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Karol Szymanowski: Piano Sonata No. 3; Métopes; Masques
Karol Szymanowski, Piotr Anderszewski
Karol Szymanowski: Piano Sonata No. 3; Métopes; Masques
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Szymanowski is best known for his large-scale, colorful orchestral works. Some find his fascinating piano scores too elusive---compounds of Debussyian Impressionism and Scriabinesque mysticism. Without slighting those feat...  more »


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All Artists: Karol Szymanowski, Piotr Anderszewski
Title: Karol Szymanowski: Piano Sonata No. 3; Métopes; Masques
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Virgin Classics
Original Release Date: 1/1/2005
Re-Release Date: 8/2/2005
Genre: Classical
Styles: Forms & Genres, Sonatas, Historical Periods, Modern, 20th, & 21st Century, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 724354573026

Szymanowski is best known for his large-scale, colorful orchestral works. Some find his fascinating piano scores too elusive---compounds of Debussyian Impressionism and Scriabinesque mysticism. Without slighting those features, Piotr Anderszewski makes these important works spring to life, infusing them with depth, color, and excitement. Alongside this, other recordings seem dutiful essays that miss the heart of the music. How Anderszewski works his magic is a solvable mystery. His tempos seem slow but are just right, letting the music breath thus increasing intensity and allowing its colors to make their effect. His tone is full and round; details are caught on the fly, the dynamics controlled yet seeming spontaneous. The Sonata is a formal work capped by an exciting fugal last movement. Masques is a triptych whose first piece drips with sensuality. The second swings wildly from the bittersweet to the poignant; the final one is a Ravelian take on the Don Juan story. Métopes is another triptych based on episodes from the Odyssey. Its virtuoso demands include Debussyian water music and wild dissonant dances, all performed to perfection. A must-hear for fans of great piano music. --Dan Davis

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CD Reviews

An Artist With The Entire Keyboard Under His Hands
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Karol Szymanowski's music is too often neglected in the recital hall and the concert hall. Some believe his complex orchestral pieces are too rich to digest in a hearing, some feel his music is too much of a mixture of Impressionism and Expressionism (!), and some mistake his works for undiscovered Debussy, Messiaen, or Scriabin. Each of those mistaken attributes is reason enough for giving his music a try. The listener who may find the massive orchestral works too daunting would do well to start with this extraordinary recording of Szymanowski piano works, played to utter perfection by the brilliantly gifted poet Piotr Anderszewski. There is definitely an affinity here.

Each of the three selections here allow Anderszewski to demonstrate just what makes him such an exciting artist: he is able to flow with the passion and make the myriad colors weave into a fantastic tapestry of sound, all the while refusing to neglect the wispy little roulades that Szymanowski uses as tag line phrases after his full-bodied excursions of tonalities. The results are so stunning that the immediate response is to play them again, sure that subtleties were missed. The Sonata No. 3 makes grand sense architecturally, proving that this unique composer fully understands formal patterns. But it is in the ravishingly beautiful 'Masques' and 'Métopes' that the sensual magic is best heard. Like Messiaen, Szymanowski searches for and finds the realm of the spiritual, and in Anderszewski's interpretation every avenue of expression is well served. He plays as though his finger span covers the entire keyboard, so precise is the control over the sound spectrum!

This is a recording for those who love fine piano works and fine pianistic skills. It is a wondrous achievement. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, December 05
Superlative Szymanowski
A. Leung | Hong Kong SAR | 09/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Szymanowski's piano music has languished in relative obscurity for all the wrong reasons. The three works represented on this disc - all unjustly neglected - are admittedly less accessible than the Ravelian impressionism they draw widely upon, and they are also less immmediately alluring than the melodic mystique of Debussy, but this does not mean they are academic or willfully abstruse. Instead, they require, and richly reward, repeated listening. For there is much beauty in this music: Métopes has all the voluptuous sensuality of Scriabin's early sonatas, and Masques is harmonically varied and colourful in its vibrant tonality, whilst the more traditional third piano sonata is muscular in its percussiveness without missing out on lilting lyricism.

Anderszewski's advocacy makes the best possible case for this challenging but beautiful music. His steely precision might occasionally lack the warmth of Jones's recording on Nimbus, but this is a small loss, as he more than makes up for this with his articulate delivery of every complex melodic thread, rapid-fire filigree and tumbling chordal cascade. Though his tone is full-bodied and sonorous, his interpretations do not lack any requisite spontaneity or fire. Importantly, he focuses Szymanowski's musical architecture of contrasts and oppositions with unprecedented clarity. His scintillating pianism doesn't skimp the music's hypnotic mystery either; his palette is fully attuned to the music's dreamy waves of post-impressionistic enchantment. In short, his playing is sensitive to the composer's nuances, intensely exciting and eerily reflective in equal measure. He vividly brings these pieces to life, alternately painting mirages of sound that shimmer in the air and blasting out dazzling supernovae of musical energy. There is no better introduction to Szymanowski's unique sound world."
Avid Reader | Franklin, Tn | 12/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The keyboard comes alive in this CD. The power is supplied by the gifted and extremely versatile Hungarian-Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski (whose web site is [...]). I would warn the listener that this music requires several hearings but on the sixth or seventh the incredible beauty and inner logic of the pieces emerge.

And "shine" is the operative word. The music sparkles and shimmers - there is no better word than glitter. Strangely, there was no clear "favorite" on the album. I was expecting the Sonata to overwhelm everything else but its miniaturized structure enabled it to fit right in with the Metopes and masques. I loved the Adagio Mesto (Sonata) but the fugue (entered without pause from the third movement) was a show stopper. Think of it as the musical lovechild of Bach & Stravinsky. The final cut on the CD, "Nausicaa" transports the listener into a languid, dream-like world that suddenly "glitters" in an avalanche of notes before returning to the dream. It maintains (more so than either of the other Metopes) an internal structure and consistency. My Grade - A+"