THE COMPOSER WHO STILL REMAINS A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY | Daily News

THE COMPOSER WHO STILL REMAINS A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY

Karol Szymanowski; who is he?

A contemporary of Manual Ponce, Nicolai Miaskovsky and several famous composers, influenced by greats such as Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin etc. Szymanweky was born in Ukraine and became the most revered Polish composer of the twentieth century. Yet, very little of his music is played at concerts that made the majority of people never heard of him even in Poland. The piano was his favourite instrument, something he inherited from his parents who were outstanding pianists. Szymanowski met up with Rubinstein at the Warsaw Conservatory where he majored in classical music. Szymanowski and Rubinstein remained lifelong friends... In 1926, his music gradually gained international recognition and was promoted as the director of the Warsaw Conservatory. Among his many scores, the one that stood out was -;

Stabat Mater (1925-26) Composed especially for the voice as well as for the orchestra and chorus; it has a beautiful enchanting setting that mingles with religious and national feeling. This liturgical piece blends with polish rhythm and its melody that belongs to the sixteenth-century polyphony inspired his life.

The virtuoso composer-Violinist, Szymanowski's violin concertos have been relatively slow to make their mark at the proms performances. The first to arrive recently in 1998 when Raphael Oleg was accompanied by Libor Pesek with Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Kyoko Takezewa in 2002 and Frank Zimmerman in 2006 have been its only redeemers.

Poland's greatest composer of the twentieth century, he wrote his first two concertos in1916 which he later described as his impressionist period when he discovered himself as a composer.

VIOLIN CONCERTO No.1, Op.35 -Scored in 1916 draws from the orchestra a unique and instantly recognizable concerto. The sheer number of instruments judging by the standards of the early 20th century is hardly remarkable though the instrumentation is derived from two harps as well as from a piano along with several percussion instruments.

The effect of spaciousness is extraordinary. His melody and harmony are typical of iconic Composers of the time.

The bitonal and whole-tonal elements mixed to scored Violin Concerto No.1 makes this work exceptionally melodious and soothing on strings and achieve an effect of transparency. Szymanowski admits with profound joy that the style of writing the solo part, was developed with the help of his friend, violinist Pawel Kochanski and together, they created a new mode of expression for the violin Pitched mostly very high, it is intended only for very high and most accomplished players, possessing a very sweet tone.

All these technical devices are collected in the cadenza which Kochanski played near the end of this work.

Today, maestro violinist-Baiba Skride raises her violin sky-high to resurrect Karol Szymanowski. Her brilliant playing, for which she is noted worldwide, never fell short of this great score. It was her day under the baton of conductor, Vasily Petrenko. Baiba Skride proved nothing is impossible when the violin speaks under magical fingers.

However dazzling the writing for the violin, the concerto is not a vehicle for masterly display while the orchestra is used with restraint; there is no dramatic confrontation or argument between the soloist and orchestra. Szymanowski's inspiration for Violin Concerto No.1 is from a poem May Night by Tedeus Micinski.

If Szymanowsky fabulous score has lately acquired greater mainstream appeal, it was the advocacy of 2004's Bbc Young Musician Of The Year, Nicola Benedetti who played the work in the final of the competition and recorded it with Harding and the LSO. Sir Simon Rattle set down both Szymanowski violin concertos with Thomas Zehetmair and the CSBO in 1995.

Szymanowski just could not resist the lyrics found in MAY NIGHT by poet, Tadeusz; he put every fabulous vision of nature into Violin Concerto No.1. One will find the shimmer of the pond, fireflies kissing the wild-rose, flowers of the lake, twinkling blue water, oak grove, kingfishers, woods and the glades, nature is unlimited in this concerto.

The violin reaches for the hills far away, clustered around with the hanging bough of trees, the composer found his dream. He used to open out his heart to them; they were his inspiration. The violin reveals his heart.

Szymanowski The Enigma - all emotions rolled into one; that is Karol Szymanowski, the celebrated Polish composer of the 20th century. He and the late pope John Paul 11 are the country's most precious sons and revered. The piano was his first instrument but his scores were mostly directed at the violin and they all sizzled on strings. Both his parents played and were wealthy and cultured landowners that account to the composer's achievements and status in society. His youthful music is rich with Chopin influence, a quality that appealed to the pianist, Arthur Rubinstein whom he met at the Warsaw Conservatory in 1901 and remained lifelong friend as well as a champion of his music.

His fame spread rapidly after the publication of his first score by the Association of Young Polish Composers.

Following his father's death in 1906, he travelled extensively from Paris to Rome, Greece, Algiers and Morocco.

With his homosexually and a boyhood suffering from a limp condition, threw him back to a reserved, EFEBOS that partly influenced his First Symphony revealed a stylish, fastidious, highly sensitive personality which he confronted in a novel called, EFEBOS that partly influenced his First Symphony but was criticized for being too elaborate. However, his Second Symphony revealed a stylish change influenced by Stravinsky and was received better. He suffered much pain when in 1917; his family estate plundered by the revolutionists and lost everything. Although his music is tonal and not readily accessible at first hearing, it was a strange individual voice full of mysticism. As his music gained international recognition, he accepted the post of director of the Warsaw Conservatory. He suffered from throat and lung infection due to heavy smoking and a fondness for vodka. He passed away in a Lousanne clinic.

Vasily Petrenko, once again the maestro conductor, Petrenko rose to the occasion to do proud to a great master from Poland, Szymanowski and wield the baton over a very complicated and difficult symphony that many conductors overlook.

He had the full orchestra of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, surfacing string to the fore though the score was written for the keyboard. It enabled to bring out the best of one of the world's leading violinist, Baiba Skride Centre- stage as a lead violinist, Petrenko could draw out the best from her that amazed the audience when she played solo.

And autumn did her best providing fresh aura for the new season.


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