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SZYMANOWSKI, K.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4 / Concert Overture / Study in B-Flat Minor (Warsaw Philharmonic, Wit)

Composer(s):Szymanowski, Karol
Artist(s) Wit, Antoni, Conductor • Warsaw Philharmonic OrchestraBroja, Jan Krzysztof, piano
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.570722
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps

Although Szymanowski later dubbed his First Symphony a “contrapuntal-harmonic-orchestral monster” and disavowed the influence of Wagner, Reger and Richard Strauss (also evident in the opulent Concert Overture), it is an astonishingly powerful work by a composer only in his mid-20s and still enthralls a century after its première. He described his Fourth Symphony as “nearly a concerto” owing to the piano’s prominent rôle, its highly-charged Neo-baroque character inviting comparison with Stravinsky. Szymanowski’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 gained Gramophone Editor’s Choice and 5 STARS for these “deliriously sensual scores” from ClassicFM ().



Review By David Denton,Naxos,March 2009

Unkindly disowned by Szymanowski in his later life, the Wagner-influenced First Symphony comes in total contrast to the Polish nationalism of the Fourth. Just twenty-five when he completed the two short movements, the work runs parallel, and in many ways similar, to Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, often rising to erotic passages of sensuality. In that genre it is a powerful statement, made all the more so by this superb account from the Warsaw Philharmonic conducted by Antoni Wit. Twenty-five years separated this from the Fourth—also known as the Symphonie Concertante—by which time Szymanowski’s wanderlust was at an end and he had returned to his homeland. Financial difficulties certainly turned his



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