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Szymanowski: Symphonies 3 & 4 / Wit/Polish National Orchestra [DVD]

Album Summary

>Szymanowski, Karol : Symphony no 3, Op. 27 "Song of the Night"
>Szymanowski, Karol : Symphony no 4, Op. 60 "Symphonie concertante"
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This recording, filmed live from the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, benefits from DTS 5.1 surround sound. Superbly filmed for Polish Television, these two performances embody the distinguished and idiomatic conducting style for which Antoni Wit is widely recognized. Wit was nominated for 'Best Orchestral Performance' for his audio recording of Szymanowski Symphonies 1 & 4 on Naxos.

"Here we have two splendid - perhaps definitive - performances of two of Karol Szymanowski's greatest works, the Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 4, neither of which actually are "symphonies." No. 3, called by the composer "The Song of the Night," is a mystic 25-minute work for chorus, orchestra and a solo violin with a brief part for a tenor who sings poems by Rumi about the soul's nocturnal colloquy with God. The mystery of the universe and the supernatural is conveyed with shimmering orchestral textures. Szymanowski's orchestration is sumptuous and every bit of it is captured in this superb live performance from Warsaw. Symphony No. 4 is usually called Symphonia Concertante because of the elaborate part for solo piano. Arthur Rubinstein seemed fascinated by it, but it never became part of his regular repertory - although he did record it in 1952 with Wallenstein and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Young pianist Jan Krzystof Broja, after making a rather startling appearance on stage wearing a blue silk jacket, gives a stunning performance of this challenging music. Camera work is exemplary, with some fine shots from above the keyboard. Audio is rich and satisfying. A commendable issue in every way." -ClassicalCDReview.com

Gramophone
Given how well recordings of Szymanowski tend to do in these pages, it's a surprise that there aren't more of them. Yet for some reason, while not rare, there's hardly been a flood.

Gramophone
Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic... are perfectly matched to this repertory, finding a balance between the vertical spaciousness of the harmonies and the horizontal momentum that drives these pieces forward. Tenor Rafal Bartminski (in the Third Symphony) and pianist Jan Kryzsztof Broja (in the Fourth)... each convey a comparable sense of non-virtuosity, where technique is firmly grounded in the music and never for its own sake. The visuals... have the usual mix of close-ups and long shots which... help to steer viewers' attention to individual musicians, or the full chorus, whoever holds more musical interest at any given time.

Fanfare
I find it ironic that, while ICA's issues of video performances conducted by Munch and Kempe have excellent and extensive notes on the conductors, this DVD has not one word about Wit, Bartminski, or Broja. You'd think they didn't exist or at least were of no importance in comparison to the works. Wit, born in 1944, studied conducting under Henryk Czyz and composition under Penderecki before going on to further studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Bartminski, born in 1977, studied voice in Katowice before participating in master classes led by Richard Karczykowski, Helena Lazarska, and Christian Elsner. Broja, born in Warsaw in 1972, studied in Frankfurt, Hanover, and Warsaw, making a particular impression with a 1999 recital in Vilnius and then at the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. He has recorded the Szymanowski Fourth Symphony (with Wit conducting) for Naxos.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 55 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.1 Surround



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Works Details

>Szymanowski, Karol : Symphony no 3, Op. 27 "Song of the Night"
  • Performer: Rafal Bartminski (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Chorus
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1914-1916

>Szymanowski, Karol : Symphony no 4, Op. 60 "Symphonie concertante"
  • Performer: Jan Broja (Piano)
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Chorus
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1932