recovered page must must it not throw considerable new light on the great man's music.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Sydney Grew on January 05, 2008, 02:22:24 AM
From this concert:
10th Music Festival of the Polish Radio "Szymanowski's Near and Distant Worlds"
Final concert: "Around Dionysus" (October 7th 2007)
Witold Lutosławski Concert Hall in Warsaw

Karol Szymanowski - Demeter op. 37bis
Jadwiga Rappé, alto
Polish Radio Choir
Polish Radio Orchestra
Lukasz Borowicz, conductor
http://www.mediafire.com/?3i029m2z2yh (http://www.mediafire.com/?3i029m2z2yh)

Thank you Mr. Maciek, but I cannot access the file. It says that my "user identity is invalid"! What am I doing wrong, and how is it supposed to work? (I always use the Opera browser by the way.)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on January 05, 2008, 03:11:56 AM
I'm afraid I can't add much to the info you admirably managed to dig up. Szymanowski wrote a lengthy novel. His cousin, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (incidentally, a man incomparably more famous in Poland than Szymanowski and also a homosexual) kept the manuscript in his apartment in Warsaw. The manuscript (along with everything else, and that means many other manuscripts by both Iwaszkiewicz and other writers) burned down with the house. However, it later transpired that Szymanowski had given a Russian translation of a large part of the book to his 15-year old lover (? - possibly just friend), the dancer Boris Kochno - this translation was of Szymanowski's own making. It survived. What also survived is a detailed synopsis written by Iwaszkiewicz. This Russian translation (along with a translation back to Polish) was published in 1989 in the 2nd vol. of the Polish edition of Szymanowski's complete writings (this volume contains also 13 other pieces of Szymanowski's forays into literature). The German edition came later. I'm not aware of editions in any other language. The book itself is not of any great literary value - it is rather standard fare of its times, without much originality. Its main value lies in the fact that it was written by Szymanowski and supposedly describes some of his life and/or spiritual experiences.

As for your Mediafire problem: two possible solutions. 1. When the mediafire error page loads, try reloading the page (press F5). 2. If that doesn't work, you might have something wrong in your cookie settings. When the malfunctioning page loads, press F12, go to the site settings and enable everything you can in the cookie settings. Then try reloading the page again (F5). Please report back - I use Opera too and am not experiencing the problem, I'm sure there's a workaround!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on January 05, 2008, 03:14:15 AM
Oh, and it is Grove that has the Polish musicologist's name right! It is Teresa Chylińska (or Chylinska without the diacriticals) - Poland's leading authority on Szymanowski (editor of his complete letters and other writings).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Sydney Grew on January 05, 2008, 05:51:10 AM
. . . This Russian translation (along with a translation back to Polish) was published in 1989 in the 2nd vol. of the Polish edition of Szymanowski's complete writings (this volume contains also 13 other pieces of Szymanowski's forays into literature). The German edition came later. I'm not aware of editions in any other language. The book itself is not of any great literary value - it is rather standard fare of its times, without much originality. Its main value lies in the fact that it was written by Szymanowski and supposedly describes some of his life and/or spiritual experiences.

As for your Mediafire problem: two possible solutions. 1. When the mediafire error page loads, try reloading the page (press F5). 2. If that doesn't work, you might have something wrong in your cookie settings. When the malfunctioning page loads, press F12, go to the site settings and enable everything you can in the cookie settings. Then try reloading the page again (F5). Please report back - I use Opera too and am not experiencing the problem, I'm sure there's a workaround!
Thank you so much Mr. Maciek - firstly for all the information, and secondly for the two Agawe versions, which I look forward to comparing in some detail. The mediafire business is now working - I noticed a browse button there which I had not seen before, and after pressing that, and ticking a little box next to the wanted item, the error messages no longer occur. (They still happen for some as yet unknown reason if I don't press browse first.)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: rubio on February 23, 2008, 09:31:07 AM
Which are the best performances of Symphony no. 3 "Song of the Night"?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on February 23, 2008, 11:43:04 AM
Ryszard Karczykowski under Dorati has no equal, in my humble opinion. 0:)

But there are very good alternatives out there (Ochman recorded it at least twice, there's also a nice soprano version with Woytowicz under Rowicki).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: rubio on February 23, 2008, 01:59:44 PM
Ryszard Karczykowski under Dorati has no equal, in my humble opinion. 0:)


Thank you very much for the recommendation, Maciek! I managed to track down a reasonably priced copy at Amazon.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: rubio on May 16, 2008, 02:34:21 AM
Ryszard Karczykowski under Dorati has no equal, in my humble opinion. 0:)

But there are very good alternatives out there (Ochman recorded it at least twice, there's also a nice soprano version with Woytowicz under Rowicki).

Is this Woytowicz under Rowicki?

http://www.polskienagrania.com.pl/pl.php?o=big&big=220

(http://www.polskienagrania.com.pl/okladki/220.jpg)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on May 16, 2008, 03:07:07 AM
Yes, it is. And check PM. ;)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: val on May 17, 2008, 12:15:42 AM
This CD presents the best Stabat Mater and a version of the 3rd Symphony even superior to Dorati.

But the surprise is a sublime Cantata, "Demeter" (only 7'), to me one of the most sublime works of Szymanowski. The interpretation, this time conducted by Wislocki, is perfect.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on June 12, 2008, 10:01:40 AM
I wanted to write a lengthy reply, backed up by audio clips and excerpts from the score. I still intend to do that but look how much time has passed already! It's been almost a month, and I still haven't had the time to prepare things. So for the time being a shorter post will have to suffice.

On almost all counts, I don't agree. >:D The only point where I do is your assessment of the Stabat Mater - this is indeed one of the best recordings (funnily enough, possibly the worst recording of the piece is also under Rowicki - but with a different set of soloists). The Liebert Litany on this disc is also excellent, BTW.

Now on to the symphony. I did mention this recording of the 3rd in my recommendations earlier on, but my sole reason was the voice of Stefania Woytowicz which I am very partial to. But the fact that this is a recording with a soprano, that fact alone - practically disqualifies it, since Szymanowski did not intend the part to be sung by a woman. Other than that, the interpretation itself is, IMO, one of the poorest available, and certainly can't stand comparison to Dorati's version.

Szymanowski's orchestration, especially in this period, is not exactly famous for being clear and orderly, and most conductors complain about it. Rowicki, together with his orchestra, manages to muddle it even more - at times, the piece sounds almost aleatoric. Also, there is no sense of direction or form in this interpretation. It is a series of small, chaotic bursts of energy with absolutely no unifying principle - it seems to me as if these were just random sounds floating about in a disorganized space of noise. There is no sense of development, no single line of thought - everything is disjointed and chaotic. Dorati's interpretation, on the other hand, while retaining all the color, is very clear in terms of form and development: you can easily discern the development of musical ideas, it all makes sense, from start to finish. So the only redeeming feature of the Rowicki is, for me, the presence Woytowicz - which is a very strong argument in my book, and on that count alone I don't intend to ever part with this recording (not to mention the superb Stabat Mater). But as a way to get acquainted with this symphony... no, certainly not.  :-\

Now, your mentioning of the recording of Demeter as "perfect" seems even more odd. How many other versions of Demeter have you heard? This is easily the worst Demeter there is out there :o, for the most part because of Szostek-Radkowa's terrible, terrible singing. :'( I have about half a dozen more of her recordings and the problem is always the same: the woman perpetually ignores the texts the music is set to. Her singing has nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing to do with them. It is very instructive (to me, at least) to compare her version with the one I posted earlier somewhere around here, with Jadwiga Rappe as the soloist. Now, Jadwiga Rappe hasn't got half the volume that Szostek has, so she is drowned out by the orchestra in the climax, and yet her interpretation is more successful on every imaginable level: it is absolutely shattering, the anguished mother's monologue expressing unforeseen depths of human despair. I could listen to it all day long. And yes, here I agree with you: I think that this, along with the Litany and Stabat Mater, is one of Szymanowski's greatest masterpieces. :D But on interpretation - I couldn't agree less! :-\

My feelings about all this are so strong because before writing my post I listened twice to all four recordings back to back, with score in hand, and was simply appalled by what Rowicki and Szostek-Radkowa do to the music.

Of course, everyone has their own ears and opinion, and that's what it comes down to in the end.

A side thought: many people believe that Szymanowski from the 1910s should be performed in a very "impressionistic" way - all color and no form. Because, they say, there really isn't much form there. I think interpretations such as Dorati's prove them completely wrong - the music is simply "difficult" but a great performer will manage to "tease the simplicity out of the complexity". ::) ;D

(Perhaps it was a good idea not to write a "lengthy" post after all... ;D)

[Edited to tone done what, in retrospect, seems like a very testy post - though I remembered trying to make it as neutral as possible. ???]
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: j.horowitz on November 23, 2008, 01:53:38 PM
This forum has a good tradition of providing users with hard-to-get and good music, so, may I ask... I'm in need of four Szymanowski songs:
1. Tak jestem smetny (Joyless I am)
2. W zaczarowanym lesie (In the enchanted forest)
3. Nade mna leci w szafir morza (Flying over me into the sapphire of the sea...)
4. Rycz burzo! (Roar, storm!)

...those are from 'Cztery piesni', (Four songs) op. 11, and can be found (as I was told) on fairly recent, 4 cd "Szymanowski: Complete Songs for Voice and Piano" release.
Anyone could help? My gratefulness will be overwhelming. ;-)

Thank you!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on November 23, 2008, 03:56:34 PM
I have more and more time for this composer..his style is quite unique. My favourite works are "The Song of the Night" and the "Stabat Mater", both hauntingly atmospheric.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on November 24, 2008, 08:41:47 AM
Rach 3 fanatic ;-)

But you and Kwoon (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?action=profile;u=753) are 2 different people, right??
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: j.horowitz on November 24, 2008, 11:13:54 AM
I have never seen this nickname before so I will go with: yes. Although I may have split personality without knowing it.  ;D  ;) But I guess that difference between Poland and Providence, RI, USA is well enough to testify. ;)

P.S.
Quote from: Kwoon
First, my 168th Rach 3

...and, all in all, I'm exclusively giving "Rach 3 fanatic" title to him, hands down! :)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on February 02, 2009, 06:04:54 AM
I've just discovered this thread (fairly new member) - a thousand thanks to Maciek for posting these recordings: I'm a long time Szymanowski enthusiast, but Agave is new to me although I have a facsimile of the score. Haven't heard the Dorati version of the 3rd symphony either. I must admit to being a heretic and preferring the version with soprano . . .
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on February 02, 2009, 09:34:08 AM
I possess a score of Jan Krenz's interesting-looking orchestration of the Masques - I understand he also orchestrated the Metopes. I assume these have been performed but probably not recorded (?). Has anybody heard either of them?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on February 02, 2009, 01:43:40 PM
Wow! You have that score! I didn't even know it had been published!

I've heard Krenz's Masques twice. The first time was live (at a Warsaw Autumn? I'm not sure) and I didn't like the orchestration very much. The second time was a live radio broadcast of a concert - and I loved it! Great piece of work, and incomparably richer (in terms of colour and... well, musical imagination) than Grzegorz Fitelberg's versions (of other Szymanowski pieces). But then Krenz is also a first rate composer! (Not to mention that he's my favorite Polish conductor, a great conductor and, obviously, one who really deserves to be known much, much better outside of Poland.)

(Oddly enough though, I think the first time, when I didn't like it so much, the piece was being conducted by the arranger himself, while the second time round the conductor was Jerzy Maksymiuk... ??? ;D)

I didn't know he also orchestrated the Metopes. Are you sure of that?

BTW, there's also a piano and orchestra version of Masques, arranged by Jerzy Fitelberg (the famous conductor's son).

BTW no. 2, IIRC Szymanowski's sister Stanisława sung in at least one performance of the 3rd, so obviously the composer did not dicard such a possibility (I didn't know about this yet when I mused on the subject earlier in this thread).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on February 02, 2009, 03:04:24 PM
The Krenz orchestration of Masques was published by PWM in 1996 - I found it in Krakow.
I think I must be mistaken about the Metopes: I could have sworn I saw a reference to it some years back, but can find nothing at the moment.

I've been much enjoying the versions of Agawe which you posted. First impressions were that probably neither really told the truth (Hill's orchestration seemed a little pre-1914 and Moss's slightly too exotically extreme) - but that's certainly not a reservation. Excellent work by both gentleman and really valuable to hear this piece! I've downloaded Krenz's concertino + look forward to listening to it.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on February 03, 2009, 07:30:45 AM
Be warned though, that the Concertino, spiffing work that it is, is not very typical Krenz. His typical idiom is much more "advanced" (for lack of a better word).

I agree: neither of the Agawe completions sound much like anything I could imagine Szymanowski writing. But it's wonderful that they came into being anyway. Now I wish someone would discover a forgotten copy of the manuscript of Szymanowski's Concertino for piano and orchestra (an unfinished work, written at the very end of his life, the manuscript did not survive the war)... ::) ;D :'(
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on February 03, 2009, 12:23:44 PM
Oh, agreed about the Szymanowski Concertino! But I was disappointed with the Krenz concertino. I'm having a much better time with Szeligowski's piano concerto right now. And Tadeusz Kassern was a new name to me - his concerto for soprano and orchestra could not have happened without mid-period Szymanowski. (Yes, I've been raiding your collection!).

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?
I'll come back to you on different versions of Demeter at some point. It's just the excuse I need to compare them.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek 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.

Quote
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... :-\

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

Hope you're enjoying it! :D

Quote
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... $:) ::)

Quote
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! :-\
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek 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.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Todd on March 30, 2009, 08:36:27 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KCvnxeyuL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


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.
Title: Szymanowski's "King Roger" in Paris - and you can watch it online
Post by: Brewski on July 08, 2009, 08:58:52 AM
Thanks to ionarts, here (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2009/07/king-roger-decapitated-in-paris.html) 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
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek 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?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on August 07, 2009, 07:16:29 AM
Over here (http://www.cso.org/main.taf?p=15,1,134) 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.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on August 09, 2009, 02:57:10 AM
Re Szymanowski's piano pieces, has anyone heard this set?
(http://www.merlin.com.pl/images/27/5567032.jpg)
(http://www.polskieradio.pl/_admin/cm/cf/_photoMainAlbum/szymanowski1.jpg)
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).

