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The most perfect box in the budget Rattle series from EMI
on 20 May 2011
How many had even heard of Szymanowski before Sir Simon Rattle began recording his music in the 1990s? If you didn't collect the individual volumes you ought to snap up this bargain reissue of the complete Rattle/CBSO recordings.
In any count down of the most beautiful classical music, something by Szymanowski would be in the Top Ten. Whether the haunting beauty of the lead soprano in the Stabat Mater, or the orientalist exoticism of the Violin Concerto No.1. My vote would be for the unforgettable first five minutes of King Roger, the hypnotic chanting and glittering percussion sonorities before the orchestra and choir raise the roof of the temple. Szymanowski's music is a bit of a blend of Scriabinesque fantasy and Bartokian earthiness. Very colourful and very sensuous, but alive with fierce dissonances and thunderous tutti.
In a word: ECSTATIC.