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SZYMANOWSKI Piano Sonata No. 3 / Mazurkas / Masks / Metopes

Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
Mazurkas, Op. 50 (excerpts) & Op. 62
Metopy (Metopes), Op. 29
Maski (Masks), Op. 34

Roland Pontinen, piano

BIS CD 1137 [TT: 78 mins]

This is a well judged programme covering Szymanowski's 2nd (impressionist) and 3rd (popular, i.e. Polish) styles. Metopes and Masks are groups of programmatic pieces with exotic mythical associations. The pianism is elaborate and evocative, carefully scored to be less difficult than they might first appear on the page; Szymanowski advised his publisher to ignore complaints by pianists: "- - everything is easy to perform and absolutely idiomatic for the piano".

My personal preference is for the more austere last period style, exemplified here by the selection of Mazurkas, but more listeners probably enjoy the over-heated high romanticism of, e.g. the first violin concerto...

The playing is highly assured and idiomatic, well recorded and supplied with good insert notes by J-P Vachon.


Peter Grahame Woolf

See also SzymanowskiSongsComplete