(http://www.empik.com/b/o/80/7f/807f9d0db38e50a0617ad360b3c1aad1.jpg)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr 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!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr 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.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek 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]
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek 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.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek 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).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax 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
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek 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.)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on August 13, 2009, 04:20:42 AM
Oh, and BTW: thank you very much for setting me straight on this! 8)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr 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?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek 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 (http://merlin.pl/stefania-woytowicz/browse/search/4,,1.html?phrase=stefania+woytowicz&section=4&place=0+simple&sort=rank&x=0&y=0), you'll get a short list of her Polish CD recordings. I think the only significant one missing is her Halka (available on amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Moniuszko-Halka-Stanislaw/dp/B000LQFU0S/) 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.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax 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
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on August 25, 2009, 02:36:14 PM
Fantastic! Thank you very much! 8)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax 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.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 14, 2009, 11:38:31 PM
Thanks again!

Has anyone heard Frank-Peter Zimmermann's Szymanowski + Britten disc yet?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 25, 2009, 11:20:09 AM
Maciej - your posts on this thread have been fantastic - enlightening and passionate in their advocacy - brilliant combination!

Have been having a major Szymanowski binge recently (violin concerto no.1 Symphony no.3, Demeter, Myths, Litany to the Virgin Mary, Stabat Mater, String Quartets,) - the sumtuous and ecstatic lyricism, the state of tension and release being almost simultaneous - is he the most erotically charged of all composers?

I was just wondering whether Hagith is good? I have heard it compared to Salome and Bluebeard which can only be a good thing! I adore Krol Roger and I'd love to hear this too.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 25, 2009, 01:50:17 PM
Thanks, Guido! I'm blushing... :-[

- is he the most erotically charged of all composers?

 ;D I think he is! ;D ;D

Quote
I was just wondering whether Hagith is good? I have heard it compared to Salome and Bluebeard which can only be a good thing! I adore Krol Roger and I'd love to hear this too.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... What was that?... Salome and Bluebeard? I agree - that could only be a good thing.

But personally I'm not much of a Hagith fan. One of the very few Szymanowski pieces I dislike. I guess Dax's link to a recording earlier in this thread (or somewhere else in the forum) doesn't work anymore (expired)... :(

Very happy (ecstatically happy) to see listeners far better musically educated and more astute than myself enjoying this composer.

BTW, Sean recently started another Szymanowski thread (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,15271.0.html) (it was supposed to be about the 1st Symphony but it sort of strayed... 0:))... (From me it's just the same thread-hijacking obsessed promotional drivel but, luckily, Sean and schweitzeralan managed to get in a word or two. :))
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on December 25, 2009, 09:24:15 PM
Does anyone have scores, or knowledge as to how S gets those strange harmonies? What are these erotic "chords", or what not? I mean, I hear it too, but I don't know the theory. In a way, doesn't Messiaen have a similar palette, but used in a completely different way? Ecstasy in service, rather than unbridled? The devil has the best tunes?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 26, 2009, 12:00:44 AM
I have a couple of the big orchestral scores, and there are many to be downloaded from IMSLP (http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Szymanowski,_Karol) (incl. SQ 1! ;) - BUT BLOCKED :'(). Essentially, as far as I can remember from what I've read (I'm not really up to doing that sort of thing myself), there isn't really any "normal" way to analyze them, since Szymanowski's mature music has only extremely tenuous links with tonality.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 26, 2009, 05:32:35 AM
Yes they sound ultra dissonant to me and saying its a D flat minor chord with added augmented fourth, minor sixth, major seventh, major 11th and minor 13th wouldn't really be that useful! As I said before, what I think is remarkable is the sense of tension and release being present simultaneously, the corruscating surface textures, the soaring violin lines, the luminous added note chords, the shifting web of harmony, the simultaneous gossamar delicacy and gargantuan movement all create tensions which are just so...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 26, 2009, 05:33:19 AM
...lubricious!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on December 26, 2009, 07:30:36 AM
Honestly, if I correlated S's soundworld to his filthy mind (what?, was he some kind of Tom of Finland?), I start to feel a bit oo-oo-oogey. Is this the sound of "manlove"? ...all those cooing sounds?

...eeeuuuuwww...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 26, 2009, 08:30:21 AM
Honestly, if I correlated S's soundworld to his filthy mind (what?, was he some kind of Tom of Finland?), I start to feel a bit oo-oo-oogey. Is this the sound of "manlove"? ...all those cooing sounds?

...eeeuuuuwww...

 I was aware that he was gay, but I wasn't aware that he was especially dirty - do spill the beans (so to speak obviously). Do I detect hints of homophobia in your post?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 26, 2009, 01:53:41 PM
You know, Sz's homosexuality isn't such a simple matter. 1. To me, the "eroticism" of his works is not exactly "sexual" (in a "carnal" sense), it's very sublimated; the lyricism, the unquenchable thirst, the desperate longing seem to be of a more universal, existential nature,  2. He did not "become" a homosexual until quite late in his life. If I remember correctly, at the beginning of WWI he was still quite a playboy, and on the lookout for a wife (his close friendships with Kochanski or Spiess, for example, were perfectly innocent). Perhaps to some extent Sz's homosexuality was a sort of philosophical (???) choice... (Something to do with a rather tenuous concept of "spiritual freedom" - I'm baffling myself here, but then he seems to have been a complicated person... It was also supposed to be the fruit of a "journey of self-discovery" - excuse the rather pedestrian phrase.) Frankly, though, I really don't care. ;D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 26, 2009, 01:54:28 PM
BTW, Guido, love your vocabulary etudes. ;D [Would that be a legitimate genre name?]
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on December 27, 2009, 07:11:57 AM
Hagith's nowhere near my favourite Szymanowski either. But here it is.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/8tfw41
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 27, 2009, 08:24:08 AM
BTW, Guido, love your vocabulary etudes. ;D [Would that be a legitimate genre name?]

Cheers! I try to be colourful and piquant in my choice of vocabulary (there's no more appropriate way to describe music and its effects in my opinion) without becoming turgid and prolix or worst of all sesquipidalian! (irony alert here!)

Quote
To me, the "eroticism" of his works is not exactly "sexual" (in a "carnal" sense), it's very sublimated; the lyricism, the unquenchable thirst, the desperate longing seem to be of a more universal, existential nature
I agree - it's not depicting the physical act, its the tension, ecstacy and longing of it.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 27, 2009, 09:22:09 AM
For anyone interested, there's a Hagith vocal score on IMSLP as well!

(Dave, do you think you could re-upload the John Ogdon Szymanowski program as well? :-*)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 27, 2009, 09:30:34 AM
Oh, and I forgot to mention one thing about the Wilkomirska blog Dax posted earlier: if you follow the link inside that blog, you can also find a download of Wilkomirska's legendary recording of Szymanowski's 1st VC, under Rowicki. [Conscientious downloaders might want to know that a different release of the Karlowicz VC recording also offered there is definitely still in print, though probably difficult to obtain outside of Poland.]
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on December 27, 2009, 10:42:01 AM
(Dave, do you think you could re-upload the John Ogdon Szymanowski program as well? :-*)

Certainly!

Metopes

1 - http://www.sendspace.com/file/pgfk1l

2 - http://www.sendspace.com/file/j35ton

3 - http://www.sendspace.com/file/vyuoyx

3rd sonata - http://www.sendspace.com/file/wg1a70
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 27, 2009, 12:15:52 PM
Thanks so much! 8)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on December 27, 2009, 03:37:50 PM
You know, Sz's homosexuality isn't such a simple matter. 1. To me, the "eroticism" of his works is not exactly "sexual" (in a "carnal" sense), it's very sublimated; the lyricism, the unquenchable thirst, the desperate longing seem to be of a more universal, existential nature,  2. He did not "become" a homosexual until quite late in his life. If I remember correctly, at the beginning of WWI he was still quite a playboy, and on the lookout for a wife (his close friendships with Kochanski or Spiess, for example, were perfectly innocent). Perhaps to some extent Sz's homosexuality was a sort of philosophical (???) choice... (Something to do with a rather tenuous concept of "spiritual freedom" - I'm baffling myself here, but then he seems to have been a complicated person... It was also supposed to be the fruit of a "journey of self-discovery" - excuse the rather pedestrian phrase.) Frankly, though, I really don't care. ;D


I can see that.

Do I detect hints of homophobia in your post?

You want  :-*, or  :P?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 27, 2009, 03:41:59 PM

I can see that.

You want  :-*, or  :P?

????
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 27, 2009, 03:42:36 PM
I hate the new smilies.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 27, 2009, 04:03:39 PM
You can get the old ones back by changing the set you use (to "Classic") in your profile ("Look and layout")!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 27, 2009, 04:08:45 PM
ahhhhhh! Much better!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on December 27, 2009, 04:38:26 PM
Thanks for all those files!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on December 27, 2009, 06:59:03 PM
They looove you! ;D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on December 31, 2009, 01:53:54 PM
Some more stuff to download:

The Second Symphony (live recording, Warsaw Philarmonic/Antoni Wit, 2002) (http://sandflyer-titb.blogspot.com/2009/05/karol-szymanowski-and-sergei.html)

String Quartet No. 2 (LP transfer, The Borodin Quartet!) (http://nealshistoricalcorner.blogspot.com/2009/03/karol-szymanowski-plays-two-mazurkas.html)

Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 26, 2010, 06:23:12 PM
I really like Szymanowski and he occupies a very interesting place in 20th Century classical music. Sadly, my Szymanowski collection is severely lacking. All I own is the Simon Rattle box set and a 2-CD set on EMI. This said, I adore Stabat Mater and Symphony No. 4 (Symphonie Concertante). I haven't heard much of his music at all, but I will be listening to the recordings I own and perhaps my next purchases will be Wit's recordings on Naxos with the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on July 30, 2010, 12:11:38 PM
So, still no feedback on the Frank Peter Zimmermman recording of the VCs? I heard it on the radio (the 2nd concerto) and thought it was pretty good.

Somehow I suspect there will be more comments on the upcoming Boulez disc, with Tetzlaff in the 1st Violin Concerto and Steve Davislim in the 3rd Symphony...

BTW, how weird is that, a 2-disc album where the second disc consists solely of interviews with the conductor (in 3 languages)?

I'm not the greatest fan of Boulez, but it's nice to see him turn his interests towards Szymanowski.

Due out on 6th September.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on July 30, 2010, 12:27:43 PM
Based on what I once heard Boulez say about Szymanowski (and because of his stature as a musical authority), I am a bit concerned about the content of the interviews on that second disc. Unless, of course, he has finally decided to check the dates.

For instance Szymanowski's against Bartok's. As in the following example, which I am taking from a site (http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=979 (http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=979)) which I found while browsing around for details for the above mentioned disc:

Quote
A similar strategy was evident in Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto. Boulez’s take on this composer, whose music he will be investigating further, is that of a synthesis between Ravel and Bartók.

It would be almost OK if the sentence I underlined was a sample of the author's own inventive powers. But the way it is worded, I suspect he is indirectly quoting Boulez himself (further down in the text there is evidence that he had indeed spoken with the conductor).

Now, the 1st violin concerto was completed in 1916, and I would really like to know which of Bartok's compositions Szymanowski was "synthesizing" here? And, well, this may sound petty, but I actually mean Bartok's pre-1916 compositions... :o ::)

But we'll see what the CD brings...

(Come to think of it, I'm curious which Ravel he could have in mind too. Hey, I'd be even willing to give him some slack on the dates here... 0:))

((I did notice that the semi-quoted sentence from Boulez does not specifically mention the violin concerto. So perhaps the author is disfiguring the conductor's intentions. Still, given the documented influence of Szymanowski on Bartok, and not the other way around, I'm a little worried... Not to say that Bartok didn't reciprocate the influencing at all. But I still think this is not right.))

(((Besides, for all I know the two pieces he has recorded are the only two he has conducted so far - after all, he "will be investigating" the music "further". So he seems to be saying that stuff about Ravel and Bartok based - mainly? - on two compositions completed by Szymanowski in 1916.)))

[Edited to add notes in brackets, double-brackets, and triple-brackets. Wheee!!! :D]
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2010, 12:59:48 PM
Maciek:


It will be interesting to hear what Boulez does with Szymanowski. I would be very interested in hearing him conduct Symphony No. 4 with maybe Krystian Zimerman on piano. That would be ideal since the two musicians have already worked together on the Ravel recording on DG.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on July 30, 2010, 01:12:30 PM
Judging by the concert reviews (and it seems that this DG release is actually a live recording?), Boulez's approach to the 3rd Symphony is similar to Dorati's. If that's indeed the case, I might yet become a Boulez fan... ;D

Zimerman and Boulez... They've also recorded one of the Bartok PCs, if I recall correctly (I have the disc, but where is it?). I remember that Zimerman was supposed to play the 4th Symphony in Poland during the Szymanowski year (not with Boulez, obviously), but I'm not sure if that was just a project or something that actually came to be. I wouldn't mind a disc of Szymanowski's solo piano music played by Zimerman either. Though, given the uncertain economic times, I'm not sure DG go for something like that.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on July 30, 2010, 01:19:14 PM
BTW, how weird is that, a 2-disc album where the second disc consists solely of interviews with the conductor (in 3 languages)?

Even weirder, though I only noticed it now (says a lot about my powers of observation), is the way they've set the text on the cover:
SONG OF THE NIGHT
SZYMANOWSKI
SYMPHONY NO. 3

Doesn't make much sense, unless they mean "Song of the Night" to be the title of the album...

?

Gee...

Well, the violin concerto is supposedly inspired by Miciński's poem "May Night", so that would maybe make some sense...

