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Discussion: Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 1, Myths, Chant de Roxane - Philippens, Quentin, Zhang

Posts: 8

Post by pgmdir April 23, 2015 (1 of 8)
This is showing as unreleased, but it is indeed available at the usual places. Castor's review is spot on, in my book. I absolutely love Roseanne Philippens' playing-- In the Szymanowski Concerto and in the "Myths" and "Chant de Roxane" played with piano accompaniment by Julien Quentin. The Stravinsky pieces are quite fine as well. This is my first hearing of Szymanowski, and I am delighted! Those of you complaining about "same-ol', same-ol'" should give this a shot. the music is from the first third of the 20th Century and not only approachable, but rewarding. The recording quality is equal to Jared's best.

Post by Chris from Lafayette May 1, 2015 (2 of 8)
Just got my copy yesterday, and my shoot-from-the-hip reaction to having listened to it the first time is: Yes! - for both the performances and the engineering! In my experience, this is a new level of the music's disembodiment from the actual speaker locations in my room. Well done!

I'm still not totally on board with Szymanowski's music however (even though I just performed "La fontaine d'Arethus" with a local student violinist a few months ago - very complex ensemble challenges BTW!). I still find Szymanowski's compositional style elusive and (if I may say so) inconsistent, compared with, say, Scriabin's (to name one of his stylistic cousins). That's not to say that I haven't acquired a few recordings of this music over the years - and, believe me, Rosanne has some pretty stiff recorded competition in this repertoire (just the chamber works with piano), even if we confine ourselves to recordings by other babe violinists, starting with the classic Kaja Danczowska / Krystian Zimerman DG release from 35 years ago. Another one that's really on a super-high level is the Hyperion recording by Pouty Lips (oops! I mean Alina Ibragimova) from about six years ago. Just these two recordings might be enough to discourage any newcomer, but it seems that, in preparing this new release Rosanne has not only prepared herself technically, but has steeped herself in the aesthetic backgrounds of Szymanowski and his music, as she writes:

". . . I recognized Ovid's Metamorphoses. I managed to track down the poems of Szymanowski's countryman, Tadeusz Micinski, which inspired him. In pursuit of the composer's roots, I visited his villa Atma, where I heard the wonderful music of the mountains of Zakopane, which moved him as well."

I'm impressed, and, more importantly, I feel that Rosanne and her pianist, Julien Quinten, really do hold their own with these great recordings of the past. The same holds true for the Concerto and the Stravinsky items on this release too. Where Rosanne has the advantage is that, because of the fabulous sound quality, we can hear the detail and subtlety which have gone into her playing and interpretations in a way that the earlier CD-rez recordings don't always allow.

BTW, kudos to Castor for calling out booklet note writer Clemens Romijn's fanciful (I'm tempted to say, ridiculous) suggestion that the Szymanowski Concerto is "the Violin Concerto that Mahler never wrote"! And Romijn's evidence is. . . both Mahler and Szymanowski use a similarly "romantic orchestral palatte"? C'mon, pal - you gotta do better than that!

Post by Simon V. May 2, 2015 (3 of 8)
Chris from Lafayette said:

I'm still not totally on board with Szymanowski's music however . . . I still find Szymanowski's compositional style elusive and (if I may say so) inconsistent, compared with, say, Scriabin's (to name one of his stylistic cousins).

His sybaritic sensuousness has left me cold in the past. Among contemporary violin concertos*, I prefer those by Prokofiev (his first) and Janacek**, which bear the unmistakable stamp of their composers' personalities.

*Contemporary with Szymanowski's, I mean.
**Littlejohn, if we're still translating Czech names.

Post by SteelyTom May 2, 2015 (4 of 8)
Simon V. said:

His sybaritic sensuousness has left me cold in the past.

Sybaritic sensuousness? What's not to like?

Post by Simon V. May 2, 2015 (5 of 8)
SteelyTom said:

Sybaritic sensuousness? What's not to like?

Well, I'm a romantic, not a decadent. That hothouse atmosphere is stifling. I'd rather be out in the snow with Prokofiev.

Post by diw May 2, 2015 (6 of 8)
I am surprised no one has done a comparative review to the Pentatone recording of the concerto?

Post by Chris from Lafayette May 3, 2015 (7 of 8)
diw said:

I am surprised no one has done a comparative review to the Pentatone recording of the concerto?

The Pentatone recording of the Concerto (performed by J-Fi's replacement) is one minute slower than Rosanne's. ;-)

Post by krisjan May 3, 2015 (8 of 8)
Chris from Lafayette said:

The Pentatone recording of the Concerto (performed by J-Fi's replacement) is one minute slower than Rosanne's. ;-)

You crack me up Chris! "J-Fi's replacement"! :-)

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