sun 20/09/2020

Szymanowski Focus, Wigmore Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Szymanowski Focus, Wigmore Hall

Szymanowski Focus, Wigmore Hall

Polish dreamer overshadowed by Bartók and Janáček in a packed chamber programme

'Poland's most imaginative composer after Chopin': Szymanowski by Witkacy, 1930
Poland's most imaginative composer after Chopin, and his natural heir in the realm of sensual reverie, certainly knew how to yoke a full orchestra to his dreams and fantasies. Yet the work by Szymanowski I've most longed to hear in concert is the three-movement Mythes for violin and piano. A recording of it by Kaja Danczowska and the great Krystian Zimerman quickly acquired cult status in the 1980s. So it seemed like a heaven-sent gift to hear it live in the hands of an even more rounded violinist, young Norwegian Henning Kraggerud, and another maverick Polish pianist, Piotr Anderszewski. They could hardly have made a more dazzling case; yet by the end of the concert it was clear that a single dance theme in an early quartet by Bartók, rigorously developed, was worth more than all the Szymanowski in a packed programme.
Poland's most imaginative composer after Chopin, and his natural heir in the realm of sensual reverie, certainly knew how to yoke a full orchestra to his dreams and fantasies. Yet the work by Szymanowski I've most longed to hear in concert is the three-movement Mythes for violin and piano. A recording of it by Kaja Danczowska and the great Krystian Zimerman quickly acquired cult status in the 1980s. So it seemed like a heaven-sent gift to hear it live in the hands of an even more rounded violinist, young Norwegian Henning Kraggerud, and another maverick Polish pianist, Piotr Anderszewski. They could hardly have made a more dazzling case; yet by the end of the concert it was clear that a single dance theme in an early quartet by Bartók, rigorously developed, was worth more than all the Szymanowski in a packed programme.

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