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Stanisław and Anna Oświecimowie,

Symphonic Poem Op. 12

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  • Cat. no. 2834


In a letter to Adolf Chybiński of April 2, 1907, Karłowicz called his fourth symphonic poem ''a Polish travesty of Romeo and Juliet''. Initially, the composer did not tell his musicologist friend what the title of his new composition was. In another letter he wrote: ''The tragic beauty of a legend about unhappy love of brother and sister made me take up the theme''. The inspiration to write to write Stanisław and Anna Oświecim may have come from the composer's own experience, i.e., from his teenage ardent love for his cousin, Ludka Śniadecka. This was suggested by the composer's friend, Stanisław Szumowski in his reminiscences of Karłowicz. That the legend was deeply rooted in the composer's mind for a long time may be proved by his seeing a painting bu Stanisław Bergmann, Stanisław Oświecim by Dead Anna, in Cracow, 1892. In his short story of the legend for the Vienna listeners of the work the composer wrote: ''They both fell in ardent love with each other but realizing that their love was full of sin tried to supress their passion in vain. (...) A little shrine in Krosno is the place were both of them are buried and reunited after their unhappy life on earth''. Karłowicz chose a free sonata form to present musically the tragic love of the Oświecims. The form has strong contrasts, conflicts and outbursts of expression. There are two versions of the main thematic idea. The first is violent and ecstatic and the second lyrical and idyllic. They depict the brother and the sister and their emotions. The theme of Stanisław resembles the motif of ''intoxication with a love potion'' from Tristan i Izolda by Wagner. The theme of Anna is a Karłowicz echo of the theme of Siegmund and Sieglinde (die Walkrüre). Important role in the musical plot of the poem is played also by two ideas: a contrasting theme of ''fatality'' which, in the culmination of the work, turns into the transformational part of the symphonic poem Leszek Polony (translated by Jerzy Ossowski)

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