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Karlowicz: Symphonic Poems / Salwarowski, Silesian State Po


Release Date: 10/17/2000 
Label:  Dux Records   Catalog #: 132/3   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Conductor:  Jerzy Salwarowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



KAR?OWICZ Recurring Waves. Eternal Songs. A Sorrowful Tale. Lithuanian Rhapsody. Stanislaw and Anna O?wiecim. An Episode during a Masquerade Jerzy Salwarowski, cond; Silesian PSO DUX 132 (2 CDs: 130:26)


For his op. 9 tone poem, Powracaj?e fale (“Recurring Waves”), Mieczys?aw Kar?owicz (b. 1876) sipped generously from the Wagner goblet, Tannhäuser , specifically, with a few segments so reminiscent Read more of that Overture—others of music from Das Rheingold —as to border the comical. That said, it’s also all very lush and beautiful, as it should be with those kinds of models. My friend and colleague Bob McQuiston, who first brought Kar?owicz to my attention, called Recurring Waves a “gorgeously melancholic work, reportedly the product of Kar?owicz’s preoccupation with suicide.” The same could be said of Smutna opowie?? (“A Sorrowful Tale”), op. 13, and the Odwieczne pie?ni (“Eternal Songs”), op. 10.


Influenced by the neo-Romantic school and especially works of Wagner and Richard Strauss during his studies in Berlin from 1895 to 1901, Kar?owicz created his Violin Concerto (Tasmin Little and Nigel Kennedy have recorded it for Hyperion and EMI, respectively), several collections of songs, a string serenade, and six symphonic poems like those included here. The last had to be finished by Grzegorz Fitelberg after Kar?owicz died in an avalanche while skiing in the Tatra Mountains, 100 years ago on February 8. (What a fittingly ironic end for a fatalistic pantheist.)


Ears tuned to the type of music Kar?owicz wrote will find that the music is much better than it is original—which is to say that it is well worth hearing even if it reminds one of better-known names that lurk behind every fourth bar. The works that came after op. 9 are especially superior in that they integrate their outside influences (Richard Strauss is all over Stanis?aw and Anna O?wiecim ) much more organically. The Lithuanian Rhapsody might represent a dip in inventiveness along that upward trajectory, but its billowing, vaguely Scandinavian Romanticism is a soothing contrast to the red-meat sound world of Wagner, Brahms, and Scriabin found elsewhere.


These Dux recordings, which contain all six tone poems, are re-releases, but they are very welcome for bringing them together on one two-CD set. The works have also been recorded for Naxos, but the direct competition comes from Yan Pascal Tortelier and Gianandrea Noseda with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, whose Chandos recordings were largely responsible for making Kar?owicz’s name better known in the West. Not having heard these 1981/1983 radio recordings of the Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under Jerzy Salwarowski before, I had considered the Chandos recordings a natural front-runner, not least for their very present sound. The sound is good here and these forces perform with the unalloyed enthusiasm of playing original, truly meaningful music (even where it isn’t); in fact, the playing is rarely inferior to the BBC band—remarkable, given that they are live performances. Unfortunately, while the booklet does give broadcast dates, we are not told which works were recorded when.


While there are moments that warrant enthusiastic recommendation, there are others that suggest caution against overly high expectations. Still, if you get excited about Marx, Madetoja, or Alfvén, this should be up your alley.


FANFARE: Jens F. Laurson
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Works on This Recording

1.
Returning Waves, Op. 9 by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Conductor:  Jerzy Salwarowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1904; Poland 
2.
Eternal Songs, Op. 10 by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Conductor:  Jerzy Salwarowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908; Poland 
3.
A Sorrowful Tale, Op. 13 "Preludes to Eternity" by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Conductor:  Jerzy Salwarowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908; Poland 
4.
Lithuanian Rhapsody, Op. 11 by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Conductor:  Jerzy Salwarowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Poland 
5.
Stanislaw and Anna of Oswiecim, Op. 12 by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Conductor:  Jerzy Salwarowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; Poland 
6.
Episode at a Masquerade, Op. 14 by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Conductor:  Jerzy Salwarowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908-1909; Poland 

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