Szymanowski: Symphony No. 3 (Song of the Night); Violin Concerto No. 1; Violin Concerto No. 2

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COMPOSERS: Szymanowski
LABELS: HMV
WORKS: Symphony No. 3 (Song of the Night); Violin Concerto No. 1; Violin Concerto No. 2
PERFORMER: Wieslaw Ochman (tenor), Konstanty Kulka (violin); Polish Radio Chorus Krakow, Polish Radio National SO/Jerzy Semkow, Jerzy Maksymiuk
CATALOGUE NO: 5 73860 2 (only available from HMV stores) ADD Reissue (1979-94)
Szymanowski’s violin concertos seem, at last, to be entering the repertoire on a more regular basis. These passionately committed and idiomatic readings tell us a great deal about these works: far from being presented as gently perfumed essays in post-Romanticism – a view that too often dogs this composer’s reputation – these performances reveal the concertos’ grittier side as well as Szymanowski’s consistently refreshing approach to tonality. The superbly evocative Third Symphony, with its similarities to the opera King Roger, is also given a fine performance, though I could have done with a slightly more forward placing of choir and soloist. Jan Smaczny

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