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Songs II GA/CE vol.11

for Voice and Piano

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  • Cat. no. 9262


 

(VII) The Polish idiom appeared in Szymanowskis music in 1920, foreshadowing the beginning of a new period of creativity, later called nationalistic. Before this idiom was realised and such compositions typical of the Polish style as the ballet Harnasie, the Mazurkas, Stabat Mater, Fourth Symphony and Second Violin Concerto had been written, the change in musical thinking and the first experiments in the new language took place in songs. Symptoms of the new style manifested themselves fully in Słopiewnie, Op. 46 bis, composed in the summer of 1921 and published by Universal Edition. In these bizarre songs to bizarre words by Tuwim Szymanowski attempted to crystallize and generalize artistically some primaeval Polish, racial as he described them elements in music. The inspiring factor was undoubtedly the text by Julian Tuwim, abounding in new-coined words and imbued with its own music. It indicated the direction that artistic creativity was to take, and made the full corellation of the verbal and musical layers possible in, as Mieczysław Tomaszewski has stated, all the planse of co-operation phonic, structural, expressional and semantic. Based on A. Neuer Commentary to Complete Edition Volume C11 (VIII) Szymanowski did not yield to the temptation of easy over-stilization. Streching out to the deepest ethnic layers of his native musical culture, he made an attempt to mould and suitably fashion a Polish style of musical utterance. This tendency is apparent in the Three Lullabies, Op. 48, to words by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, composed in 1922 and published by Universal Edition in 1926. In the Lullabies we can find the confirmation of the fact that utterly new atmosphere which, according to the composer, Słopiewnie had introduced into his music, was not a once-for-all phenomemon. The elements of the new musical language, analised in connection with the earlier cycle, may here be regarded as assimilated. These are modalities in vocal melodies (Lullaby I) and cadences (Lullabies I and III), a bourdon effect with a tritone (Lullaby II). However these sometimes sligh and apparently unimportant details recur constatnly, an so acquire the nature of a definite compositional technique establishing a style based in an increasing degree on nationalistic elements. Based on Adam Neuer Commentary to Complete Edition Volume C11 (IX) The Childrens Rhymes, Op. 49, a cycle of twenty short songs by Kazimiera Iłłakowicz, composed in 1922-23, were a completely new creative experience for Szymanowski. He composed the Rhymes with his 11-year-old niece in mind. She was the daughter of Stanisława Korwin-Szymanowska, who performed these songs for the first time in Warsaw on 25 February 1924. [] Szymanowskis Rhymes irresistibly bring to mind the songs The Nursery (Detskaya) by Modest Mussorgsky. The scheme of the plot is also similar in both compositions, in that the song Before Falling Asleep is the main link. In Szymanowskis work it opens the whole cycle, announcing, as it were, the projection of all the little scenas and events presented later. Szymanowski composes little melodies as if they were made up by children, and attempts to speak their own language. This accounts for the numerous illustrative effects in these songs, which are never so pronunced as to go beyond the musical understanding of the text. The technique of sound metaphor and colouring of the poetic picture suited the composer better than imitation in the strict sense. The vividness of the pictures, the kaleidoscopic nature of the coloured thoughts about which Chris complains in the song Before Falling Asleep, the plasticity of details and aphoristic terseness with which Szymanowski enclosed the world of the childs experiences in twenty short compositions, present considerable interpretative difficulties. Based on A. Neuer Commentary to Complete Edition Volume C11 (XI) The folk element which had been running incessantly through Szymanowskis lyric works since the time of the Soldiers Songs found an opportunity for full development in the Kurpian Songs, Op. 58, which are arrangements of authentic tunes fo the Green Forest region. The composers interest in Kurpian music dates from 1928, when the first part of Skierkowskis collection Puszcza Kurpiowska w pieśni (The Kurpian Forest in Song) appeared on sale. Drawing on this collection, Szymanowski first arranged Six Folk Songs for mixed choir a cappella and later he began to compose a cycle of solo songs. This arrangement of the Kurpian Songs is