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Szymanowski - Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 [CD]

Antoni Wit Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 6.01 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Antoni Wit, one of the most highly regarded Polish conductors, studied conducting with Henryk Czyz and composition with Krzysztof Penderecki at the Academy of Music in Kraków, subsequently continuing his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He also graduated in law at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Immediately after completing his studies he was engaged as an assistant ... Read more in Amazon's Antoni Wit Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Szymanowski - Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 + Szymanowski: Symphonies 1 & 4 + Karol Szymanowski: Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3 "Song of the Night"
Price For All Three: 18.01

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Composer: Karol Szymanowski
  • Audio CD (2 April 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000NOIWS0
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,050 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.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35 (use): Vivace assai -Antoni Wit 6:090.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35 (use): Tempo comodo - Andantino -Ilya Kaler 5:590.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35 (use): Vivace scherzando -Antoni Wit 1:290.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35 (use): Poco meno - Allegretto -Ilya Kaler 6:520.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35 (use): Vivace (Tempo I)Antoni Wit 5:440.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61: Moderato - Molto tranquillo -Antoni Wit 6:020.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61: Andantino sostenuto -Ilya Kaler 6:340.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61: Allegramente - Molto energico -Antoni Wit 4:010.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61: Andantino - Molto tranquilloIlya Kaler 5:360.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Nocturne and Tarantella, Op. 28: Nocturne: Lento assaiIlya Kaler 5:360.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Nocturne and Tarantella, Op. 28: Tarantella: Presto appassionatoAntoni Wit 6:010.69  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Concertos pour violon & orchestre n°1 op.35 & n°2 op.61 - Nocturne & Tarantelle op.28 / Ilya Kaler, violon - Orchestre Philharmonique de Varsovie, dir. Antoni Wit

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Performances 16 Jun 2009
By Mr. A. R. Boyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
For those new to the Szymanowski concertos they will be a real find. the first concerto, one of his finest works, will sound particularly rhapsodic and free. There are, however, a limited number of themes repeated presented in a colourful variety of ways. There is a chromatic main theme that crowns the concerto's big climax. In one movement, the concerto sounds almost improvisatory in its progress with the most lush and colourful late romantic orchestration. Harmonically, as alluded to above, it is quite chromatic without threatening to break with tonality. The highly coloured orchestration shows the influence of early Stravinsky, as do other works of this period such as the Third Symphony (Song of the Night) and his opera King Roger.

Most concertos end with a flourish to please the crowds but this work has the confidence to end quietly after so many preceding pyrotechnics. Free in from it may be but every step sounds like a natural progression fromthe previous material.

The second concerto, whilst continuing with the single movement structure, is a more sober affair. By this stage in his career, Szymanowski was incorporating more polish folk like material into his music. The work concerto though in one movement breaks down into more distinct sections than the first concerto. It begins more soberly than the first and alternates with more dance like material. This concerto ends with a flourish but lacks the excitement of the first. Again the orchestration and harmonies are still very rich and dense, though there is less emphasis on sparkling orchestral colour.

Szymanowski's two very rich and energetic violin concertos receive first rate and sympathetic performances. Antoni Wit has an excellent record with Naxos and this recording is no exception with the soloist equal to the demands of both works. If you want to explore Szmanowski's music you'd be mad to miss out on this fantastic bargain - it's more than a match for the competition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful colours 13 Jan 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Szymanovski developed his own language and what he said with it was everything we need to hear. The first violin concerto stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it and this performance stops me over and over again. Flair and emotion bring life changing harmonics to everyone who can hear. And anyone who can hear will never be the same.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
The 1st Concerto is another example of Szymanowski's Slavic/Byzantine/Sufi-Gnostic mysticism in the important musical genre of Night Music which - unlike for example the Empty Sublime of Bartok's Night Music in 'Music For Strings Percussion And Celeste' and the slow movements of the quartets, or the numerous examples in Shostakovich slow movements - does include the Pleasure Principle in sensuous good measure, and aims for sheer beauty and a Sublime of rich fullness in the climaxes.
'Veni Creator' and the 3rd Symphony share much of the same ethos, but here in addition we have the long, and often very high, transcendentally lyrical line of the violin.
Beauty AND the Sublime. What more could you want? Usually you get one or the other, or much more time given to one, or an equal amount of time given to other expressive concerns - but here, these often mutually exclusive aesthetic preoccupations, are the sole aims. It is very unusual to access the Sublime at all in a violin concerto of course. I can only think of the Sibelius off-hand and that is not one of my favourites.
This is as far as late Romanticism was able to go in the direction of Nature Mysticism and, in venturing into the Eastern exotic, or esoteric, left the Germans, and us, far behind in what by comparison seems almost like ordinary everyday consciousness. The only German equivalents I can think of are the early late-Romantic works of Webern, but I stress that they are GERMAN equivalents and sound nothing like the works under consideration here.The only ENGLISH equivalent I can think of is the Tallis Fantasia and perhaps the Serenade to Music (also about the night) by the same composer, or something much less well known like York Bowen's symphonic poem 'Eventide'.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding New Szymanowski Concertos 23 Nov 2009
By Hegelian - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Naxos Szymanowski series continues with this outstanding recording of the two violin concertos. The recordings were made in 2006. These wonderful concertos are the only true concertos that Szymanowski wrote. (Symphony Number 4 is a concertante work featuring piano, but it doesn't make the showcasing technical demands that are typical in concerto.) The violin playing here is wonderful and, as in the other Naxos discs in the series, the Warsaw orchestra has the music in its blood. I like them better than the less vibrant Zehetmair/Rattle performances. Given the full, bright recordings, these performances go straight to the top. Don't miss these exotic, oriental-scented masterworks.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bland Readings of Szymanowski Violin Concerti 8 Aug 2011
By ricardo_guerrero - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The violin concerti of Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) are among the composer's best works. Neither is yet in the violin's standard repertoire. The violinist for these recordings is Ilya Kaler, an exceptional talent whose recordings are usually just as exceptional.

