Universal Edition - Karol Szymanowski


Karol Szymanowski

The Composer

European history in the first half of the 20th century exercised a decisive influence on the life and work of Karol Szymanowski. He was born in Poland, a state carved up among several countries, in other words, he hailed from a nation that no longer existed on the map – something which resulted in the fact that he could fall back upon no infrastructure in the Western European sense of the word. For one thing, there were no music publishers worthy of the name. The only firm which specialised in publishing music (Piwarski in Cracow) proved wholly unsuitable for Szymanowski’s purposes: it engaged in no promotional activities and had no contacts on an international scale.

The young ...


About the Music

In 1994 EMI launched a recording of three compositions by Szymanowski: Litania do Marii Panny / Litany to Virgin Mary, Stabat Mater and III Symfonii / Symphony No. 3 with Elzbieta Szmytka, Florence Quivar, John Connell, Jon Garrison and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Simon Rattle, whose brilliant world-wide career was just starting, was the conductor. Asked about Szymanowski's music, Simon Rattle said:

"I cannot talk objectively about Szymanowski, for you cannot expect objectivity or reasonability from someone in love. And reasonability is out of place when this music is concerned, anyway.

My first meeting with Szymanowski took place some fifteen years ago. I was ...


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