But since when do Boulez albums have titles? Isn't that typical for, er, I don't know - crossover stuff? And maybe song recitals. And "anthologies". OK, OK, so it does happen sometimes, OK, never mind. ;D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2010, 01:19:57 PM
Judging by the concert reviews (and it seems that this DG release is actually a live recording?), Boulez's approach to the 3rd Symphony is similar to Dorati's. If that's indeed the case, I might yet become a Boulez fan... ;D

Zimerman and Boulez... They've also recorded one of the Bartok PCs, if I recall correctly (I have the disc, but where is it?). I remember that Zimerman was supposed to play the 4th Symphony in Poland during the Szymanowski year (not with Boulez, obviously), but I'm not sure if that was just a project or something that actually came to be. I wouldn't mind a disc of Szymanowski's solo piano music played by Zimerman either. Though, given the uncertain economic times, I'm not sure DG go for something like that.


I have forgotten about the Bartok recording with Zimerman. Didn't he play the 3rd? I forget. I have the recording somewhere. I'll have to look it up.


Yes, I would very much like to hear Zimerman tackle some Szymanowski somewhere down the road. I'm not sure if Boulez will do a complete survey of Szymanowski or not, but let's hope he does as I would love to hear what he does with the Stabat Mater.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on July 30, 2010, 01:26:07 PM
Actually (and speaking of Bartok - because here it would make some sense 0:)), I would be really interested in hearing Boulez conduct Harnasie! Now that would be something.

But, frankly, anything post-WWI will do - all my favorites come from that period. ;D So, yeah, Stabat Mater (for example) would be great.

Or King Roger!!! :D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2010, 03:02:09 PM
Actually (and speaking of Bartok - because here it would make some sense 0:) ), I would be really interested in hearing Boulez conduct Harnasie! Now that would be something.

But, frankly, anything post-WWI will do - all my favorites come from that period. ;D So, yeah, Stabat Mater (for example) would be great.

Or King Roger!!! :D


Boulez could totally pull off Harnasie. I would love to hear that! :D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Drasko on July 31, 2010, 12:00:10 AM
I wouldn't mind a disc of Szymanowski's solo piano music played by Zimerman either. Though, given the uncertain economic times, I'm not sure DG go for something like that.

I wouldn't mind either, and I'm pretty sure DG would go for it, Zimerman hasn't recorded, or allowed for release anything for last 7 years (apart from that phantom Bacewicz disc, don't know where that got stuck but wouldn't surprise me if he refused to approve it for release at the last moment).

btw, how do you pronounce Z in Zimerman in Polish, plain z or ts like in German?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: CaramelJones on July 31, 2010, 04:43:55 AM
Quote
String Quartet No. 2 (LP transfer, The Borodin Quartet!)

Have you had a chance to hear the Varsovia String Quartet play this?

Their CD is superb.   Thanks for uploading the Borodin Quartet version too.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on July 31, 2010, 11:12:28 AM
(apart from that phantom Bacewicz disc, don't know where that got stuck but wouldn't surprise me if he refused to approve it for release at the last moment).

I think that's what might have happened - AFAIK all (or most) of the material had already been recorded!

Quote
btw, how do you pronounce Z in Zimerman in Polish, plain z or ts like in German?

ts

Have you had a chance to hear the Varsovia String Quartet play this?

Their CD is superb.   Thanks for uploading the Borodin Quartet version too.

Hi and welcome to the forum!

I'm not the one who uploaded the Borodins, I just found the place where they could be downloaded. ;D

I've never heard the Varsovia SQ recording, wasn't even aware of its existence. Thanks for the recommendation!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: CaramelJones on July 31, 2010, 01:33:01 PM
I'm sure those who haven't heard the fabulous Borodin version will be very pleased :D

The Varsovia String Quartet versions are the best I've heard - theirs came out about 30 years ago.  Only the Carmina Quartet come close (on a Denon release).  the Varsovia String Quartet won the European chamber award in 1981 or 1982 - fabulous recording for its age.  This also has some of the best couplings with Lutoslawski and Penderecki all on one disc.

I'm not happy with the modern versions.   The Maggini, the Szymanowski Quartet and the Royal String Quartet take it too slow and lose the shimmering line at the expense of deft phrasing. 

Of the older versions, the Silesian String Quartet is extremely well played but the recording is a bit soft.  The old Wilanow Quartet is worthwhile hunting for if you're looking for a LP version.


Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on July 31, 2010, 01:43:46 PM
Varsovia 4tet versions downloadable at the High Pony Tail

http://highponytail.blogspot.com/search?q=szymanowski
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on July 31, 2010, 11:07:26 PM
Wow, thanks! I seem to have stopped keeping track of that blog and that was clearly a mistake. ;D

BTW, the Wilanow recording of the first Szymanowski quartet was once available on CD, but now out of print, I'm sure.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: CaramelJones on August 01, 2010, 02:42:12 AM
BTW, the Wilanow recording of the first Szymanowski quartet was once available on CD, but now out of print, I'm sure.

All the legendary CD recordings and LP transfer versions of this vaunted quartet are sadly out of print.   The good thing is - there are a lot of people disposing of their second hand CDs and buying inferior MP3 digital files :D

- The Carmina Quartet; Silesian Quartet, Varsovia String Quartet, Wilanow Quartet recorded both Quartets 1&2. 

On the so-so modern picks, the Szymanowski Quartet, Royal Quartet, Maggini Quartet, Bacewicz Quartet, Pendereck Quartet record both as well.

It can really put you off if you hear an average rendition, like the Royal Quartet.  I find Szymanowski virtually unlistenable when the string quartet labours the music with detailed phrasing losing sight of the bigger picture.

Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on August 01, 2010, 12:07:59 PM
Wait a sec! I just realized I have Wilanów in the second as well (on CD). So they were both released on CD, though separately (the first as part of a Wilanow-play-Polish-20th-century-music compilation, the second as part of an all-Szymanowski disc).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: CaramelJones on August 02, 2010, 12:50:21 AM
Yeah that's right I think. 

They recorded one Szymanowski string quartet on a group of Polish string quartets (awful blue and gold cover) back in the LP/transfer to CD days, as well as a full Szymanowski CD.

The Wilanow Quartet are highly respected in Poland: they have a strong focus on modern Polish music.  Their recording of a Bacewicz String Quartet is a little painfully thin, but that is the limitations of the Polish recording studios over 30 years ago.  Until the Amar Corde Quartet complete cycle came out, that was one of the few versions of the Bacewicz Quartet available until the Penderecki Quartet played it in their compilation of Polish music. 

Seems like the market for this specialist string quartet stuff tends to hover around mass appeal and thus the interest in compiling CD releases with diverse material, rather than just concentrated material from one composer.   The exceptions are with big names, like Shostakovich or Bartok, who have a loyal following and so people expect to buy string quartet cycles in a box set, rather than just one CD with a piano trio or a violin sonata tacked on as a filler.

The Wilanow Quartet's interpretations of Wladyslaw Slowinski and Krysztof Meyer's string quartets are the best ones available at this time.  Incomplete ... but get them before the label goes bust and the CDs out of print  :(
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: abidoful on August 02, 2010, 10:42:42 PM
Do you guys know the recording of Neeme Järvi of the 2nd symphony? How is it- any worth....?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: abidoful on August 02, 2010, 10:49:54 PM
Sorry- I was mistaken; it was Okko Kamu who recorded it! :D With the Copenhagen Symphony Orchestra
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on September 19, 2010, 11:52:36 PM
Thanks for that post.
I've not seen a review which manages to compare it with any other version. But I don't know the Dorati account of the 3rd Symphony unfortunately.

Total music lasts less than 49 minutes and there's a "bonus" disc which features Pete giving three 15-16 minute interviews in English, French and German (why, pourquoi + warum?). And it's not cheap. Not at all.

The highest praise comes from Mr Kenyon in the Observer (UK newspaper for those who may not know):
Quote
Amazing. At 85, Boulez has already extended his magisterial coverage of 20th-century repertory to Janácek and now he the exotic, sensual music of Karol Szymanowski, making it sound utterly gorgeous but transparently clear. His partnership with Tetzlaff and the flexible Vienna Philharmonic is perfectly suited to the lavish orchestration of the First Violin Concerto with its dazzling cadenza and the oriental chromaticism of the choral Third Symphony is shaped and clarified. He seems to place these Szymanowski pieces of 1914-16 in a post-Ravel Daphnis, post-Stravinsky Firebird mainstream of impressionistic modernism. On a bonus CD, Boulez discusses the music, in three languages! Definitely a disc of the year.
Fact: the interview in English is by Andrew Clements. There's an Andrew Clements who writes on music in the Guardian. The Observer is the Sunday version of the Guardian.

Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: mjwal on September 20, 2010, 03:52:25 AM
They recorded one Szymanowski string quartet on a group of Polish string quartets (awful blue and gold cover) back in the LP/transfer to CD days, as well as a full Szymanowski CD.
The Wilanow Quartet are highly respected in Poland.
I have two recordings of Szym. Str. Qt #2 by the Wilanow: one on Aurora LP coupled w/Mythes - Kulka vln.(p. 1979) and the other on Schwann CD w/#1 and Mythes + Notturno e Tarantella - Gadzina vln. (p.1987).
I haven't listened to any Szymanowski for a while - the new Boulez recording sounds exciting and I may plunge back into this great composer's work. I well remember a time back in the 70s when I had just discovered Szym. for myself and bought the new edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (prduced in Chicago), a huge investment for me: imagine how amazed I was to find that Szym. was not included at all, while the baseball achievements of every piddling US team were chronicled in detail...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on September 20, 2010, 07:24:08 AM
All the legendary CD recordings and LP transfer versions of this vaunted quartet are sadly out of print.   The good thing is - there are a lot of people disposing of their second hand CDs and buying inferior MP3 digital files :D

- The Carmina Quartet; Silesian Quartet, Varsovia String Quartet, Wilanow Quartet recorded both Quartets 1&2. 

On the so-so modern picks, the Szymanowski Quartet, Royal Quartet, Maggini Quartet, Bacewicz Quartet, Pendereck Quartet record both as well.

It can really put you off if you hear an average rendition, like the Royal Quartet.  I find Szymanowski virtually unlistenable when the string quartet labours the music with detailed phrasing losing sight of the bigger picture.

I have the cd with the garish gold and green cover. Great, great cd. I believe there is some spacial element added to the Lutoslawski (members sitting farther apart than the rest of the recordings?). Check it out. And the Meyer is certainly a bonus.

The Carmina has the most "bestest" recording I think, with silvery smooth playing (reminding me of the Silesian's smooth group tone?).

AND THE VARSOVIA/olypmia cd (which comes in direct competition with the first disc) is also, apparently, a must. The sound quality is totally different than the other two, having a luminous, slightly distant recording that reminds me of Nimbus.

Out of the three, the Carmina didn't make the cut (budget issues), but, it's one of those cds I'd get again.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on September 20, 2010, 11:59:59 AM
Is 'The Song of the Night' (Symphony No 3) ever performed with a soprano soloist?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on September 20, 2010, 12:56:07 PM
Incorrect though it may be, I do prefer it with soprano - that register seems to sound better.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on September 20, 2010, 01:05:28 PM
It was intended to be sung by tenor but the composer approved of soprano performances, at least to the extent that he let his sister sing it. ;D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on September 20, 2010, 01:47:26 PM
How does one say Szymanowski correctly?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on September 20, 2010, 02:06:04 PM
Ha! Not sure if I can explain it in writing.

shi- (as in ship)
man- (no good analogue in English, so "man" will have to do)
off-skee
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 21, 2010, 06:20:55 PM
It's good to see that Szymanowski is getting some respect....finally! It's about time! I will definitely be acquiring Boulez's recording when it comes out. Hopefully, this will be the start of a complete cycle? I really hope so.
 
I would love to hear Boulez conduct Harnasie. That would be a killer performance no doubt about it. I would also like to hear the rest of the symphonies and choral works like his Stabat Mater. That would just be the icing on the cake. :)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Ciel_Rouge on September 27, 2010, 11:19:14 AM
Today I have seen the film by Wajda called Panny z Wilka (The Maidens of Wilko) and the soundtrack was... Szymanowski :) I liked it a lot, definitely worth further investigation, one of a relatively few 20th century composers that I like.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2010, 11:32:42 AM
Been digging my way through Wit's Symanowski recordings and they have proven to be excellent. I've already heard all of the Rattle set, which is really good, but it's good to hear different interpretations.
 
Anybody else here enjoy the Wit recordings?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 28, 2010, 12:30:17 PM
BUMP!!! :)
 
I've been listening to Boulez's new recording of Szymanowski and it is INCREDIBLY good. Man, this is so fantastic. The VPO sound so lush and sound like they are one with this music. Boulez has turned in a winner with this one. Also of note, Christian Tetzlaff, wow this guy can play!
 
I only hope that Boulez finishes a Szymanowski cycle. This recording is worth its weight in gold. The packaging is also just gorgeous. Great liner notes. This is a 2-CD set. The second CD has a 15-minute interview with Boulez discussing Szymanowski and also contains rehearsal excerpts.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: schweitzeralan on October 28, 2010, 06:29:47 PM
(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/BoulezSzymanowski.jpg)

There is a startling revelation in the interviews on CD-2, where Boulez says he first heard Szymanowski while a student in Lyon in 1942, a recital of Jacques Thibaud, who performed Mythes. Boulez was especially surprized by the first Mythe, "La Fontaine d'Arethuse," as surprised by Mythes as we was upon hearing for the first time the same year on the radio Stravinsky's Nightingale - until then Boulez's musical world was Mozart and Beethoven and Chopin and Liszt.

Boulez's first introduction to modern music, in other words, was through Szymanowski as well as Stravinsky! Under that circumstance, perhaps the surprising thing is that he did not perform him much earlier. In the interviews he confirms what I had read in another interview, namely, that he belatedly turned to performing Janacek and Szymanowki because he had grown stale on Stravinsky & Schoenberg and needed a break from them.

Boulez rates Szymanowski very highly & deplores he is so rarely performed  - indeed expresses exasperation that Shostakovich would be played so much more often: Boulez's repertoire may change, but not Boulez himself, lol.

"Song of the Night" is the subtitle of the Third Symphony - more specifically the title of the poem by the Islamic poet Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (1207-1273), upon which the symphony is based.

