As previous issues in this series have shown, when Antoni Wit and his forces are in top form in the music of Szymanowski, they're pretty much unbeatable. At last, we have a complete symphony cycle in performances that will serve as the reference for all newcomers. Szymanowski repudiated his First Symphony on stylistic grounds (too Wagnerian), and it certainly does not represent the direction he ultimately took. But it's still great fun: a big, bold, scant 20 minutes of colorful scoring and exuberant musical ideas. The Concert Overture is even more so. It's pure Richard Strauss, only better in some respects--packing all the ebullience of Don Juan or Ein Heldenleben (or both!) into a relativelyRead more concise curtain-raiser.
The performance of the Symphonie Concertante, one of Szymanowski's greatest works, is superb. Pianist Jan Krzysztof Broja plays the solo part beautifully. He's got the chops for the big moments in the outer movements, but it's his delicacy at the start of the central andante that's most memorable. Wit, typically, directs the orchestra with remarkable clarity as well as power. The finale in particular never has sounded less "clogged" texturally, while the very natural engineering always leaves plenty of room for the sound to expand and fill the hall at those ecstatic climaxes that are such a hallmark of this composer. A splendid release!
A Polish Musical FairJune 9, 2016By owen ryan (lakewood, CA)See All My Reviews"Mr Hurwitz's description of this disc is 100% on the mark. The Overture and Symphony No. 1 have bright, colorful splashes of sound and rolling crescendos--all sounding like something penned by Richard Strauss. Fun, toe-tapping stuff not requiring your full and undivided attention. Symphony No. 4 is a more serious and modern work sounding rather Stravenskian. All together an enjoyable undemanding disc. Antoni Wit has been described as being famous for being unknown; actually he is one of the finest of current conductors. The Warsaw Phil. under Wit's direction perform admirably on this disc. The recording is very good but is recorded at a high level so you'll probably need to turn the volume down a little. An easy recommendation for some light listening."Report Abuse