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Karol Szymanowski: Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3 "Song of the Night" CD


Price: 6.01 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Karol Szymanowski: Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3 "Song of the Night" + Szymanowski: Symphonies 1 & 4 + Szymanowski - Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2
Price For All Three: 18.03

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Warsaw Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Composer: Karol Szymanowski
  • Audio CD (3 Mar 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0013JZ4GC
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,315 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: I. Allegro moderato - GraziosoWarsaw Philharmonic Orchestra13:01Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: II. Theme: Lento -Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra 1:260.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: II. Variation 1: L'istesso tempo -Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra 1:190.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: II. Variation 2: L'istesso tempo -Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra 1:540.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: II. Variation 3: Scherzando. Molto vivace -Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra 2:390.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: II. Variation 4: Tempo di gavotte -Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra 2:460.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: II. Variation 5: Tempo di minuetto -Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra 2:450.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: II. Variation 6: Vivace e capriccioso -Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra 1:210.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19: II. FugaWarsaw Philharmonic Orchestra 7:300.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Symphony No. 3, Op. 27, "Piesn o nocy" (The Song of the Night): I. Moderato assaiRyszard Minkiewicz 8:39Album Only
Listen11. Symphony No. 3, Op. 27, "Piesn o nocy" (The Song of the Night): II. Allegretto tranquilloRyszard Minkiewicz 7:350.69  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Symphony No. 3, Op. 27, "Piesn o nocy" (The Song of the Night): III. LargoRyszard Minkiewicz 9:46Album Only

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Mar 2008
Format: Audio CD
Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) was a hugely talented composer who came from a country, Poland, whose music did not easily travel to western Europe, and in spite of the advocacy of such well-known musicians as Arthur Rubinstein and Pawel Kochanski, that has not changed much. There have, however, been recordings of all four of his symphonies available for some time now and each one that I've heard has its value. This CD contains Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3. And I must confess that neither performance here is my favorite, although they are quite good in their own way. For the Second I prefer the recording of Leon Botstein and the London Philharmonic and for the Third I very much like that of Jerzy Semkow and the Polish National Radio Symphony which also contains Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4, as well as other orchestral music of Szymanowski. The Botstein is at full-price, the Semkow is a two-CD set at budget price. However, the present recording will certainly do nicely. My preference of the other two recordings is not by a large margin.

These two symphonies, which were composed only six years apart, are from two virtually exclusive worlds. The Second is influenced strongly by the style of Richard Strauss and perhaps Max Reger, with a touch of impressionism, the latter a characteristic that became stronger in Szymanowski's music as he matured. It is in two movements. The first is in 'the grand manner' according to Szymanowski himself and certainly at moments sounds enough like Strauss to be mistaken for something of his. The second movement essentially takes the place of the usual three final movements, with a theme and nine variations ending in a grand fugue, the latter Regerian. Overall, there is a harmonic lushness which is contributed to by Szymanowski's rich orchestration.
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By Mr. A. R. Boyes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Nov 2013
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
This is as fine a version of Szymanowski's headily perfumed Third Symphony, which is aided by the bright and spacious sound. The only gripe is that the tenor does sound a little lightweight but he is supported by a tremendous choir in top form. The Warsaw Philharmonic, not surprisingly, are excellent with Antoni Wit yet again directing this music with great insight. The bonus here is how effectively the Second Symphony comes across. Yes Szymanowski may not have developed his own individual musical voice with this work strongly influenced by Richard Strauss but this comes across as a cogent, dense and very energetic work with some of the brighter colours of the Third's orchestration beginning to appear.