No doubt Boulez's recording should be the most important one since Rowicki and Dorati. His approach is slow and majestic. His legendary clarity is still there (as with Dorati), but with a smoothness and refinement I don't hear in Dorati. Albert Hosp, in his introduction to the booklet, says something very perceptive about Boulez's conducting style: "... it is precisely his clear, almost impassive gestures that allow Szymanowski's highly emotional languge to unfold." I had heard the same thing in New York last January, Boulez conducting the Adagio of Mahler's 10th Symphony, Mahler's emotivity, I felt, enhanced, not repressed, by Boulez's sobriety.

Boulez dissociates Szymanowski from Debussy, on the basis of Szymanowski's mysticism, when Debussy is not at all mystical, even when he is religious. But I still find that, musically, Szymanowski is still a little bit of an Impressionist - but an impressionism broad enough to include the Stravinsky of The Song of the Nightingale and the Bela Bartok of the Cantata Profane, as well as people like Andre Caplet or Jacques Ibert or Florent Schmitt.

The Debussy connection seems especially clear in the Choral parts of the Third Symphony and of the Stabat Mater which, like Bartok's Cantata and Andre Caplet's masterpiece, the Septet for vocal and Instrumental Chords, seem derived from the chorus in the third of Debussy's Nocturnes - Szymanowski bringing to the form a charm - in the magical sense of the word charm - as well as a psychological and imaginative depth, that are all his own and utterly original.

In his slow and deliberate manner Boulez in the climactic part of the Symphony attains a power that could provoke un bouleversement. A recording to get drunk on - or perhaps stoned, opium-like.

After hearing Szymanowski's first violin concerto, does one not cease to rue Debussy's failure to write a violin concerto? And also Scriabin's for all that matters.

There have been many significant postings on Szymanowski.  Several have stated that his music has changed and has evolved considerably since his early work.  Personally I like the impressionisrtic style and patterns. " Metopes" and " Myths" evince the technique, the harmony, nuance and subtle persuasions. Listeners are convinced that any or all musical works that suggest impressionist style or technique reflect undeniable Debussyian influences.  I beg to differ. Gliere's 'Sirens," or Roslavetz's "In the Hour of the New Moon," or Arthur Shepherd's Second Piano Sonata are not Debussyian; yet these works do suggest impressionistic "melange."
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 28, 2010, 08:14:51 PM
There have been many significant postings on Szymanowski.  Several have stated that his music has changed and has evolved considerably since his early work.  Personally I like the impressionisrtic style and patterns. " Metopes" and " Myths" evince the technique, the harmony, nuance and subtle persuasions. Listeners are convinced that any or all musical works that suggest impressionist style or technique reflect undeniable Debussyian influences.  I beg to differ. Gliere's 'Sirens," or Roslavetz's "In the Hour of the New Moon," or Arthur Shepherd's Second Piano Sonata are not Debussyian; yet these works do suggest impressionistic "melange."

I need to listen to the second disc of his Szymanowski recording as I'm interested why it took Boulez so long to record this great composer's music? It certainly is baffling especially considering how much Boulez likes his music.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on October 29, 2010, 01:56:23 AM
It was intended to be sung by tenor but the composer approved of soprano performances, at least to the extent that he let his sister sing it. ;D

Thank you. Does anyone know if there is a CD of the Symphony No 3 sung by a soprano soloist? I heard it as background music on a TV documentary (with soprano) and thought it better than with the tenor soloist.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on October 29, 2010, 02:17:35 AM
There are two that I'm aware of, there might be more. One is with Stefania Woytowicz and Warsaw Phil under Rowicki, the other is Izabela Kłosińska with Polish Radio SO under Kazimierz Kord (a complete symphonies twofer). Both of these are out of print, I'm afraid... :-\

(http://merlin.pl/Karol-Szymanowski-Vol-2-Stabat-Mater_Krystyna-Szczepanska-Andrzej-Hiolski-Orkiestra,images,13,PNCD063.jpg) (http://merlin.pl/4-Symfonie-4-Symphonies_Karol-Szymanowski-Orkiestra-Symfoniczna-Radia-Dunskiego,images,12,PRCD108182.jpg)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on October 29, 2010, 05:11:00 AM
There are two that I'm aware of, there might be more. One is with Stefania Woytowicz and Warsaw Phil under Rowicki, the other is Izabela Kłosińska with Polish Radio SO under Kazimierz Kord (a complete symphonies twofer). Both of these are out of print, I'm afraid... :-\

(http://merlin.pl/Karol-Szymanowski-Vol-2-Stabat-Mater_Krystyna-Szczepanska-Andrzej-Hiolski-Orkiestra,images,13,PNCD063.jpg) (http://merlin.pl/4-Symfonie-4-Symphonies_Karol-Szymanowski-Orkiestra-Symfoniczna-Radia-Dunskiego,images,12,PRCD108182.jpg)

Thanks very much.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Scarpia on October 29, 2010, 07:22:35 AM
I brought DVD up on another thread and it got a positive comment.  Any thoughts from the Szymanowski fanatics.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51mgMuFoPnL._SS400_.jpg)

I was considering the Boulez release, then I realized they are charging for a full-price 2CD set when only the first CD contains music.  No thank!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 29, 2010, 06:56:38 PM
I was considering the Boulez release, then I realized they are charging for a full-price 2CD set when only the first CD contains music.  No thanks!

Thankfully, I didn't pay full price for the Boulez Szymanowski recording. I paid around $16 for mine. The packaging is some of the best I've seen from Deutsche Grammophon in awhile. Beautiful pictures and the liner notes are excellent, but all this wouldn't mean much if the performances weren't any good, but they are. Some of the best Szymanowski I've heard. Clearly Boulez has a superior orchestra at his command and the results are stunning. As I mentioned earlier, Christian Tetzlaff does great service to the Violin Concerto No. 1. The sound quality is also top-notch. The second disc is a great 15-minute interview and given that Boulez is in his mid-80s now this special addition to the recording is a great bonus. Great to hear this brilliant mind reflect on this wrongly neglected composer. Hopefully, this new recording will signal a new interest in Szymanowski's music.
 
P. S. You don't have to pay full price for this recording. You can buy it from an Amazon Marketplace seller for cheaper. If you're at all interested in this composer and like his music, then this recording is essential in my opinion.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on October 29, 2010, 10:06:34 PM
MI, which recordings of the 3rd and VC are you comparing Boulez to?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 30, 2010, 06:25:51 PM
MI, which recordings of the 3rd and VC are you comparing Boulez to?

Antoni Wit's and Simon Rattle's recordings for Symphony No. 3. For the Violin Concerto No. 1, I'm actually comparing several: Mordkovitch/Sinaisky, Kaler/Wit, Zehetmair/Rattle, and Juillet/Dutoit. The Tetzlaff had me in awe the entire performance. I hope Hilary Hahn tackles the Szymanowski VCs at some point. I think they are right up her alley. I'm surprised that Kyung Wha Chung, Joshua Bell, Viktoria Mullova, Gil Shaham, among others haven't played them as well. I think they're major works and deserve to be the standard violin repertoire.
 
Do you own the new Boulez recording, Maciek?
 
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on October 30, 2010, 11:47:35 PM
There are two that I'm aware of, there might be more. One is with Stefania Woytowicz and Warsaw Phil under Rowicki, the other is Izabela Kłosińska with Polish Radio SO under Kazimierz Kord (a complete symphonies twofer). Both of these are out of print, I'm afraid... :-\

(http://merlin.pl/Karol-Szymanowski-Vol-2-Stabat-Mater_Krystyna-Szczepanska-Andrzej-Hiolski-Orkiestra,images,13,PNCD063.jpg) (http://merlin.pl/4-Symfonie-4-Symphonies_Karol-Szymanowski-Orkiestra-Symfoniczna-Radia-Dunskiego,images,12,PRCD108182.jpg)

What about the one I have on Koch? It's SW too, isn't it? That's Great!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 31, 2010, 09:37:48 PM
David Hurwitz has recently reviewed the new Boulez/Szymanowski disc and he doesn't think it's that great. He has clearly lost his mind. This recording is fantastic, but so are Wit and Rattle. All three get my vote for great interpreters of this music, but I think Szymanowski is still finding an audience amongst classical fans.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Scarpia on October 31, 2010, 09:52:14 PM
David Hurwitz has recently reviewed the new Boulez/Szymanowski disc and he doesn't think it's that great. He has clearly lost his mind. This recording is fantastic, but so are Wit and Rattle. All three get my vote for great interpreters of this music, but I think Szymanowski is still finding an audience amongst classical fans.

I have most of the recordings (other than Boulez) that you list on your previous post, and haven't really had time to listen to them properly yet, so there's no rush.   They are marketing that Boulez recording pretty hard.  I suspect soon used copies from people with buyers remorse will hit the used market and I'll be able to pick it up for less than five bucks.   8)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on October 31, 2010, 09:54:01 PM
I'm going to register my little complaint here. Take the SQs, for instance. KS starts each off with a molto misterioso type first mvmt, but by the finale, we are back to pretty straightforward music. Perhaps it's the same as with Glazunov, how that Composer seemed only to excel in his scherzos (broadly speaking)?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 31, 2010, 10:02:07 PM
I have most of the recordings (other than Boulez) that you list on your previous post, and haven't really had time to listen to them properly yet, so there's no rush.   They are marketing that Boulez recording pretty hard.  I suspect soon used copies from people with buyers remorse will hit the used market and I'll be able to pick it up for less than five bucks.   8)

I never bought into the whole marketing side of music and don't really care how DG promotes this recording. It's either a recording I want or I don't want. It's just that simple. One of Hurwitz's complaints, besides his remarks about Boulez, which seem rather one-sided and bizarre, are, interestingly enough, with DG marketing Szymanowski as some kind of new musical discovery. Whether this is true or not, holds no barring on the quality of the performances, which in my assessment are extremely good. I mean it is Boulez and the Vienna Philharmonic. Not much could have went wrong here.
 
Yes, I would wait around on this one Scarpia. You'll come across a used copy at some point.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on November 01, 2010, 12:08:32 AM

Antoni Wit's and Simon Rattle's recordings for Symphony No. 3. For the Violin Concerto No. 1, I'm actually comparing several: Mordkovitch/Sinaisky, Kaler/Wit, Zehetmair/Rattle, and Juillet/Dutoit.

Thanks.

Quote
Do you own the new Boulez recording, Maciek?

Nope.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 02, 2010, 03:23:32 PM
Thanks.

Hurwitz, the dean of Classical weirdness, gave the Boulez recording an 8/8, which is one of the most unjust ratings I've seen. Reading his opinions on this recording also were quite hysterical as he doesn't even have the slightest idea of what he's talking about:
 
http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=13048 (http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=13048)
 
One of my favorite parts of this ignorant review is he wrote is this:
 
"Consider the Violin Concerto No. 1. It opens with an orchestral violin ostinato, sul ponticello, with flecks of color from the winds and percussion. All of this is crystal clear under Wit (Naxos or Sony), far less present under Boulez. Partly this is a function of the engineering, partly the less precise playing of the Vienna Philharmonic, partly the slightly too-quick initial tempo. If you don't know one of the more than a dozen recorded alternatives, you might not notice or care, but the reality is that listeners have better options."
 
He really shows his ignorance when he says that Wit's conducting is much more clearer than Boulez's. What the hell? Boulez is known for his clarity and bringing out the structure of the score. It's as if Hurwitz is forgetting who is actually conducting. Perhaps he was drunk when he wrote this review?
 
He also states that the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world, aren't precise because of a too quick tempo? What an idiot.
 
Another part of this quote that I would like to point out is when he said the reality is that listeners have better options in regards to Szymanowski recordings. Last time I checked, there haven't been that many Szymanowski recordings at all, especially of his orchestral music. He's not a household name like Debussy or Stravinsky, so any new recording that comes our way regarding this still very underrated composer is a good thing, right? Not according to Hurwitz, who runs his mouth like a moron and doesn't show the slightest insight into this composer's idiom at all.
 
Bottomline: the Boulez recording is essential listening and is a very welcome addition to the Szymanowski recording catalog.

 
 
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on November 02, 2010, 04:31:41 PM

He really shows his ignorance when he says that Wit's conducting is much more clearer than Boulez's. What the hell? Boulez is known for his clarity and bringing out the structure of the score. It's as if Hurwitz is forgetting who is actually conducting. Perhaps he was drunk when he wrote this review?

Or perhaps he simply listened to both recordings and heard a clearer presentation in the Wit? Why not? Is Boulez god? Is Wit a hack? Why can't Wit be better...or more precisely, why can't Hurwitz prefer Wit to Boulez based on what he heard?
 
Quote
Another part of this quote that I would like to point out is when he said the reality is that listeners have better options in regards to Szymanowski recordings. Last time I checked, there haven't been that many Szymanowski recordings at all...

Last time I checked there were these versions of the Violin Concerto in print: Zimmermann/Wit, Steinbacher/Janowski, Zehetmair/Rattle, Plawner/Grabowski, Koh/Kalmar, Kaler/Wit, Edinger/Penderecki, Kulka/Maksymiuk, and Oistrakh. Surely there is an off chance that at least one of these might be a better option?  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: DavidW on November 02, 2010, 04:55:51 PM
I do tend to notice that whenever there is a pompous interview disc Hurwitz just flips out and it colors the rest of his review.  Check out the reviews of Zander in which Zander gives a disagreeable lecture disc and the rating there, and then check out the ones where either Hurwitz agrees with the lecture disc or there is none by the same conductor.  Hurwitz has a problem with any one presenting himself as an authority figure.  The same happens with simply liner notes of some unusual vibrato-free Mahler recordings which caused him to angrily write long tirades that he called essays. ;D

I'm saying that because this Boulez disc has an interview and it clearly made him mad, and I read that anger as coloring the rest of his review. :D 
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 02, 2010, 05:20:38 PM
Or perhaps he simply listened to both recordings and heard a clearer presentation in the Wit? Why not? Is Boulez god? Is Wit a hack? Why can't Wit be better...or more precisely, why can't Hurwitz prefer Wit to Boulez based on what he heard?