remarkable for the way in which the harmonic and textural suggestions inherent in the single-melody-line notation have been understood and the protomusical elements comprised within it reproduced. Trusting only in his artistic intuition, he attempted to create such a mode of expression and sound style as would be most in symphaty with the folk idiom. A sense of the primitive and sohpisticated coarseness, on the one hand, and, on the other, solicitude for euphony and harmonic subtleties form a much wider range of means of musical expression than had appeared in the previous songs of that period. All of them were composed within the sphere of influence of the Słopiewnie. Based on commentary by Adam Neuer (Szymanowski Complete Edition Volume C11) (XII) The Vocalise Étude was written in 1928, as a result of a commision from A.L. Hettich, the editor of the series Repertorie Moderne de Vocalises Etudes, in the 6th volume of which it was eventually published (A.Leduc, 1928). It was performed for the first time by Stanisława Korwin-Szymanowska and the composer in Warsaw on 24 April 1928. The Vocalise-Etude shares with Słopiewnie tonal fundamentals, melodic structures and affinity of motifs, whrereas its intervallic principle of construction resembles the method applied in the Three Lullabies. [] Przedmowa do Wydania Dzieł Wszystkich A. Neuer tom C11 (XIII) In 1924 Szymanowski published the article concerning the music of the Tatra highlanders in the periodical Pani (nos. 8-9), in which, at the editiors request, he included a popular highlanders tune arranged for voice and piano entitled Idom se siuhaje dołu, śpiewajęcy (Siuhaje are going down singing). The composers attitude towards this song was ambivalent. I think it is a bit of a cheat, he wrote to Stanisław Mierczyński on 12 January 1924, but he thought better of it, as can be seen from the conclusion of the letter: regarding this song, to be true, I do not think is is quite cheating; I have not achieved what I intended with respect to the Tatra highlanders folklore as raw material, but I have come to be aware of the ways along which I must proceed in this direction, which is important in connection with my further plans. Szymanowski, as is well known, carried these plans into effect. In 1931 he completed the ballet Harnasie, in which he included the whole Song of Siuhaje as the third number of Scene II. Based on commentary by Adam Neuer (Szymanowski Complete Edition Volume C11) (XIV) At the end of 1925 and the beginning of 1926 Szymanowski again took an interest in soldiers songs. Together with his brother Feliks he arranged twenty popular songs for piano with text underlaid. This collection, entitled Pieśni polskie (Polish songs) and published by Gebethner and Wollf, appeared in 1928. Feliks Szymanowski elaborated eleven of the songs, leaving nine, the best known and most interesting musically speaking, for Karol. The collection contains all kinds of Polish soldiers songs. Unlike the Soldiers Songs, in which the composer adopted the fold idiom as his point of departure, The Polish Songs relate to the tradition of home music-making in manor-houses and townspeoples families. The texture is more complicated here; the harmonization denser and original, with a preference for sharply dissonant chords, although concern for euphonic three-note chords is evident in some places. Above all, however, the Polish Songs are especially striking for the composers preservation of the solemn and, at the same time, lyrical note, so typical of patriotic singing; they reveal a hitherto unknown feature of his style. Adam Neuer Dzieła wszystkie tom C11 (XV)The Soldiers Songs (Piosenki żołnierskie), composed in August 1920, during the siege of Warsaw, which Szymanowski experienced most profundly, constituted the first step on this way. These simple functional songs bear certain idiomatic features worthy of note, for they were to appear distincly in later compositions. The characteristic structure of melodies, the recurrence of phrases and the rhythm of the mazurka (A Deceived Soldier) and the krakowiak (Hanka was embroidering) would indicate plain imitation of folk examples. None the less, the composer was not concerned with stylization but with recalling the old popular tradition of the genre as well as with refreshing his own musical language. Based on A. Neuer Commentary to Complete Edition Volume C11



  • Series: Szymanowski - GA / CE
  • ISMN 979-0-2740-1943-3
  • Language of edition: eng, pol,
  • Number of pages: 352
  • Cover: hardcover
  • No. of edition: 2
  • Published: 2021
  • Type: solo part (vocal) + accompaniment
  • Size: A3 vertical


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