Written for Pawel Kochanski (1887-1934), the composer's close friend and Polish virtuoso, the concerti are performed far more in Europe than anywhere else in the world. Both are rhapsodic in form, cast in one continuous movement; the First Concerto (completed in 1916) benefits greatly from this format. It is very much like a ballet, and like most of Szymanowski's works for the violin, it has an unmistakable mythological connection. A silvery melodic line runs from beginning to end against a dark backdrop. The concerto is not technically difficult; musically, it is very difficult. The violinist must be a skilled tonalist to play the broad, lyrical melodies convincingly. Szymanowski's lush, often thick accompaniment makes the orchestra equal in the execution. The cadenza by Kochanski comes at the end of the work, a bit curious, but as the listener will hear, Szymanowski's placement of it was a magnificent choice, as it helps to slowly wind down the work to its elegant and quiet conclusion.

The Second Concerto (1933) is more direct and follows a well-marked groove. It is heard in concerts even less than its predecessor, which is a true shame and hopefully the passage of time will prove otherwise. It is a very, very Polish concerto. Completed less than 3 years before the composer's death, it was dedicated once again to Kochanski, who himself died shortly after it was completed. Kochanski's name is included prominently on the original score (verbatim: 'Violin Part In Collaboration With P. Kochanski'). The concerto's unsettled opening quickly gains momentum and plunges into the boisterous development of driving runs and double-stops. Then comes a slow lyrical section which bridges into a sonorous cadenza by Kochanski (he did far better with this cadenza than the one for the first concerto some 17 years earlier.) Another catapult brings us into the second movement, a whirlwind of a folk dance. This eventually settles into a long and infinitely calm melody which leads into the recapitulation and finale. The dance theme reappears and undergoes some quick and unexpected twists and turns and leads to a passionate recapitulation of the concerto's opening theme, followed by the heroic coda. And thankfully, Szymanowski did not end *this* concerto quietly.

As for Ilya Kaler's performances of the two works - they're mostly disappointing. After hearing his second-to-none readings of the Ysaye Solo Sonatas (also on Naxos label) recently, I was expecting far more. Kaler's take on the first concerto is uninteresting, and he glosses over many passages that require more time and attention. His phrasing is usually quick and abrupt, playing what's on the printed page and not more. The second concerto is a bit better but it lacks any degree of profundity. The miraculous coda that closes the concerto was, sadly, very sloppy and should have been re-taken. The orchestra suddenly starts rushing like crazy and overpowers Kaler, causing him to have to rush to catch up with them at one juncture (all faults of the conductor and the recording engineer.)

Conductor Antoni Wit, leading the Warsaw Philharmonic in this recording, has conducted for multiple Naxos recordings and while he is not outstanding, he's generally quite competent.

Now, for the big question mark... Included as the final number was "Nocturne and Tarantella", op. 28. This is a showpiece for violin and piano, and it is more frequently played than the two Concerti. When performed in recitals, it is often the last number on the program due to its high-spirited conclusion (Ravel's Tzigane is a cousin of this piece, and usually placed last for the same reason.) The version of the piece on this CD is a transcription for orchestra by composer Gregoire Fitelberg, a colleague of Szymanowski's. I'll sum it up in 2 words: it's terrible. When I bought the disc and looked at the cover and saw "Nocturne and Tarantelle", naturally I thought Ilya Kaler was going to be playing it, with an orchestral accompaniment instead of piano.

Needless to say, I don't recommend this disc.

The Szymanowski Concertos have been recorded a lot - much more than one might expect, given their infrequent live performances. I believe the best recording of the Szymanowski concerti was done in 1992 by Chantal Juillet and the Montreal Symphony with Dutoit. It's out of print, but you might be able to find it on here. Konstanty Kulka's recording is good also - I think the Naxos disc is a re-release, originally done in the 70s (and being Polish himself, Kulka has a better feel for the concerti I think.)
15 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Szymanovski Violin Cons. 1 & 2 24 Oct 2007
By Frits C. Van Os - Published on
Format:Audio CD
clear and precise rendition of the music. neo-romantic style
with strong influence of Stravinsky's style. partly massive and
thunderous sound, but brought with fine discipline in the orchestra.
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