I never claimed that Wit was a hack nor do I think Boulez is a god. I just thought Hurwitz's review was incredibly tainted with his dislike for all things Boulez and Deutsche Grammophon and very little thought or commentary went into Boulez's recording. Why are you defending this guy? Did he bring you cookies and milk or something to sweeten you up?
 
Last time I checked there were these versions of the Violin Concerto in print: Zimmermann/Wit, Steinbacher/Janowski, Zehetmair/Rattle, Plawner/Grabowski, Koh/Kalmar, Kaler/Wit, Edinger/Penderecki, Kulka/Maksymiuk, and Oistrakh. Surely there is an off chance that at least one of these might be a better option? ;)

I'm not sure where you're going with this comment. There are plenty of great performances of his first VC, but Tetzlaff is a VERY capable violinist who completely nailed this concerto and Hurwitz being the total freak he is didn't listen hard enough to the performances. The performance of Symphony No. 3 was especially fine.
 
P.S. You forgot to mention Mordkovitch/Sinaisky, which is a fine recording as well. ;)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 02, 2010, 05:27:49 PM
I do tend to notice that whenever there is a pompous interview disc Hurwitz just flips out and it colors the rest of his review.  Check out the reviews of Zander in which Zander gives a disagreeable lecture disc and the rating there, and then check out the ones where either Hurwitz agrees with the lecture disc or there is none by the same conductor.  Hurwitz has a problem with any one presenting himself as an authority figure.  The same happens with simply liner notes of some unusual vibrato-free Mahler recordings which caused him to angrily write long tirades that he called essays. ;D

I'm saying that because this Boulez disc has an interview and it clearly made him mad, and I read that anger as coloring the rest of his review. :D

I think Boulez is a brilliant musician and clearly understands Szymanowski's music, which is more than I can say for Hurwitz.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: abidoful on November 03, 2010, 01:44:45 AM

Last time I checked there were these versions of the Violin Concerto in print: Zimmermann/Wit, Steinbacher/Janowski, Zehetmair/Rattle, Plawner/Grabowski, Koh/Kalmar, Kaler/Wit, Edinger/Penderecki, Kulka/Maksymiuk, and Oistrakh. Surely there is an off chance that at least one of these might be a better option?  ;)

Sarge
I really like the Zehetmair/Rattle version!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on November 03, 2010, 03:55:37 AM
This new Tetzlaff recording is making me curious. I have heard (they're still somewhere on my computer) 2 live performances with Tetzlaff in the VC (Segerstam and Boulez), and felt that, at least in those specific cases, he was a bit off the mark (as I've commented earlier in this thread, his playing seemed too emotionally detached and cold for this sort of music). I wonder if his approach has changed in any way.

Besides the versions Sarge mentioned, there are also some interesting oop options. For instance, there are actually at least two different Oistrakh versions (I have Warsaw Philharmonic with Stryja and SSO USSR with Sanderling). Or Kulka with Stryja (don't know it, I have the one on EMI with Maksymiuk). Or Kaja Danczowska with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Kord (has its fervent champions). And last but not least, the version many Szymanowski aficionados swear by: Wanda Wiłkomirska with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Rowicki (an intense, almost dizzying performance - I love it).

Oh, wait, there's also Baeva and Benedetti. And probably a few more that I'm forgetting at the moment...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 03, 2010, 05:51:04 AM
I'm going to register my little complaint here. Take the SQs, for instance. KS starts each off with a molto misterioso type first mvmt, but by the finale, we are back to pretty straightforward music.

I had the same problem. I thought "wow, this is great, we're in fantasyland" when the music started, but by the end my enthusiasm was dissipating. Eventually I got rid of the disc (it was the Carmina 4tet - highly regarded I think). I've given Szymanowski several shots, but I just don't think he's for me.


He also states that the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world, aren't precise because of a too quick tempo? What an idiot.

I don't want to get involved in this debate, but I've noticed that Hurwitz likes to trash the VPO. It's just one of his endearing habits, along with never forgetting to mention the tam-tam  :D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: abidoful on November 03, 2010, 08:37:53 AM
I had the same problem. I thought "wow, this is great, we're in fantasyland" when the music started, but by the end my enthusiasm was dissipating. Eventually I got rid of the disc (it was the Carmina 4tet - highly regarded I think). I've given Szymanowski several shots, but I just don't think he's for me.
Try the 1st VC, it's pure "fantasy-land" from start to finish. I don't think the two SQ's are his "greatest masterpieces"; the first one- i believe- is a torso since i read (Jim Samson: the music of Szymanowski) that he planned a fourh movement. I always have this kind of off-balance when it ends; "Is this it?!???". And the second quartet is sort of lifeless.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 03, 2010, 10:32:02 AM
Try the 1st VC,

I did. And I tried some other things as well (3rd Symphony, etc.). Same result. I'm just not in sync with Szymanowski's style.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: abidoful on November 04, 2010, 05:26:04 AM
I did. And I tried some other things as well (3rd Symphony, etc.). Same result. I'm just not in sync with Szymanowski's style.
Maybe you should try the Rattle/Zehetmeir version, great colors! It's WILD piece, I'm telling you--got me in to modern styles.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Octo_Russ on November 04, 2010, 11:22:17 AM
I'm really getting into Szymanowski's String Quartets, i think they're some of his very best works, i actually prefer the Second String Quartet over the First, the Carmina Quartet are superb.

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_y_1Nw_eemq8/TMSCa3j3zPI/AAAAAAAAA9U/E6Ua4cGpcyw/s1600/Szymanowski+String_Quartet_2+Carmina_Quartet.jpg)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: abidoful on November 04, 2010, 01:11:20 PM
Glad you like them, but I can't agree you there---he definately wrote better orchestral/vocal music >:D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on February 05, 2011, 09:18:20 AM
From a concert that took place on June 20th in Dresden:

An interesting interpretation. Though if you ask me, there it's far too "objective", without the mad passion this music requires.

Karol Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 1
Christian Tetzlaff
Philharmonic Orchestra of Helsinki
Leif Segerstam

DownloadLink: http://rapidshare.com/files/43891820/Szymanowski_Karol_I_Koncert_skrzypcowy_op_35_OF_w_Helsinkach_Christian_Tetzlaff_Leif_Segerstam.mp3 (http://rapidshare.com/files/43891820/Szymanowski_Karol_I_Koncert_skrzypcowy_op_35_OF_w_Helsinkach_Christian_Tetzlaff_Leif_Segerstam.mp3)
File-Size: 35,40 MB

Quote
This new Tetzlaff recording is making me curious. I have heard (they're still somewhere on my computer) 2 live performances with Tetzlaff in the VC (Segerstam and Boulez), and felt that, at least in those specific cases, he was a bit off the mark (as I've commented earlier in this thread, his playing seemed too emotionally detached and cold for this sort of music). I wonder if his approach has changed in any way.
- from Maciek 3rd November 2010

Very many thanks for posting the version conducted by Segerstam. I've only just got around to listening to it, having heard for the first time today the same violinist on the CD conducted by Boulez. To be perfectly frank, I'm amazed that it is the same violinist . . .

The Boulez CD with the 1st violin concerto and the 3rd symphony seems to have earned a large number of rave reviews, mainly (I would suspect) from those who are not particularly familiar with Szymanowski's music. I can't say that I share their enthusiasm, particularly with regard to the violin concerto. On the plus side, there's a goodly amount of intricate detail from "colour" instruments such as piano and celesta which one doesn't usually get to hear with such clarity. On the other hand the general string and woodwind sound is considerably less clear, indeed the general balance is distressingly opaque and the myriad of submelodies from the orchestra seem not to have been considered, either by the conductor or the engineers. More troublesome still are the tempi: Boulez's fast tempi are probably the fastest I've heard and in at least two places they're obviously faster than the violinist is happy with. There's little or no breath between "sentences" and all rits/ralls are understated or in some cases completely ignored. Tetzlaff's intonation is pretty dodgy and the refusal to linger seems as much his fault (especially judging by the cadenza) as that of Boulez. There is a distinct lack of passion about this performance which I would imagine would be anathema to many Polish listeners and I was heartened to notice that Maciek used the phrase
Quote
without the mad passion this music requires
. I am, of course, one of those who have have lived with the admirable Wanda Wilkomirska version (the most impassioned version you're ever likely to hear) for over 40 years.

Hearing the same violinist conducted by Segerstam was a real shock. The tempi were much more sober and for most of the time were almost identical to those of Witold Rowicki, the conductor of Wilkomirska's 1961 recording. It was clear that Segerstam had modelled his interpretation on Rowicki's, right down to the outrageous horn glissando in the orchestral interlude round about 24 minutes in. (Well, it sounds outrageous in Rowicki's recording; rather less so in Segerstam's: but I've never heard it in any other performance or recording). Tetzlaff sounded a considerably happier man for all of this: the music breathes, the intonation is far surer, the colours are more varied and there's real romance in the playing even if the passion is less apparent than one would like. Segerstam's approach seemed to be "legit" 19th century Romantic (but not, unfortunately early 20th century Postromantic). Mrs Dax let fly at Boulez "But he's playing it like a modernist piece: there's no sexiness at all!".

I'm glad to report that Boulez's account of the 3rd symphony was considerably less bothersome, due in part to the solo tenor Steve Davislim who does a terrific job. In contrast to the recording of the violin concerto, this must be one of the slowest versions ever recorded. Come on, Pete, it's not Wagner! This music is supposed to disturb the hairs on the back of my neck! Again, there's a wealth of detail to revel in here, but the reservations about the general sound (especially, in places, of the chorus) are present here as well.

Definitely not the CD of the year, then, as more than one critic would have us believe.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 07, 2011, 09:19:02 PM
I can understand the criticism now about Boulez's Szymanowski recording. These performances aren't the best I've heard, but they were good. It doesn't wipe my mind of Wit or Rattle, and never will, but it was nice to hear the music conducted by Boulez. I just didn't think Boulez captured that eerie, troubled quality of Szymanowski's music, so instead what we have are efficient readings that are about clarity and structure, but, in turn, allow us to hear textures we might have, otherwise, heard before.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: abidoful on February 08, 2011, 12:15:14 AM
I have that Boulez dis. I was quite disappointed with the performance of the VC. For me, the most bothersome thing was that the solo part was too overpowered by the orchestra, the sound of the solo violin did not "blossom" and I feel that they recorded it in that way for some reason. I don't have a great big discography of the work since I have one so good; the Zehetmeir/Rattle one of the both but of the ones I've heard (maybe 5-6 of them) this was, surprisingly the worst. Something just didn't work in this performance.

BUT, again surpisingly, the performance of the Third Symphony was the best I've heard (along with Dorati which has inferior recording quality). I liked it alot. Even the very beginning, the sound of thgat chord was hm.... quite something. And the solo violin part in this Boulez recording was simply stunning; I never realized that it had so beautiful solo violin part!

Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on February 08, 2011, 11:50:19 AM
Thanks, guys, for those very interesting comments. I can report that the Boulez CD is getting a lot of buzz over here as well.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2011, 11:53:42 AM
I have that Boulez dis. I was quite disappointed with the performance of the VC. For me, the most bothersome thing was that the solo part was too overpowered by the orchestra, the sound of the solo violin did not "blossom" and I feel that they recorded it in that way for some reason. I don't have a great big discography of the work since I have one so good; the Zehetmeir/Rattle one of the both but of the ones I've heard (maybe 5-6 of them) this was, surprisingly the worst. Something just didn't work in this performance.

BUT, again surpisingly, the performance of the Third Symphony was the best I've heard (along with Dorati which has inferior recording quality). I liked it alot. Even the very beginning, the sound of thgat chord was hm.... quite something. And the solo violin part in this Boulez recording was simply stunning; I never realized that it had so beautiful solo violin part!

For Szymanowski's VCs, I turn to Mordkovitch/Sinaisky w/ BBC Philharmonic on Chandos. This is my reference recording. All other ones are judged against this one:

Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: abidoful on February 09, 2011, 01:28:29 PM
For Szymanowski's VCs, I turn to Mordkovitch/Sinaisky w/ BBC Philharmonic on Chandos. This is my reference recording. All other ones are judged against this one:





I  have a bad feeling about Chandos; too many disappointing experiences like the complete Rachmaninoff songs.

And there's something about the Chandos sound what I very much dislike.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 01:33:38 PM

I  have a bad feeling about Chandos; too many disappointing experiences like the complete Rachmaninoff songs.

And there's something about the Chandos sound what I very much dislike.

I love Chandos. I think they're a stellar label. I've had very few disappointments with them.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Scarpia on February 09, 2011, 01:35:21 PM
And there's something about the Chandos sound what I very much dislike.

I find some older Chandos recordings overreverberant, but I don't have this problem with more recent ones, typically.  Wonderful selection of repertoire on Chandos, though.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Brian on February 15, 2011, 10:26:29 AM
A heads-up to Szydmirers: this month a live concert DVD of Antoni Wit conducting Symphonies 3 and 4 (http://www.amazon.com/Antoni-Wit-Szymanowski-Symphonies-Nos/dp/B004FFBMAS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1297794301&sr=8-1) is on its way. 5.1 channel surround sound.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on February 15, 2011, 02:47:29 PM
I'm surprised that Boulez does Szymanowski...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on February 16, 2011, 03:47:17 AM
Not sure if you've read all of the preceding discussion, so here's a quote:

There is a startling revelation in the interviews on CD-2, where Boulez says he first heard Szymanowski while a student in Lyon in 1942, a recital of Jacques Thibaud, who performed Mythes. Boulez was especially surprized by the first Mythe, "La Fontaine d'Arethuse," as surprised by Mythes as we was upon hearing for the first time the same year on the radio Stravinsky's Nightingale - until then Boulez's musical world was Mozart and Beethoven and Chopin and Liszt.

Boulez's first introduction to modern music, in other words, was through Szymanowski as well as Stravinsky! Under that circumstance, perhaps the surprising thing is that he did not perform him much earlier. In the interviews he confirms what I had read in another interview, namely, that he belatedly turned to performing Janacek and Szymanowki because he had grown stale on Stravinsky & Schoenberg and needed a break from them.