You'll be hard pressed to find better advocates of these works than here: highly recommended.
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By swgg29 on 21 Mar 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As with my brief review of Symphonies 1 and 4, as a newcomer to this music, I cannot recommend these recordings or this music more highly. I love the music from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and these symphonies do not disappoint.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DAVID POTTER on 23 Sep 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My daughter was singing in a chorus performing it. I couldn't go to the concert so bought the record. Not altogether to my taste, but it will probably grow on me the more I listen to it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Exotic worlds 7 April 2008
By Jim Shine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Simon Rattle has been a champion of Karol Szymanowski, and Naxos has released quite a few discs. Hopefully this new one will be another step along the way to his entering the mainstream. Having said that, these are not your average symphonies.
No.2 was completed in 1910 and first performed in Warsaw the following year, where it wasn't well received - Szymanowski had moved on from the popular taste, but the symphony did better abroad. The booklet notes remark on the influence of Scriabin, and I've read elsewhere that Reger was also an influence. Perhaps these seem like opposing forces, but you can hear a little of both. I also am reminded of Strauss and, in terms of the way the orchestra is used, Mahler. But the symphony's not just a patchwork of other men's work, it's very much itself. The structure is unusual - two movements, the second almost twice as long as the first and in theme-and-variation form but kind of split into 3 sections along traditional slow-scherzo-finale lines. The symphony begins with an odd little violin tune, a motif that recurs many times throughout, like a thread the composer keeps teasing at. It's a likeable movement, with various climaxes and a quiet ending. On my first listen I felt at times a nagging sameness of tempo, but second time round this wasn't an issue. The second movement begins with a mainly reflective theme, again with the violin in charge, and the first and second variations continue much in this vein. I see variations 3 to 6 as the "scherzo movement", although they're shot through with quieter passages. They're followed by a big fugue that builds up for several minutes with mounting excitement before coming to a halt, and the symphony then ends on a thrilling climax. Given the (relative) shortness of the finale and the general sameness of mood throughout the rest of the movement, I'm not sure the big ending was quite "earned", but it is fun.
Symphony no.3 was completed 6 years after no.2, and in the intervening period Szymanowski had travelled to Vienna and on through Italy to North Africa, returning to Poland via Rome, Paris, and London. Among the influences picked up on this journey were those of Ravel and Debussy and of Stravinsky. At the time he was also interested in Islamic culture, and the third symphony sets words (in Polish translation) by medieval Persian mystic Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi. The first movement begins mysteriously, depicting a hot, sleepless night; the sound world is an exotic one quite different from the second symphony. At first the chorus seems to be another instrument of the orchestra, although later it becomes more prominent. The words here urge the soul heavenward in the night, with a huge climax about 7 minutes in. The second movement, with wordless choir included, has quite a fast pulse under it, sounding to me like the description of a mystical journey. There's a strongly evocative orientalism to the music, but it's not of the picture-postcard sort you get from, say, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. This is more "authentic", suggesting Szymanowski had fully immersed himself in this world. The last movement begins quietly but there's another massive, ecstatic climax; when it's died down, the texture has become more refined and the ending is almost ghostly. I enjoyed this performance so much I immediately turned to Rattle's recording (on EMI, with Szymanowski's Stabat Mater) to remind myself how he approached it. It must be said that the sound quality on EMI is in a different class, with everything much clearer. But it's Wit who gives the better performance I think, more exotic and more exciting.
So, an entertaining 2nd and a superb 3rd: definitely one to get.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Two Szymanowski Symphonies That Show His Evolving Style 31 Mar 2008
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) was a hugely talented composer who came from a country, Poland, whose music did not easily travel to western Europe, and in spite of the advocacy of such well-known musicians as Arthur Rubinstein and Pawel Kochanski, that has not changed much. There have, however, been recordings of all four of his symphonies available for some time now and each one that I've heard has its value. This CD contains Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3. And I must confess that neither performance here is my favorite, although they are quite good in their own way. For the Second I prefer the recording of Leon Botstein and the London Philharmonic The Music of Szymanowski and for the Third I very much like that of Jerzy Semkow and the Polish National Radio Symphony Szymanowski: Symphonies #2-4, Harnasie, 2 Mazurkas, Concert Overture in E which also contains Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4, as well as other orchestral music of Szymanowski. The Botstein is at full-price, the Semkow is a two-CD set at budget price. However, the present recording will certainly do nicely. My preference of the other two recordings is not by a large margin.

These two symphonies, which were composed only six years apart, are from two virtually exclusive worlds. The Second is influenced strongly by the style of Richard Strauss and perhaps Max Reger, with a touch of impressionism, the latter a characteristic that became stronger in Szymanowski's music as he matured. It is in two movements. The first is in 'the grand manner' according to Szymanowski himself and certainly at moments sounds enough like Strauss to be mistaken for something of his. The second movement essentially takes the place of the usual three final movements, with a theme and nine variations ending in a grand fugue, the latter Regerian. Overall, there is a harmonic lushness which is contributed to by Szymanowski's rich orchestration.

The Third Symphony is subtitled 'Song of the Night'. In three movements, its first and third movements include a tenor soloist and a choir singing a Polish translation of two night-poems by the Persian mystic Mevlana Jalal al-Din, as well as a prominent violin obbligato. The musical style is rhapsodic and ecstatic and is influenced by Scriabin and Debussy, particularly the former. Tenor Ryszard Minkiewicz has a rather dry sound -- certainly not the equal of Wieslaw Ochman on the Semkow recording -- but he acts well with the voice. The choir of the Warsaw Philharmonic, however, is outstanding, although recorded just a bit distantly. The Warsaw Philharmonic under Antoni Wit certainly have this music in their hearts and fingers.

If you want both symphonies -- and who wouldn't? -- this is a reasonable pick -- but if you have a little more money to spend I'd suggest you go for the Botstein (Symph. No. 2) and the Semkow (Symph. No.3), and if you buy both you'll get a whole lot more of Szymanowski's mesmerizing music.

Scott Morrison
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