Karol Szymanowski numbers among the genuinely great sound magicians, which is why it is unfortunate that his multicolored, shimmering music schooled on Strauss and Wagner is not more frequently performed. One of the first recordings that the renowned Carmina Quartet made for DENON in 1991 gives this Polish composer his proper due. Together with Szymanowski’s violin sonata and its model by César Franck, performed by Chee-Yun and Akira Eguchi, these benchmark interpretations are now once again available – thanks to cooperation with MDG.
From Fragment ...
When Szymanowski wrote his first string quartet, he had already committed a wide range of largeformat music to paper. Freer in his dealing with themes and motifs, he found his way to unusual forms. His first quartet is actually a fragment; the concluding fugue he planned for it but never wrote during the turmoil of World War I had to wait until his second quartet.
... to Masterpiece
Now this has what it takes! In a genial combination of double fugue, sonata form, and variation movement, Szymanowski not only demonstrates his brilliant compositional talent; the oscillating tonality also contributes to the character of this masterpiece. The highly expressive violin sonata from his younger years exhibits Late Romantic exuberance very much inspired by the works of Brahms, Strauss, and Franck.
Franck’s sonata is one of the milestones of the violin literature; the masterful motivic interrelation of the movements lends this late work a unique cyclical unity. The tone of the first and third movements in particular anticipates French Impressionism – an ideal complement to Szymanowski’s enthralling tones.