Boulez rates Szymanowski very highly & deplores he is so rarely performed  - indeed expresses exasperation that Shostakovich would be played so much more often: Boulez's repertoire may change, but not Boulez himself, lol.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Guido on February 16, 2011, 07:03:18 AM
Not sure if you've read all of the preceding discussion, so here's a quote:

Cheers! My surprise derives from the fact that Szymanowski is such a flagrant sensualist - does any composer do eroticism better? (the contenders are maybe Strauss, Wagner, Korngold...)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on February 16, 2011, 09:52:40 AM
perhaps the surprising thing is that he did not perform him much earlier . . . Boulez rates Szymanowski very highly & deplores he is so rarely performed

still doesn't add up, does it?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: schweitzeralan on February 22, 2011, 12:51:29 PM

I need to listen to the second disc of his Szymanowski recording as I'm interested why it took Boulez so long to record this great composer's music? It certainly is baffling especially considering how much Boulez likes his music.

Recently I acquired S's  two violin concertos.  I haven't devoted all that much time in familiarizing myself with any detailed scrutiny or absorption of the depths of the works.  Early brief listenings have revealed potential depth and complex chordal intrigue and development.  Szymanowski's time has long been come  for his many recordings since the 60's and 70's.  Several postings have delved into the structure and substance of Szymanowski's genius.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 23, 2011, 08:47:52 AM
Recently I acquired S's  two violin concertos.  I haven't devoted all that much time in familiarizing myself with any detailed scrutiny or absorption of the depths of the works.  Early brief listenings have revealed potential depth and complex chordal intrigue and development.  Szymanowski's time has long been come  for his many recordings since the 60's and 70's.  Several postings have delved into the structure and substance of Szymanowski's genius.

I like the ambiguity of Szymanowski's music. The way he builds these harmonic tensions in his music. A very unsettling sound. His music is constantly moving forward. It seldom backtracks or slides into something familiar. I love his music.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 24, 2011, 07:53:54 AM
Listening to this ..

2 of his more originally conceived, mystical works .. more powerful & more free chromatic harmonic language ..
deeper/wider than Prokofiev, and better constructed and more developed than anything from Scriabin ..



I've been praising Szymanowski since I've joined this forum. Boulez's recording is really good. Song of the Night is an excellent work as is the Violin Concerto No. 1.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 24, 2011, 08:03:29 AM
On an interesting side note, my Dad actually introduced me to Szymanowski's music. He had recorded an excerpt from his ballet Harnasie off of AOL Internet radio and it was performed by Rattle/CBSO. This excerpt had this Bartok-like expressiveness about it that just hooked me from the start. From this moment, I became a big fan of his music. I probably would have found this composer sooner or later, but I have my Dad to thank for jump starting me in that direction.

My Dad also introduced me to Ginastera pretty much the same way. He recorded something and it was an except from his ballet Estancia and I LOVED IT!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 24, 2011, 09:37:12 AM
2 of his more originally conceived, mystical works .. more powerful & more free chromatic harmonic language .. deeper/wider than Prokofiev, and better constructed and more developed than anything from Scriabin ..

Okay, here's where I draw the line, why do you insist on putting one composer over the other? I mean if you like Szymanowski's music better than Prokofiev's or Scriabin's that's fine, then say so, but don't say Szymanowski was "better" than this composer or that composer because it just makes you sound like you don't even know what you're talking about. Anyway, each of these composers had a unique approach to music that was distinctive and completely their own.

I mean music isn't a popularity contest James, but if it were then Szymanowski would be on the bottom of the totem pole, not because his music is terrible of course, but because it's more likely that people will hear Prokofiev or Scriabin before they hear Szymanowski.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dax on June 08, 2011, 01:05:24 AM
Somebody asked me to repost Hagith, so here it is.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/36mtlc
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Scion7 on February 21, 2012, 01:46:24 AM
 
I would like a nice, good rip of the vinyl LP of her Violin Concerto playing with Rowicki & the NPO.

Does anyone have one?  I like the excerpts I have heard from the vinyl LP - balance and so on. 

Additionally, what about radio broadcasts of Conc. #1 or #2 from her?   Can anyone point me to a link?

Thanks.

http://s17.postimage.org/sihpuj6nh/Muza_LP_Violin_Concertos.jpg

(http://s17.postimage.org/sihpuj6nh/Muza_LP_Violin_Concertos.jpg)

     I haven't found any in-print CD with this performance.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Opus106 on March 13, 2012, 08:25:40 AM
From Gramophone magazine: Celebrating Szymanowski (1882-1937): 75 years on (http://www.gramophone.co.uk/features/focus/celebrating-szymanowski-1882-1937-75-years-on?page=0,0)
Title: Szymanowski's Szed
Post by: Cato on August 14, 2012, 02:52:39 AM
From today's (Aug. 14) Wall Street Journal, a review of King Roger recently performed by the Santa Fe Opera:

An excerpt:

Quote
The opera is all about sound with its alluring harmonies and orchestral colors that recall Claude Debussy, Richard Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde," and voluptuous Eastern Orthodox-inspired writing for a big chorus (the terrific company apprentices were joined by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale). Evan Rogister was the commanding conductor. Mariusz Kwiecien overplayed Roger's agony; William Burden's creamy tenor made the the Shepherd an enchanter who could not be refused; and Erin Morley's effortless vocalises embodied the yearning of Roxana, Roger's queen.

See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444184704577587141000609860.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444184704577587141000609860.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on June 14, 2013, 07:22:48 PM
Does anyone out-perfume Szymanowski? I haven't found anything comparable in Enescu? Who am I looking for? Scriabin's too much the model.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Brian on October 29, 2013, 12:46:40 PM
Brian Listens to Too Many Recordings of Symphony No. 4 "Symphonie Concertante"

Andsnes (Birmingham SO, Rattle): A very modern account. The first movement is fairly slow, but it briskly glosses over the more romantic elements of the piece - big tunes, moments of dissonance resolving satisfyingly, and the like. Andsnes is superb, with a leaning towards the poetical. This becomes a liability in the finale, where Andsnes isn't as wild-and-crazy as some of the others. Pairs perfectly with Rubinstein.

Broja (Warsaw PO, Wit): The first movement is glacial. The beginning theme is played like a weird Chopin nocturne, and although it's not exactly far removed from "moderato," the result is too dry for my personal taste. The rest is marvelous, though, with Broja a grand soloist, the Warsaw Philharmonic its usual glorious self, and Antoni Wit more alert than he was at first. The finale beats the pants off everybody not named Paleczny and Kord.

Lortie (BBC SO, Gardner): A proficient but bland reading. The first movement is weird: no dynamic contrast, few real climaxes; everything seems flattened out. The orchestra sounds less authentic than its east European colleagues, and less interesting than the ones in Birmingham and Los Angeles. Sound quality is very clear, but this is nothing special.

Paleczny (Polish NRSO, Semkow [EMI]): Paleczny's performance is bulletproof. In contrast to Zmudzinski and Gardner, the orchestra is very good (though this is Zmudzinski's orchestra, just a few years removed); in contrast to Andsnes and Rubinstein, the performance revels in both the romantic and modern sides, presenting a fuller portrait of Szymanowski's style as I perceive it. Only the old-sounding recording prevents this from being perfection, but luckily perfection is available in...

Paleczny (Warsaw PO, Kord [Accord]): The Warsaw PO's a little better, the sound is a lot better (almost Broja/Wit level; I prefer it to the Chandos), and the finale is the fastest of any of these except maybe Rubinstein's. What's not different is Paleczny's ability to be wild, brash, edgy, mysterious, poetic, whatever the music needs. This whole exercise ended up accidentally reinforcing my preference for this recording.

Rubinstein (Los Angeles PO, Wallenstein): A very romantic account. The Los Angeles violins turn Hollywood in the first movement's big tune (around 6:00 I think), and, opposite of Andsnes, the performers speed up to briskly gloss over the brash modern stuff. In fact, they gloss over rather too much: many of my favorite details in the orchestral writing are missing. Rubinstein is formidable (though imperfect) at the hurried pace. Pairs perfectly with Andsnes.

Zmudzinski (Polish NRSO, Stryja): My reviewathon was inspired by Mirror Image and AnthonyAthletic's debate about this vs. Andsnes. I actually agree with AA, partially. The problem is not Zmudzinski, who besides having a cool name is a terrific performer and does well by every phrase; the problem is the orchestra, which is especially timid/tentative at the beginning (those flimsy trumpet solos... sigh). Distant sound does not flatter them, especially at 10:00 in track two, where my single favorite moment in the entire symphony is totally inaudible. Great violin solo in the slow movement, but otherwise Zmudzinski is nearly on his own.

Gold medal: Paleczny and Kord on Accord
Most contrasting pairing of good performances: Andsnes vs. Rubinstein
Last place: Lortie and Gardner on Chandos
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: kyjo on October 29, 2013, 05:29:34 PM
Does anyone out-perfume Szymanowski? I haven't found anything comparable in Enescu? Who am I looking for? Scriabin's too much the model.

"Out-perfume"? Never heard of that one! ;D

Try Joseph Marx, Florent Schmitt, Alphons Diepenbrock, Granville Bantock, Cyril Scott for some "heavily perfumed" music!

I find Enescu's magnificent Symphony no. 3 to be rather Scriabinesque in places.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: edward on October 29, 2013, 05:38:42 PM
Nice survey, Brian. It concurs fairly well with my experience in the recordings I've heard... and the work really does seem to be Piotr Paleczny's calling card.

There is another Paleczny Sinfonia concertante, a live reading with the BBCSO under Mark Elder in the short-lived BBC Radio Classics series, which is also very good. I don't think I'd recommend it ahead of the EMI, though... and I probably need the Accord recording with Kord (how is the coupled Harnasie? it's probably my favourite non-vocal Szymanowski work).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on October 31, 2013, 07:47:54 AM
"Out-perfume"? Never heard of that one! ;D

Try Joseph Marx, Florent Schmitt, Alphons Diepenbrock, Granville Bantock, Cyril Scott for some "heavily perfumed" music!

I find Enescu's magnificent Symphony no. 3 to be rather Scriabinesque in places.

thanks

I remember first hearing the VCs. It was the most stunningly intoxicating music I'd ever heard, and no one even seems to come close.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: AnthonyAthletic on October 31, 2013, 07:53:20 AM
Brian Listens to Too Many Recordings of Symphony No. 4 "Symphonie Concertante"

Very good read Brian, nice to know there's more to the 4th and much more to offer than the Andsnes & Zmudzinski recordings  :)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mr Bloom on November 03, 2013, 11:35:38 AM
Brian Listens to Too Many Recordings of Symphony No. 4 "Symphonie Concertante"

Thank you for this nice survey.
My favorites are :
1. Broja/Wit : violent and dark, a drunken nightmare, this is for me the one that goes the deepest into the score, and really strays away from the pseudo-Stravinsky that Rattle and some others make it to be.
2. Matsuev/Gergiev : perfect mix between orchestral virtuosity and right spirit. Close to perfection : it's more polished than the extreme Broja/Wit reading while staying true to the score. The best of Gergiev's Szymanowski output, with the first violin concerto (sadly not yet released). Plus I saw it live.
3. Paleczny/Kord and Paleczny/Semkow : both are strong, but Gergiev gives us a reading close to these, with a better orchestra and more intensity.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on November 04, 2013, 09:36:56 AM
Listened to the first part of Symphony 3 from the old Koch release (with Stefania W. singing, of Gorecki fame). The recording is clean, like an ECM issue, but that doesn't keep the music from wallowing in luxurious textures. This whole thing sounds a lot like the 'chirping and cooing music' of le Sacre, no? (somewhere in the intro to Part 2)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Cato on March 18, 2014, 09:42:05 AM
I mentioned under "What Are You Listening To?" that the Szymanowski First Symphony to my ears had strong resemblances to both Arnold Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony #1 and Anton Webern's Passacaglia for Orchestra.

Unfortunately I have no score of the Szymanowski work, but the first movement has several spots where I thought: "Could he have known of the other two works, or vice versa?"

I recalled the Kammersinfonie as being roughly contemporaneous with the First Symphony, and that the Webern came later, and a check of the dates verifies that memory.

So what we have are three musical minds coincidentally creating things at different times and places, yet occasionally coming up with similar sounds.  Such things are not unheard of in music and in other fields.

What is interesting is that the similar sounds are found in very different works!  And one can detect that the Szymanowski First Symphony offers paths in directions different from those of the other two composers.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on November 12, 2015, 12:42:16 PM
Just a heads-up for those interested:

There's an all-Szymanowski concert coming up tomorrow (13th Nov.) at the Warsaw Philharmonic that will be streamed live via Youtube. It's at 7:30 PM (CET!). The stream will be available from their main page: http://www.filharmonia.pl/.

The program: 2nd VC with Tasmin Little, 3rd Symphony with Dmitry Korchak, and the concert opens with the Concert Overture. Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under Kaspszyk.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maciek on November 13, 2015, 10:28:40 AM
Direct Youtube link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6etypar5E5k
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Scion7 on May 20, 2016, 01:18:11 AM
I've been enjoying this disc recently.
The Romance and the sonata are two of his better works.
The best thing is probably Opus 30, though. I think the  Wilkomirska/Barbosa recording is superior to the one here,
but Kramer and Durcan do a good job.  Interesting background about Mythes.

