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Szymanowski: Piano Sonata No. 3, Métopes, Masques
     

Szymanowski: Piano Sonata No. 3, Métopes, Masques

by Piotr Anderszewski
 
The piano music of Karol Szymanowski is still obscure enough that each new hearing can feel like a fresh encounter. Although Martin Jones's set of all the works for the Nimbus label and Marc-André Hamelin's recent disc of the complete mazurkas certainly did much to reveal the composer's brilliance, with this release,

Overview

The piano music of Karol Szymanowski is still obscure enough that each new hearing can feel like a fresh encounter. Although Martin Jones's set of all the works for the Nimbus label and Marc-André Hamelin's recent disc of the complete mazurkas certainly did much to reveal the composer's brilliance, with this release, Piotr Anderszewski makes an irresistibly strong case for the decadently flavored works that Szymanowski composed during the First World War. Hints -- and occasionally more than hints -- of Debussy and Ravel, Scriabin and Stravinsky waft through the Métopes (inspired by a sculptural relief of scenes from Homer's Odyssey) and Masques, but the influences are synthesized into something unmistakably and luxuriously new. It's fitting that Szymanowski explored the story of the Sirens in the first Métope, because few composers could have imagined their seductive song so convincingly. Indeed, throughout these works -- and especially in performances of such rare understanding, sympathy, and technical command as Anderszewski's -- the composer creates a musical world of unusual beauty in which the listener can't help but linger. In the last of these three works to be composed, the Piano Sonata No. 3, Szymanowski strikes a balance between exotic languor and abstract classical style -- yes, that is a fugue at the end -- but in a concisely laid out single-movement form. If Anderszewski's poetic nature finds an outlet in the rhapsodic earlier works, the Sonata reminds us, too, of his expertise in Beethoven and Bach. And as a whole, despite being devoted to a single composer, this disc reveals precisely the abundance of talent that has skyrocketed Anderszewski to the top ranks of today's young pianists.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Piotr Anderszewski has finally been able to record some of the music of Karol Szymanowski, and it has been worth the wait. This is a brilliant performance of music that is rich in so many ways and that deserves a wider audience outside of the composer's homeland. The three works here were written between 1915 and 1917 and, therefore, share many qualities. The two triptychs, "Masques" and "Métopes," reflect Szymanowski's encounter with the music of Ravel. They are atmospheric and harmonically colorful, but go beyond Ravel in their use of multiple, simultaneous tonalities. What frequently marks this music is the idea of "two": distinct, but related moods, keys, articulations, themes, and so on. are set against each other. In "Masque No. 2, Tantris le bouffon," it is the clown vs. the desperate lover; in the first "Métope, L'île des sirènes," it is long waves of notes vs. short trilling remarks. Those types of contrast exist even in the much more formally constructed "Sonata No. 3." Anderszewski makes the differences very clear, giving the music a focus and intensity that is almost tangible. In his hands, this Impressionistic music is like a vivid dream that seems too real to have been only a dream.
New York Times - Anthony Tommasini
Riveting.... Mr. Anderszewski plays these works with breathtaking pianistic command, keen intensity and utter involvement.
Gramophone - Bryce Morrison
[Szymanowski's] music calls for a pianist of unlimited, superfine virtuosity and a complete temperamental affinity for such exoticism, and it in Anderszewski it has surely found its ideal champion. Visceral and superhuman, all of these performances have been superbly recorded.
Time Out New York - David Shengold
Anderszewski brings commanding dispatch and an impressive sense of structure to three works that date from the years of World War I.
Fanfare - Adrian Corleonis
Few pianists attempt these rarefied soundscapes, and fewer survive them.... Anderszewski may well be primus inter pares as unsurpassed tonal finesse and mesmerizing narrative flair hold one spellbound.... A landmark release -- superb and, for the Szymanowski maven, indispensable.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/02/2005
Label:
Erato
UPC:
0724354573026
catalogNumber:
45730
Rank:
154949

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Masques (3) for piano, Op. 34, M35
  2. Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 36, M38
  3. Metopes, poems (3) for piano, Op. 29, M31

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