The Fourth Symphony belongs to the last period of Szymanowskis composition, which began in 1921. When Poland regained independence, Szymanowski came to Warsaw from Ukraine. His search for a new aesthetic was undoubtedly connected with his awareness of the necessity of creating artistic values for Polish musical culture, Szymanowski always cherished a profound cult of Chopins music, which in this period turned into a conscious continuation of the Chopin tradition and an endeavour at such a generalisation of the Polish national idiom in music which would impact a universal, and not only national, value to it.
The material of the Forth Symphony does not arise directly from the melodies, rhythms or scales of folk music. The folk idiom only finds expression here by means of external rhythmic patterns and a few scale reminiscences. In the sphere of melody there occurs a refinement and transformation of the pure folk element into the reconstructed, national, or rather imaginary Lekhitic, primaeval Polish element. I it is the melody that determines the character of the sound material of the first and second movements, in the last movement the formative factor is the rhythm that follows the dance scheme of the oberek (Polish folk dance). The rhythmic element remains in a symbiosis with the dynamic element in this movement, which protects the rhythmical simple material from the danger of monotony. In considering the pianist texture of the solo part, we must keep in mind the fact that Szymanowski wrote the Fourth Symphony for himself as a performer. Here some peculiarities in its pianistic aspect, the adaptation the piano texture to the hands of the composer and to the natural limitations and possibilities of his technique and execution.
(based on preface to the '' Works'' by T.Chylińska, PWM 1986)