(http://s32.postimg.org/m2nsxhvlx/Sz_Back.jpg)

Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2017, 06:38:39 PM
Litania do Najświętszej Marii Panny (Litany to the Virgin Mary)

(http://www.howtopastel.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Screen-Shot-2014-03-06-at-9.18.54-PM.png)

Anna Iwaszkiewiczowa, to whom the poet Jerzy Liebert dedicated his poem Litania do Najświętszej Marii Panny [Litany to the Holy Virgin Mary], suggested the text to Szymanowski. With unerring intuition, out of the poem’s seventeen stanzas the composer selected the third and the sixth, which concentrate the purest poetry and whose poetic images are the simplest. The first fragment is entitled Twelve-note zither…; the second – Like a dwarf bush… The litany is short, but the score, which numbers more than ten pages, bears all the characteristic and typical features of Szymanowski’s style and technique. It is characterised by maximally condensed expression, concentration and inner silence. This effect is achieved by a far-advanced reduction of devices. Undoubtedly in its deepest expression this work is akin to Stabat Mater; however, what is particularly interesting is that Szymanowski seems to refer here to his experiences from the so-called impressionistic period of his development. The timbral concept of the work provides evidence of this, being based on texture, orchestration and dynamics made cohesive in an individual way. The fully mechanical “backbone” of the form is of course the text – the stanza is repeated three, or nearly three, times. But in the first fragment the decisive formative factor is the dynamics. The music here is extremely muted, with a delicate and pastel sonorities from the initial ppp to the culminative f and again to ppp. The second fragment has a quite clear three-part repetitive structure (ABA) and is based on very homogeneous melodic material. Szymanowski paid particularly detailed attention to the solo voice part. His consultant was the unfailing performer of her brother’s songs – Stanisława Szymanowska. “It would be a good thing to go through these fragments from Litany together; this seems quite difficult – perhaps something might be changed.” The composer’s judgment about his work was not always objective and unbiased but this time, judging Litany from the perspective of time, he was right. Writing to friends, Szymanowski said: “…this may be the deepest, the most intent thing of mine;” “Litany is very successful – it stands at the level of Stabat Mater“.

[Article taken from the Szymanowski website]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are many works that I love, but out of all the works I've ever heard, Szymanowski's Litany to the Virgin Mary may very well be the most profound piece of music I know. The Rattle performance with Elzbieta Szmytka (soprano) is the finest performance IMHO. Of course, there are others, but none of them capture the spirituality and vividness of this Szmytka/Rattle performance. It simply leave me in complete each time I hear this work and performance. Sometimes I'll play the work over and over again until I finally have been fully satisfied.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: snyprrr on August 21, 2017, 06:54:04 PM
Listened to the first part of Symphony 3 from the old Koch release (with Stefania W. singing, of Gorecki fame). The recording is clean, like an ECM issue, but that doesn't keep the music from wallowing in luxurious textures. This whole thing sounds a lot like the 'chirping and cooing music' of le Sacre, no? (somewhere in the intro to Part 2)

I might have to reevaluate Szymmie... the 3rd Symphony seems a bit- conservative- to me at this point. The String Quartets let me down with their finales (where are they, must find them). I hold out that at least one of the Violin Concertos holds the perfumed luxuries that I know I must have heard at some time. My above recollection that it reminded me of the "chirping and cooing" of 'Le Sacre...' makes me again curious. What is TheBEST?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: nodogen on August 21, 2017, 10:03:10 PM
I feel duty-bound to say I recommend these wholeheartedly:


(4 CD set)

and


(together with Rozycki)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on August 22, 2017, 09:48:03 AM
I feel duty-bound to say I recommend these wholeheartedly:


(4 CD set)

and


(together with Rozycki)

The string quartets are simply astounding, arguably comparable with those by Bartók (especially the 2nd one).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: nodogen on August 22, 2017, 10:03:09 AM
The string quartets are simply astounding, arguably comparable with those by Bartók (especially the 2nd one).

They are indeed. Think Bartok's just have the edge, for me (especially 3 and 4).
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) SQ No.1 in C Major (1917)
Post by: snyprrr on August 24, 2017, 05:31:25 AM
String Quartet No.1 (1917)


Took the Wilanow/PolskiNigrana with me, only had No.1. Well, again, my previous recollections persisted: at this point I would rather hear the Ravel or either of the two Janacek- KS has the overripe sexuality going on, but it sounds so swooning, so feminine,- but, a femininity that seems just too sickly sweet, too overripe. Too "this" and too "that", but not enough of either for me.

It also seems like solo violin+trio, somewhat old fashioned. I mean, I remember when I first heard KS, I waaas bowled over by this (is it 'sensual' or 'sensuous'???) effect. Now, with modern techniques, we can surely do KS one better, though I don't know of anyone who is so sexually oriented in their music- Bussotti's music doesn't "sound" sexual the way KS's does...

AND, yes, the finale is still JUST a finale, in the old fashioned sense. All of the perfume is gone and it's just a little rondo-type thing finale. I just need moreMoreMORE!!!


OK, I'll go for Violin Concerto No.1: Zimmermann or Tetzlaff?
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) SQ No.1 in C Major (1917)
Post by: Todd on August 24, 2017, 05:32:43 AM
OK, I'll go for Violin Concerto No.1: Zimmermann or Tetzlaff?


Zimmermann.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) VIOLIN CONCERTO NO.1
Post by: snyprrr on August 24, 2017, 06:04:54 AM
Violin Concerto No.1

OK, I'm starting, BUUUT, wait... what is this?? The actual opening is a verbatim rip of the intro to 'Le Sacre'??? Or, no, it's the 'Firebird' introduction music! Right?

Going between Zimmermann and Mordkovitch, Zimmermann seeming a little more sexxxy... Tetzlaff, too,... eh, I just can't get into KS anymore, that seems to be the end of it. I'd rather hear Ravel or Janacek. I certainly consider KS to be one of the greater Composers of the era, but, the techniques to take his vision over the top had not been really introduced yet, so, I find his ecstasy somewhat under-swooning. And, no, I can't think of a Composer that comes close to his vision, except Messaien, who, of course, come to ecstasy from a completely different viewpoint.


I'm sorry, Karol :(
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) VIOLIN CONCERTO NO.1
Post by: Mr Bloom on August 26, 2017, 09:44:29 AM
Violin Concerto No.1

OK, I'm starting, BUUUT, wait... what is this?? The actual opening is a verbatim rip of the intro to 'Le Sacre'??? Or, no, it's the 'Firebird' introduction music! Right?

No. Like, not at all.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 26, 2017, 11:33:52 AM
Oh, you mustn’t mind snypsss, really.  All of us know not to.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 18, 2018, 12:38:07 PM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/021/MI0001021682.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Yesterday I listened to the act I from King Roger. I didn't expect something so utterly spectacular and divine. This is some music that is beyond words, mindblowing. It was truly thrilling.

It's a work that remembers me of Scriabin and Ravel's music in places, also imbued with an exotic/mystic appeal. If the rest of this opera is like that, I'll have a great deal of enjoyment.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 18, 2018, 12:42:54 PM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/021/MI0001021682.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Yesterday I listened to the act I from King Roger. I didn't expect something so utterly spectacular and divine. This is some music that is beyond words, mindblowing. It was truly thrilling.

It's a work that remembers me of Scriabin and Ravel's music in places, also imbued with an exotic/mystic appeal. If the rest of this opera is like that, I'll have a great deal of enjoyment.

YES! Król Roger is indeed a fine opera and, in fact, one of Szymanowski’s crowning achievements. I haven’t heard Rattle’s performance in ages, but I suppose one reason why I haven’t is the excellence of this recording:

Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 18, 2018, 12:55:03 PM
YES! Król Roger is indeed a fine opera and, in fact, one of Szymanowski’s crowning achievements. I haven’t heard Rattle’s performance in ages, but I suppose one reason why I haven’t is the excellence of this recording:



The Rattle's rendition sounds convincing so far. Surely I'll have to listen the recording you mention to compare at some point. I really want to continue delighting myself with this sheer beauty.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 18, 2018, 01:08:24 PM
The Rattle's rendition sounds convincing so far. Surely I'll have to listen the recording you mention to compare at some point. I really want to continue delighting myself with this sheer beauty.

Sounds like a good plan to me. :)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 22, 2018, 04:38:32 PM
At last I've been able to pay attention to the whole King Roger opera. First of all, I'm not a huge opera fan, but this work worked very well for me. Those ecstatic choruses, a top-notch orchestration, an engaging exoticism, sensuous harmonies, powerful climaxes... The experience was tremendous. A really stupendous work withouth reservations.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 22, 2018, 07:15:02 PM
At last I've been able to pay attention to the whole King Roger opera. First of all, I'm not a huge opera fan, but this work worked very well for me. Those ecstatic choruses, a top-notch orchestration, an engaging exoticism, sensuous harmonies, powerful climaxes... The experience was tremendous. A really stupendous work withouth reservations.

I can only nod my head in agreement. I’m not much of an opera fan either, but there are some exceptions: Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Martinů’s Julietta and Ariane, Berg’s Wozzeck, and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, From the House of the Dead and Káťa Kabanová. I feel the same way about Król Roger.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on March 22, 2018, 11:37:39 PM
I'm not an opera fan either but the music I've heard from 'King Roger' is impressive. Other operas I like are two by Vaughan Williams 'Riders to the Sea' and 'Pilgrim's Progress' plus Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godunov' and Martinu's 'Julietta'.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 23, 2018, 01:32:59 AM
You really do need to get into the operas of Richard Strauss,don't you,vandermolen?!! ;D
The small selection you enjoy intrigues me,though. If you like those,is it beyond the realm of possibilities,that this could increase by,say,another,one or two?! Have you ever tried Brian's wildly eccentric,The Tigers? Or,what about Martinu's The Greek Passion. I bought a s/h musicassette set of the opera,when I was a youngster (which I still possess). I remember that what I really liked about it,in the old Supraphon recording,were the sounds of Martinu's orchestration. I would put it on a level with the orchestration in his Sixth symphony. I found it quite startling. Almost hallucinatory. The textures are so vivid. They really grab.....tickle the old ear 'oles. (And his use of voices is stunning,too). Never mind the story!! Even my father,who doesn't care for music much,enjoyed the sounds he was hearing! At the time,it was like no other opera,I had heard. And I don't usually like operas with unhappy endings!! ::) ;D

Erm,back to Szymanowski!! :-[ ;D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 23, 2018, 02:13:07 AM
I can see Mirror Image posting,that The Greek Passion,isn't one of the works,by Martinu,that have impressed him. I'm not so sure about the consistency of inspiration,or the libretto;it's just the sounds of Martinu's orchestration that really grabbed me,in this instance. I think it's quite stunning in places. I'll admit the story is a bit gloomy for my liking! ::) ;D I like opera;but I never follow the libretto. A quick peruse of the synopsis is enough for me. I just sit back and enjoy the sounds!! That shows how dumb I am!! :-[ ;D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Biffo on March 23, 2018, 02:59:02 AM
I heard King Roger at ENO back in the 1970s and it made a peculiar impression on me. It is a strong drama but the music didn't seem to add very much - it would have worked as a play. Since then I have got to know Szymanowski better. Occasionally, mentions of KR in forums has tempted me to try again but I have never got round to it. This latest burst of enthusiasm and recommendations has reawakened my interest so perhaps I will give it a go once I have cleared some of my backlog of baroque opera, Langgaard, Georges Pretre, Koechlin etc.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Cato on March 23, 2018, 06:31:08 AM

You really do need to get into the operas of Richard Strauss...


One word: Elektra !

For those new to him, Szymanowski seems to blend certain tendencies in Strauss with those of e.g. Scriabin and produces his own highly individual idiom, eclectic yet leading to a vibrant originality.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 23, 2018, 09:07:19 AM
I'm in agreement with your responses. Operas may be really addictive, even if you don't follow the librettos. A little disadvantage about operas is their length IMHO, but I think, perhaps, that is a matter of training your ears and get accustomed.

I definitely have to listen to more operas in a near future. Your suggestions appear interesting (Strauss, Janácek, Mussorgsky, Bartók, Vaughan Williams, etc.)

P.S.: Nice to see you again cilgwyn. Were you on vacation?  ;D
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on March 23, 2018, 03:00:31 PM
You really do need to get into the operas of Richard Strauss,don't you,vandermolen?!! ;D
The small selection you enjoy intrigues me,though. If you like those,is it beyond the realm of possibilities,that this could increase by,say,another,one or two?! Have you ever tried Brian's wildly eccentric,The Tigers? Or,what about Martinu's The Greek Passion. I bought a s/h musicassette set of the opera,when I was a youngster (which I still possess). I remember that what I really liked about it,in the old Supraphon recording,were the sounds of Martinu's orchestration. I would put it on a level with the orchestration in his Sixth symphony. I found it quite startling. Almost hallucinatory. The textures are so vivid. They really grab.....tickle the old ear 'oles. (And his use of voices is stunning,too). Never mind the story!! Even my father,who doesn't care for music much,enjoyed the sounds he was hearing! At the time,it was like no other opera,I had heard. And I don't usually like operas with unhappy endings!! ::) ;D

Erm,back to Szymanowski!! :-[ ;D
I'm sure I'd like 'The Greek Passion' and regret missing the chance to see 'Julietta' when I had the chance to decades ago.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on March 23, 2018, 03:02:23 PM
I'm in agreement with your responses. Operas may be really addictive, even if you don't follow the librettos. A little disadvantage about operas is their length IMHO, but I think, perhaps, that is a matter of training your ears and get accustomed.

I definitely have to listen to more operas in a near future. Your suggestions appear interesting (Strauss, Janácek, Mussorgsky, Bartók, Vaughan Williams, etc.)

P.S.: Nice to see you again cilgwyn. Were you on vacation?  ;D

Try Vaughan Williams's 'Riders to the Sea' Caesar. It is very short for an opera and very moving in my view. cilgwyn had computer problems.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Biffo on March 24, 2018, 01:30:56 AM
I'm in agreement with your responses. Operas may be really addictive, even if you don't follow the librettos. A little disadvantage about operas is their length IMHO, but I think, perhaps, that is a matter of training your ears and get accustomed.

I definitely have to listen to more operas in a near future. Your suggestions appear interesting (Strauss, Janácek, Mussorgsky, Bartók, Vaughan Williams, etc.)

