Five stars for a Polish genius

Five stars for a Polish genius

Album Of The Week

norman lebrecht

November 05, 2022

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

While Karol Szymanowski is unlikely ever to be voted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame, his stock has risen steadily in the present century, so much so that he can almost be counted now as mainstream. This was never the case in his lifetime, when he suffered the dual disability for a composer of being Polish and gay. On the first count he was compared unfavourably to Chopin, on the second disparagingly to Tchaikovsky. Always his own man, Szymanowski sounds like no other…

Read on here.

And here.


  • Anton says:

    I’d say the most succesful Szymanowski’s works are violin composition, and The Fountain of Arethuse was and still is in the mainstream. As for Stabat Mater, try also a live recording conducted in Warsaw by Stokowski and Italian one under Rodziński, both are fabulous. And as for piano music, there are way more idiomatic than academic and antiromantic Zimerman renditions… Why not to compare those Masks with sensitive and colorful Carol Rodenberger or much more expressive Anderszewski, another Polish pianist? And concerning Mazurkas… the same played Horszowski… quite a different kind of music!

    • Micaela Bonetti says:

      Dear Anton,

      Thank you for your interesting musical advices!
      I’m always hungry to discover scores, or performers.

      By the way I utterly praise Piotr Anderszewski! I attended several of his recitals, each time breathtaking!

    • Frederick Paul Walter says:

      Not to mention Rubinstein, who programmed and recorded the Symphonie Concertante and mazurkas throughout his career.

    • zeno north says:

      We all have different opinions of course, but I also feel Martin Roscoe on Naxos shouldn’t be ignored in the piano music. His textural clarity – with no loss of atmosphere – in things like “Masques” and “Metopes” is remarkable.