Karlowicz; Szymanowski

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COMPOSERS: Karlowicz; Szymanowski
LABELS: Dux
ALBUM TITLE: Karlowicz & Szymanowski
WORKS: Songs
PERFORMER: Urszula Kryger (mezzo-soprano), Katarzyna Jankowska-Borzykowska (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 361
The songs of the tragically short-lived Mieczys?aw Kar?owicz (1876-1909) were for the most part written in his late teens. Although they do not display the spiralling imagination of his remarkable symphonic poems, they are certainly estimable. The musical language ranges widely incorporating reminiscences of Chopin and Liszt, and is occasionally redolent of the Tchaikovsky of Eugene Onegin, notably in the fourth song. As is often the case with the teenage muse, the subject matter is introspective dwelling much on love and loss. Even so, there is much to recommend them, particularly in Urszula Kryger’s sensitive readings.

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Although only six years separates Kar?owicz’s songs from Szymanowski’s Op. 5 of 1902, they are worlds apart. Even Szymanowski’s early songs have a much more focused individuality and a far more realistic approach to declamation, particularly in the darkly symbolist second song of the cycle. The Op. 32 songs of 1915 are less expansive, but more impressionistically coloured, while the Op. 11 songs from 1904 return to the more fulsomely Romantic approach. In every case Kryger, excellently accompanied by Katarzyna Jankowska-Borzykowska and very well recorded, proves a fine interpreter deploying a wide range of tone and pervasively clear declamation. Jan Smaczny