P.S.: Nice to see you again cilgwyn. Were you on vacation?  ;D

Most of Janacek's operas are reasonably short. My first one wash Katya Kabanova, probably a good one to start with. I can second vandermolen's recommendation of RVW' s Riders to the Sea but beware it is very bleak.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 24, 2018, 03:47:22 AM
I'm sure I'd like 'The Greek Passion' and regret missing the chance to see 'Julietta' when I had the chance to decades ago.
I think you would like some of that opera. If you ever do;I would recommend the old Supraphon recording with Mackerras and the WNO. It's in English,too. A an absolutely terrific performance,imho! I must get the cd set when I've got enough spare dosh. I've got the cassette tape set. I am able to play it,though,fortunately! Yes,I think it is an opera that might appeal to those who normally dislike operatic warbling,of the canary school! Puccini's La Boheme,which I'm listening to now,NO! ;D (I'm not really into Puccini;I'm just an Anna Moffo fan!)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 24, 2018, 03:51:46 AM
Try Vaughan Williams's 'Riders to the Sea' Caesar. It is very short for an opera and very moving in my view. cilgwyn had computer problems.
It's the grimness of the storyline that has always put me off. I'm recommending The Greek Passion,but I should,really,hear Riders to the Sea. I will start looking out for a s/h copy. But not just yet. I don't want to frighten the postman,too much!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on March 24, 2018, 04:49:02 AM
I think you would like some of that opera. If you ever do;I would recommend the old Supraphon recording with Mackerras and the WNO. It's in English,too. A an absolutely terrific performance,imho! I must get the cd set when I've got enough spare dosh. I've got the cassette tape set. I am able to play it,though,fortunately! Yes,I think it is an opera that might appeal to those who normally dislike operatic warbling,of the canary school! Puccini's La Boheme,which I'm listening to now,NO! ;D (I'm not really into Puccini;I'm just an Anna Moffo fan!)
Apparently audio-cassettes are coming back into fashion. Mackerras was one of my favourite conductors, Suk's 'Asrael', Walton's First Symphony, Martinu etc. Will look out for The Greek Passion. Thanks for the recommendation.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 24, 2018, 05:47:26 AM
I hope so. I quite like them;and unlike Lp's,you can record on them. Although,I'm sure there was some gadget that recorded on a kind of single,made out of thin plastic;that you sometimes came up on? I'm sure you put money into a slot,and you  could sing into it,or something? But maybe I imagined it?!! (There was a floppy sort of record that sometimes came in magazines?)
Anyway ::) ;D................One thing I remember about The Greek Passion was that the orchestral textures were so startling. Almost hallucinatory. Like the ones in the Sixth symphony. They really grabbed the old ear 'oles. I 'd be listening for them,waiting for these outburst from the orchestra. To my young ears,like the sounds in the symphonies,they seemed quite extraordinary. His use of the voice,too,in places. I seem to remember some of the choral passages are fantastic. If you have heard some of his choral music,you will know what I am referring to. And it's in English,of course! Yes,I think it's quite possible you might like this one. Even my father,who doesn't care much for music,was warm towards this one. Although,of course,the involvement of the WNO probably helped!! ;D

And,erm...............back to Szymanowski!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on March 24, 2018, 05:55:14 AM
I hope so. I quite like them;and unlike Lp's,you can record on them. Although,I'm sure there was some gadget that recorded on a kind of single,made out of thin plastic;that you sometimes came up on? I'm sure you put money into a slot,and you  could sing into it,or something? But maybe I imagined it?!! (There was a floppy sort of record that sometimes came in magazines?)
Anyway ::) ;D................One thing I remember about The Greek Passion was that the orchestral textures were so startling. Almost hallucinatory. Like the ones in the Sixth symphony. They really grabbed the old ear 'oles. I 'd be listening for them,waiting for these outburst from the orchestra. To my young ears,like the sounds in the symphonies,they seemed quite extraordinary. His use of the voice,too,in places. I seem to remember some of the choral passages are fantastic. If you have heard some of his choral music,you will know what I am referring to. And it's in English,of course! Yes,I think it's quite possible you might like this one. Even my father,who doesn't care much for music,was warm towards this one. Although,of course,the involvement of the WNO probably helped!! ;D

And,erm...............back to Szymanowski!

Well, the recent Supraphon CD of 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' was sensational so I will definitely get The Greek Passion. Yes, back to Szymanowski
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 24, 2018, 07:48:32 AM
Szymanowski’s Litania do Najświętszej Marii Panny (Litany to the Virgin Mary) may very well be my favorite work from him. It’s a short work as it was left unfinished and only two movements were completed. The vocal writing is just beyond this world and the accompanying music is haunting. I’d love to hear a chamber ensemble reduction of this work just to be able to hear every strand of texture.

A little background to the work here:

http://culture.pl/en/work/litany-to-the-virgin-mary-op-59-karol-szymanowski (http://culture.pl/en/work/litany-to-the-virgin-mary-op-59-karol-szymanowski)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vandermolen on March 24, 2018, 07:55:28 AM
Szymanowski’s Litania do Najświętszej Marii Panny (Litany to the Virgin Mary) may very well be my favorite work from him. It’s a short work as it was left unfinished and only two movements were completed. The vocal writing is just beyond this world and the accompanying music is haunting. I’d love to hear a chamber ensemble reduction of this work just to be able to hear every strand of texture.

A little background to the work here:

http://culture.pl/en/work/litany-to-the-virgin-mary-op-59-karol-szymanowski (http://culture.pl/en/work/litany-to-the-virgin-mary-op-59-karol-szymanowski)
Also one of my favourite works by Syzmanowski.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 24, 2018, 12:20:19 PM
Try Vaughan Williams's 'Riders to the Sea' Caesar. It is very short for an opera and very moving in my view. cilgwyn had computer problems.

It seems alluring. Thanks for the recommendation!

Too bad to hear that about cilgwyn. Fortunately he came back.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on March 24, 2018, 12:21:54 PM
Szymanowski’s Litania do Najświętszej Marii Panny (Litany to the Virgin Mary) may very well be my favorite work from him. It’s a short work as it was left unfinished and only two movements were completed. The vocal writing is just beyond this world and the accompanying music is haunting. I’d love to hear a chamber ensemble reduction of this work just to be able to hear every strand of texture.

A little background to the work here:

http://culture.pl/en/work/litany-to-the-virgin-mary-op-59-karol-szymanowski (http://culture.pl/en/work/litany-to-the-virgin-mary-op-59-karol-szymanowski)

Count me as another admirer of this gorgeous work. His choral writing was awe-inspiring indeed.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 24, 2018, 06:48:01 PM
Count me as another admirer of this gorgeous work. His choral writing was awe-inspiring indeed.

Also one of my favourite works by Syzmanowski.

Indeed, guys. 8) It’s hard not to be seduced by his magical way with writing for voices.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 29, 2018, 04:15:22 AM


Classical CD Of The Week: Szymanowski's Works For Violin And Piano
(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FForbes_Classical-CD-of-the-Week_SZYMANOWSKI_Brilliant_Monteiro-Santos_Classical-Critic-Jens-F-Laurson-960_.jpg)
Karol Szymanowski is one of the great, usually underrated, often overlooked composers of the 20th Century; case in point his works for violin and piano.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/28/classical-cd-of-the-week-szymanowskis-works-for-violin-and-piano/ (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/28/classical-cd-of-the-week-szymanowskis-works-for-violin-and-piano/)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2018, 05:33:34 AM

Classical CD Of The Week: Szymanowski's Works For Violin And Piano
(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FForbes_Classical-CD-of-the-Week_SZYMANOWSKI_Brilliant_Monteiro-Santos_Classical-Critic-Jens-F-Laurson-960_.jpg)
Karol Szymanowski is one of the great, usually underrated, often overlooked composers of the 20th Century; case in point his works for violin and piano.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/28/classical-cd-of-the-week-szymanowskis-works-for-violin-and-piano/ (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/28/classical-cd-of-the-week-szymanowskis-works-for-violin-and-piano/)

I haven’t heard that disc, Jens, but have you heard the Ibragimova/Tiberghien disc of these works on Hyperion? Such a great disc.

(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571177038.png)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 29, 2018, 05:50:05 AM
I haven’t heard that disc, Jens, but have you heard the Ibragimova/Tiberghien disc of these works on Hyperion? Such a great disc.

(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571177038.png)

I suspect it might/would be; I mention as much in my review (which actually covers two releases, but not the Hyperion), as the post scriptum.  ;)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2018, 05:51:54 AM
I suspect it might/would be; I mention as much in my review, which really covers two different releases, as the post scriptum.  ;)

Ah, very good. Sorry, Jens, I posted before I even read the article. :-[
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vers la flamme on August 15, 2019, 02:05:16 PM
I've been getting into Szymanowski a bit lately after having picked up a Naxos CD with his symphonies 3 and 4 a few months ago, and listening intermittently. Now I've just gotten another Naxos CD with the 1st and 2nd violin concertos (soloist Ilya Kaler, who is phenomenal, backed by Antoni Wit conducting the Warsaw Philharmonic). This is very, very good stuff. I really love this overripe, lush, late/post-Romantic music, and Szymanowski is up there with the best of them. So rich and dense, yet so melodic, and very harmonically and texturally colorful. His piano music is interesting too, but I have yet to really immerse myself in it. I have a Naxos CD played by Martin Roscoe, who is pretty good.

Finally, I really want to spend more time with his opera King Roger (his only opera...?) which can also be had cheaply thanks to Naxos. That label is really doing great things for our classical music culture...

Anyway, is Karol Szymanowski one of a handful of truly great Polish composers? Are there more than a handful? I have been on a mission to discover the great Polish composers and he is one of them in my eyes, alongside Chopin, Lutoslawski, Penderecki, and possibly Górecki (haven't heard enough of his music to decide, but he did write at least one absolutely phenomenal piece: the famous 3rd symphony, a stroke of genius). I think he brought Polish music into the 20th century.

So has anyone listening to any Szymanowski lately? The thread has been dead for over a year now.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on August 15, 2019, 03:27:04 PM
The 2 violin concertos are out of this world, really splendid indeed. Once I attended a concert featuring the 1st Violin Concerto, needless to say I was blown away by it. I'm a fan of this distinctive composer. The 2 string quartets belong to his best works IMO. It's also worth exploring the Stabat Mater, Litany to the Virgin Mary, and Harnasie. I'm not very fond of his piano music, they lack spark.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: kyjo on August 15, 2019, 03:59:55 PM
Szymanowski is an excellent composer in my book. Much of his music has both the intoxicating lushness of Scriabin and the edgy folk rhythms of Bartok (though, of course, he has a hugely individual voice). His 3rd and 4th symphonies (the latter is my favorite work of his), both violin concerti, Stabat mater, Litany to the Virgin Mary, and Love Songs of Hafiz are all top-notch works. I’m reminded that I need to check out Harnasie and Król Roger...
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: vers la flamme on August 16, 2019, 01:42:15 AM
String quartets, noted. I have heard nothing of them and shall have to check them out. I don't agree that his piano works lack spark, but I am thus far less fond of them than I am the orchestral music.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Todd on August 29, 2020, 10:16:42 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81WlODQYjkL._SX425_.jpg)


It is an incontrovertible, empirical fact that the world does not have enough recordings of the piano music of Karol Szymanowski. (That applies to all of Szymanowski's music, really.)  Polish label Dux does its part to rectify this shortage by releasing more titles of the composer's music than pretty much any other label.  Indeed, 2018 saw the label release two recordings of the Op 1 Preludes.  I happened to pick up this recording by Radosław Sobczak, one of those two recordings.  No need to beat around the bush, Sobczak is among the best Szymanowski interpreters on disc, right up their with Piotr Anderszewski, Rafał Blechacz, and Sinae Lee.  In the Preludes he fully explores the composer's harmonic invention and dazzles the listener.  The E Flat Minor not only displays that, but it also shows Sobczak to have a finely honed touch as he very finely grades his dynamics, often playing two or three different levels at once with immaculate control.  The Second Sonata receives a superb performance, one where that harmonic daring marries to grand scale to most compelling effect.  Indeed, with Blechacz's take on the First, and Anderszewski's take on the Third, there is now a proper, reference grade recording of each of the three sonatas.  (This is not to take anything away from the exceptionally fine Ms Lee, to be clear.)  The two Mazurkas and one Etude make for an extended encore that really deliver.  Dux delivers SOTA sound, as per usual.  An outstanding disc in every way.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Maestro267 on August 30, 2020, 05:16:40 AM
It's kind of baffling how there is not a single recording that collects together all 4 symphonies. I've seen 2-4 together in a set, and Rattle's 4-fer includes just 3 & 4.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Roasted Swan on August 30, 2020, 11:44:59 AM
Is there a more Strauss-but-not-by-Strauss piece than Szymanowksi's Concert Overture!?  I listened to it the other day as part of the excellent Capriccio/Modern Times disc;

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81K49lfC9BL._AC_UY218_.jpg)

A really well constructed programme that goes from Szymanowksi at his most heroic, via the sinfonia Concertante to the swooning songs and entertaining tarantella.....
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: kyjo on September 01, 2020, 08:55:43 AM
Is there a more Strauss-but-not-by-Strauss piece than Szymanowksi's Concert Overture!?  I listened to it the other day as part of the excellent Capriccio/Modern Times disc;

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81K49lfC9BL._AC_UY218_.jpg)

A really well constructed programme that goes from Szymanowksi at his most heroic, via the sinfonia Concertante to the swooning songs and entertaining tarantella.....

To answer your question, I don’t think so! :D It almost embarrassingly cribs Don Juan in places, but that doesn’t stop it from being great fun!
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on September 01, 2020, 11:05:00 AM
Not to say his first two symphonies: lush and voluptuous in a Straussian way.
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Roasted Swan on September 04, 2020, 11:27:11 PM
Not to say his first two symphonies: lush and voluptuous in a Straussian way.

the trouble with a phrase like that is it makes me imagine Strauss in a dress........! (clearly I have deeper issues than I have previously addressed)  :)
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Scion7 on September 06, 2020, 10:04:42 AM
the trouble with a phrase like that is it makes me imagine Strauss in a dress........!

Well, considering how hen-pecked the man was, in a way, Frau Strauss was the 'other' part of Richard - the manager, the task-master, the accountant. So him in a dress is relevant ... sort of ...   ???
Title: Re: Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on October 16, 2020, 06:12:04 PM
Recordings of the Preludes I like. Dariescu plays the Preludes of Shostakovich as well as Sz. The performance of Sz presents relaxed and languorous feel. Atmospheric music. I don’t know about the Sh Preludes, so no opinion about them. Vaysse-Knitter plays a mixture of piano works including the Preludes and Variations. The music is picturesque while it maintains some pleasant coolness and enigma. Very sophisticated performance. I am not a fan of the Sinae Lee set.