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Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released September 2, 2013 | LSO Live

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Classical - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released September 30, 2008 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique
The pieces included on Naxos' 2008 release of choral works by Karol Szymanowski exactly matches those of its 1996 recording featuring Karol Stryja leading the Polish State Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, but the remarkable quality of this new version fully justifies the duplication of the repertoire. Antoni Wit, whose stature has become more recognized in the West since the turn of the century, conducts the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir in luxuriant readings of some of the composer's most appealing choral and vocal compositions. The Stabat Mater is a paradoxical work (in the best way), monumental but intimate, austere in tone but lush in its musical language. Szymanowski's success in integrating these disparate elements gives it a power and uniqueness that demand attention; it certainly deserves to be recognized as one of the masterworks of twentieth century choral music. In this impassioned performance, the orchestra, chorus, and soloists soprano Iwona Hossa, mezzo-soprano Ewa Marciniec, and baritone Jaroslàw Brek bring a searing dramatic intensity to the piece. One of its most telling moments is the intimate closing in which the three solo voices are highlighted. The remaining works on the CD share the compelling musical language the composer employs in the Stabat Mater: a saturated post-Romanticism tinged with impressionism, Eastern European folk traditions, and a sense of Middle Eastern mystery and exoticism. Veni, Creator is a grand and triumphant cry of exultation interspersed with radiant solos. The two movements of Litany to the Virgin Mary are a serenely ecstatic hymn of praise. Demeter and Penthesilea are secular cantatas, the first for alto and women's chorus and orchestra and the second for soprano and orchestra, and they are even more frankly sensual in their appeal: rhapsodic and passionate retellings of ancient myths. The performances throughout match those of the Stabat Mater in their heat and atmospheric coloring. The sound is flawless, warm, and pristine, with just the right amount of resonance. © TiVo

Classical - Released March 3, 2017 | WM Poland - WMI

Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released March 25, 2008 | Naxos

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Classical - Released February 24, 2009 | Naxos

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released April 28, 2009 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Polish composer Karol Szymanowski was touched by many of the stylistic currents that crossed Europe in the early twentieth century, but a good performance of his music is one that emphasizes the Polishness he brought to his music even as he adopted ideas from the outside. This one, part of a fine series from Naxos exploring the works of this somewhat underrated composer, is superb. Featured here are the beginning and ending works of Szymanowski's symphonic career, entirely different in character. The Symphony No. 4, Op. 60, "Symphonie Concertante," takes its nickname from its prominent piano part; it is not a sinfonia concertante in the Classical sense, with multiple solo instruments, but a symphony with a prominent solo part. The treatment of texture and the use of the piano might be likened to Stravinsky, but the overall effect is different: the music is not dry but lyrical, with a definite streak of the Polish folk music that always seems to lurk under the surface in Szymanowski's music. Pianist Jan Krzysztof Broja is on top of every detail, and the subtle balances between piano and orchestra that are characteristic of the piece are beautifully handled. The Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 15, which Szymanowski first ridiculed as a"Monstrum kontrapunktyczno-harmoniczno-orchestrowe" and then later completely disowned as too Wagnerian, is a less important piece, but isn't dull in the least and is not, paradoxically, wholly Wagnerian in effect. The symphonies are bookended by a little-known but colorful Concert Overture, Op. 12, and an orchestral version of the early and very Chopin-like Study in B flat minor, Op. 4/3, better known in its original piano version. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, and a good place, along with its companion recording featuring the second and third symphonies, to start with this composer. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 3, 2013 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released June 3, 2013 | LSO Live

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Classical - Released August 9, 2019 | Naxos

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By no means a virtuoso pianist, Karol Szymanowski nonetheless devoted a considerable amount of effort to composing solo piano music, at times dazzling artists like Arthur Rubinstein with his inventiveness and originality. In many ways like his contemporary, Alexander Scriabin, Szymanowski developed an opulent Romantic style, reminiscent of Chopin, into a more complex melding of impressionistic tone colors and dissonant textures that explored the limits of conventional tonality. While the youthful Preludes, Op. 1 offer a nostalgic sentimentality, and the Études, Op. 4 reveal an interest in advanced techniques beyond Szymanowski's own skills, the percussive sonorities and knotty harmonies characteristic of the Études, Op. 33 and Masques, Op. 34 shows a modernistic edge that cuts through conventions. Andrea Vivanet plays five selections from the Preludes, Op. 1, but performs the remaining sets in their entirety, demonstrating both his agility in the most difficult passages and an alertness to their shifting moods, as well as energetic responses to their frequent fiery outbursts. The haunting poetry of Masques makes it one of Szymanowski's masterpieces, and Vivanet handles its shimmering effects with a sensitivity that fully captures its fleeting shades of light and darkness. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 2, 2008 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 20, 2017 | DOREMI

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Classical - Released March 17, 2008 | Warner Classics

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Solo Piano - Released October 19, 2018 | DUX

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released April 1, 2013 | Divine Art

It's startling how music that no one knows gradually enters the repertory and becomes part of it -- in the 1960s, the piano music of Polish composer Karol Szymanowski was considered quite exotic fare and very little of it was recorded. In the 1970s, pianists such as Martin Jones, Carol Rosenberger, Felicja Blumental, and others made a number of pioneering efforts on his behalf. By July 2007 pieces such as Four Etudes, Op. 4; Masques; and Metopes are practically mainstream and his "complete" piano music has been recorded at least three times before young Korean pianist Sinae Lee has ventured forth, on her own dime, in a three-year project to record them all herself. Undertaken between 2002 and 2005 in order to realize her doctorate in piano performance -- what a doctoral thesis! -- this is now released by the Divine Art Record Company for the public to enjoy. Lee's set is more "complete" than the others by virtue of three minutes; namely a never-before-recorded Prelude in C sharp minor from 1901. This is a startling find, as Szymanowski's relatively modest known output for piano has been established for some time and, while the existence of other, particularly early pieces, has been postulated, his worklist has proven stubbornly intractable to expansion. Szymanowski's piano music covers his entire 35-year career as a composer and moves with, and at times, a little ahead of, the stream of musical developments current in his time. Lee moves right along with the composer -- she is luxuriantly romantic in the early works, free flowing, and dynamic in the Scriabin-influenced middle works (check out what a wonderful job she does in "Calypso" from Metopes) and pithy, tart, and perfectly timed in the more acerbic, whimsical late works. While the "new" prelude is very attractive, you should get this set because it is such a terrific survey of Szymanowski's works overall, a highly significant cycle within twentieth century piano music. Lee's sensitive and probing performances of Szymanowski provide a marvelous, fulfilling, and informative way to spend four hours, and chances are the listener will not want to limit one's exposure to Karol Szymanowski: The Complete Piano Music to just that. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released March 3, 2017 | Genuin

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Classical - Released November 4, 2014 | Chandos

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Classical - Released April 11, 1995 | Naxos

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Classical - Released April 1, 2015 | Brilliant Classics