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Szymanowski: The 1970S Los Angeles Recordings

Szymanowski: The 1970S Los Angeles Recordings

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During the 1970s, pianist Carol Rosenberger brought her “ravishing, elegant pianism” (New York Times) to Karol Szymanowski’s music in live concerts and on two LP recordings. Now available in this new release are her fascinating performances of the complete Szymanowski Mazurkas, as well as the Masques and Etudes- performances that marked the pianist as “a pioneer in the rediscovery of Szymanowski in the modern era.” (composer Mark Abel). The imaginative, improvisatory Mazurkas express Szymanowski’s mission to revitalize Polish music by its roots- Polish folk song and dance. The Masques are spellbinding tonal tapestries almost orchestral in scope. The harmonically rich Etudes, Op. 4 are more romantic in style, while the Etudes, Op. 33 offer a glowing mosaic of colors and textures. In Rosenberger’s much-anticipated memoir, ‘To Play Again,’ she describes her Szymanowski discoveries, her friendship with the composer’s nephew-who made rare manuscripts available to her- and her engrossing journey into this exotic music by the greatest Polish composer of the early twentieth century.


Listening to her performance of Masques, one is struck by the wide-awake approach of her playing. This is very different from the way most pianists perform Szymanowski nowadays, alluding to the French impressionist school which clearly inspired him. Rosenberger obviously wanted to make his Polish roots more evident in her interpretations, and she does so with surprising strength and wide-awake dynamics and phrasing. The difference is that while others make the constant dissonances of his music sound diffuse and somewhat ethereal, Rosenberger made them sound like Stravinskian grotesqueries.

Taken on its own merits these are clearly startling performances and makes a very strong impression. She doesn’t so much seduce you with the music’s delicacy as grab you with its strength. If you particularly want to hear the Mazurkas played with gusto then Rosenberger’s set is a must.

– The Art Music Lounge
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    • UPC/Barcode: 013491163529
    • Item Number: DE 1635