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Karol Szymanowski (10/03/1882 - 3/29/1937)

The Polish composer Karol Szymanowski was born in the Ukraine, once part of the kingdom of Poland, but studied in Warsaw; he was much influenced by Chopin and then by Wagner, Richard Strauss, Brahms and Reger. From a well-to-do and cultured family, he read widely, particularly between 1914 and 1917 when he remained on the family estate in the Ukraine (a property then destroyed in the Civil War). The breadth of his cultural knowledge is reflected in his music and in particular in his settings of a variety of literary texts. Musically he is able at times to draw on specifically Polish material, and on his own perceptions of Arabic and Persian culture.

Stage Works

The principal opera of Szymanowski is King Roger, a work influenced by the Bacchae of Euripides. Here Dionysus returns to similar effect in medieval Sicily. The ballet Harnasie won some success at its first performance in Prague, followed by performance in Paris.

Vocal Music



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