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Karol Szymanowski: Concerto No. 1

  • for violin and orchestra
  • 3 3 4 3 - 4 3 3 1 - perc(2), hp(2), cel, pno, str(12 12 8 8 6)
  • Duration: 24’
  • Soloists:
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    3rd flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe (+c.a)
    1st clarinet in A
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
    bass clarinet in Bb
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    1st harp
    2nd harp
    violin I(12)
    violin II(12)
  • Composer: Karol Szymanowski
  • Piano reduction: Jerzy Lefeld
  • Editor: Eugenia Uminska
  • Dedication: a mon ami Paul Kochanski
  • Remarks: Study score available at Musikproduktion Höflich:

Work introduction

Distinctly characterised by his earlier style, Szymanowski’s first violin concerto is extra-refined in its sound; the orchestra, unusually rich in its make-up, shimmers in all its colours, supported by harmonies shot through with chromatics.

The solo part is extraordinarily virtuosic, while the work’s formal layout is easily perceptible despite its one-movement plan, thanks to the clearly demarcated sections; an introduction is followed by a virtuoso vivace as the initial large formal element, and a calm tempo comodo allows for melodic ornamentation.

A large section beginning vivace assai (scherzando) evinces diverse variations before it flows into a cadenza for the solo violin. After a tumultuous entrance of the orchestra, the tempo calms gradually until the end in a fraying close.

Translation Copyright © 2012 by Grant Chorley


Sample pages

Next performances

World première

Warsaw (PL)
Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra
Emil Mlynarski
Main soloists:
Jozef Oziminski, vln

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