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SZYMANOWSKI: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Nocturne and Tarantella

Composer(s):Szymanowski, Karol
Artist(s) Wit, Antoni, Conductor • Warsaw Philharmonic OrchestraKaler, Ilya, violin
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category ConcertosOrchestral
Catalogue 8.557981
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Karol Szymanowski was born in the Ukraine into a wealthy artistic family. Following the Russian Revolution the family returned to their native Poland, where Szymanowski found inspiration in the indigenous music. His lyrical Violin Concerto No. 1 was dedicated to his great friend, the violinist Pavel Kochański, and is remarkable for its clarity of texture. Inspired by Kochański’s visit to Poland in 1932, the Violin Concerto No. 2 was written towards the end of Szymanowski’s creative life. The two musicians worked together on the score, which shows influences of the music of the Polish mountain people. The intense and virtuosic Nocturne and Tarantella draws on the Impressionism of Debussy and early Stravinsky but also on Middle Eastern


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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Naxos offer an exceptionally clear recording of these four concertante works by Szymanowski, not just the two Violin Concertos but orchestrated versions of the Nocturne and Tarantella. Ilya Kaler, as on other Naxos discs, gives pure, clear readings, with flawless intonation and careful use of vibrato. Having a Polish conductor and orchestra as his accompanists adds to the idiomatic feel of each, with the magical orchestral sounds beautifully conjured up, particularly in No.1, the more radical of the two works. This matches any current version at whatever price.

Review By Scott Cantrell,The Dallas Morning News,October 2007

Born in Ukraine to a Polish father and a mother of Swedish extraction, Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) became the highest-profile Polish composer between Chopin and the moderns Witold Lutoslawski and Krzysztof Penderecki. Well-traveled and well-read, he brought various influences, such as Greek and Arab mythology and Polish folk music, to his compositions.

The scintillating sensuousness of Szymanowski's music often suggests comparison with the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, 10 years older. But listen to the early Violin Sonata and you'll hear more influences from the turn-of-the-20th-century Germans Richard Strauss and Max Reger.


Review By Anthony Clarke,Limelight Magazine,July 2007

One of the strengths of Naxos has always been its willingness to feature instrumentalists and orchestras found far from the grazing-fields of the big classical labels such as EMI or Decca. Here we have a superb partnership of violinist Ilya Kaler with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Antoni Wit, and I doubt if a stronger partnership could be found to give a more persuasive account of these works…[The two violin concertos] are impressive works which need repeated listening to yield their full measure. Filling out the disc are the composer’s Nocturne and Tarantella Op. 28, written for violin and piano, but here presented in an orchestral arrangement by another hand, Grzegorz Fitelberg, and drawing on both Spanish and Italian folk traditions.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,April 2007

The performances of Szymanowski's two violin concertos already on Naxos are regarded among the finest in the catalogue, and now they are augmented by a new version with the most beautiful recorded sound ever accorded to the composer. The disc immediately grabs my attention by its avoidance of spotlighting the soloist, the solo role in the opening of the first concerto often forming part of the general texture. The sheer ecstasy of the music continues to a pure orgasm of sound as we reach the climatic point of the score, the music eventually returning to its opening. The one point where the soloist is given a cadenza - supplied by the composer's friend, Kochanski - finds ample brilliance from Ilya Kaler, his instrument soaring on high in flights of musical eroticism. The



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