Karol Szymanowski: Piano Music


Catalogue No: DDA 25151
EAN/UPC: 809730515125
Release Date: June 2017
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 67:05

To many, Szymanowski was the most important composer from Poland – taking the Romantic tradition of Chopin, and transforming it into a style which retained the Romantic ideals but firmly within the 20th century, approaching modernism with music of enormous vitality and requiring virtuoso performance.

This selection of works from the beginning, middle and end of his output is indeed played superbly by Barbara Karaśkiewicz, whose Polishness can only enhance her deep understanding of and application to this music. Included are the nine preludes, Op. 1 and the four etudes, Op. 4, rooted in the Romantic tradition; Masques from the middle period, picturesque music-portraits; and the two late Mazurkas Op. 62. This album follows the critically acclaimed disc of works by another Polish post-Romantic, the lesser known but equally skilled Roman Statkowski.

Track Listing

    Karol Szymanowski:
    Nine Preludes, Op. 1

  1. No. 1 in B minor
  2. No. 2 in D minor
  3. No. 3 in D flat major
  4. No. 4 in B flat minor
  5. No. 5 in D minor
  6. No. 6 in A minor
  7. No. 7 in C minor
  8. No. 8 in E flat minor
  9. No. 9 in B flat minor
  10. Four Etudes, Op. 4

  11. No. 1 in E flat minor
  12. No. 2 in G flat major
  13. No. 3 in B flat minor
  14. No. 4 in C major
  15. Masques, Op.34

  16. Scheherazade
  17. Tantris the Fool
  18. Don Juan’s Serenade
  19. Two Mazurkas, Op. 62

  20. No. 1 Allegretto grazioso
  21. No. 2 Moderato


The Whole Note

A fascinating program. There is a familiar fluidity and nostalgic ethos that pervades the music. Karaskiewicz plays beautifully, bringing forward the composer’s unique voice.

” —Alex Baran
The Chronicle

Outstanding music played well… intelligent music that’s inspired by Chopin, and with the sadness of Mother Russia in places; influenced by the impressionism of Claude Debussy, and Maurice Ravel… atmospheric and suggestive.

” —Jeremy Condliffe
Gapplegate Classical Modern Music

If today [Szymanowski’s] music is not as frequently performed as it might be, the masterful quality and expressivity of the oeuvre as a whole demands a serious immersion. Barbara Karaskiewicz combines virtuosity and interpretive acuity to be a near ideal exponent of a series of breathtaking Szymanowski works. . I would be hard-pressed to imagine a better single CD that brings to us all that makes Szymanowski’s piano music important and movingly alive.

” —Grego Edwards
Twoja Muza

This is a repertoire from the top of the pianistic canon, requiring not only the mastery of the workshop, but also the exceptional knowledge and sensitivity – these qualities Barbara Karaśkiewicz owns. [A] very successful album.

” —Witold Paprocki
Music Voice (Italy)

Polish pianist Barbara Karaskiewicz shows that she can master all of the heterogeneous aspects of Szymanowski’s styles… a perfect technical and stylistic maturity. The recording is characterized by a full and wide sound…. [and] has a natural glow without application of additional effects.

” —Edmondo Filippini
Pizzicato (Luxembourg)

Barbara Karaskiewicz makes the development of the composer from the romanticist to the expressionist clear and plays the four works on a high level technically, musically always correct, and highly sensitive.

” —Remy Franck
American Record Guide

One would expect a Polish pianist to bring an extra dimension of understanding when performing this great composer. These performances show that to be so… Karaskiewicz’s program offers a good introduction to the composer, and her extensive notes are worthy of the highest praise. Here is yet another great recital, a superb sampling. The plush fullness of the sound is an added attraction.

” —Alan Becker
MusicWeb International

This CD, fascinatingly, covers the whole range of {Szymanowski’s] styles from the Op 1 Preludes to the later Mazurkas, Op 62…. this particular grouping of works is unique. Barbara Karaskiewicz seems to have known Szymanowski and his language for a number of years… you are in safe hands with this CD. The booklet is, for me, a model of what I like to see and read. The recording is also ideal. All in all this disc would make an ideal start for anyone coming anew to this fascinating composer.

” —Gary Higginson
MusicWeb International

Polish-born pianist Barbara Karaśkiewicz plays these four works with great understanding, technical aplomb and interpretive skill. It makes a splendid introduction to the piano music of Karol Szymanowski.

” —John France
Rafael Music Notes

Listening twice to this CD was intensely rewarding. The variety of harmonic surprises, the sheer melodic inventiveness of the composer, kept this listener interested. Barbara Karaskiewicz is a pianist of rare gifts: always sensitive, assertive and powerful at crucial times, exquisitely handling the lyricism that abounds in these miniature gems.

” —Rafael de Acha