Phim K. Szymanowski: Symphony no. 3 "Song of the Night" (Wit - Minkiewicz)
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Karol Szymanowski's Third Symphony "The Song of the Night (Piesn o Nocy) performed by Antoni Wit and Ryszard Minkiewicz, the best version of probably the best symphony of all the 20th century IMO.
The website karolszymanowski.pl about the Symphony:
In the summer of 1916, after two years of working on it irregularly (interrupted mainly during 1915 by ideas for new compositions), Szymanowski finished his Symphony No. 3 "Song of the Night" op. 27 for solo tenor, mixed choir and orchestra. The author of the text is the thirteenth-century Persian poet, mystic and Neoplatonist, Jallal-al-din Rumi. The Polish translation by Tadeusz Miciński (of the poem Song of the Night (based on a German translation) appeared in 1905 in the Warsaw monthly "Chimera", devoted to literature and art.
This mystical-pantheistic text of an Eastern poet must have seemed to Szymanowski to provide the ideal subject in a period of the birth of a new style, as well as providing support for his aesthetic needs and long-cherished desire to write a solid poem-symphony, which would give vent to his tendencies toward expression full of ardour and ecstatic raptures. The vision of "this night", which brings with it the great revelation, illuminating the mystery of God and Being, the rapture and dazzlement which accompany it, the feeling of the extraordinary, all this provided opportunity and stimulus to create music of exceptional emotional power, reaching a state of ecstasy; at the same time this music was new, strange, uncommon, fantastic, far-removed from the old conventions and even -- in its mysterious depth and mood -- unique and unrepeatable. At the same time, the beauty of the starry sky and universe being extolled in the poem added a physical dimension to the mystical thrill, which might have corresponded to the very sensual character of Szymanowski's expression and the modern colour of his music. Finally, using a work by a Persian poet gave the composer a reason for introducing oriental accents, which attracted him at that time, such as characteristic melodic phrases or the sumptuousness of the ornamental patterns, which can at times be heard in the orchestra.
Melody plays an important part in this work, and Szymanowski exhibits great inventiveness in this area -- above all in the widely stretched violin phrases in high registers, flowing imaginatively and filled with strong emotion, their interval structure (similar to Songs of Hafiz) possibly bringing associations with some original ephemeral scales which do not stabilise; of greater importance, however, are certain distinctive and recurring motifs. These melodies -- exceptionally beautiful, each one different, lyrically songful and new in structure -- are contrasted with others -- simpler, compact and forceful phrases made up of a few notes; through habit we perceive them tonally and attempt to refer mentally to a particular tonality which, however, does not reveal itself; what is heard instead is the repetition of certain recurrent, sparse-sounding motifs, which creates an individual expressive effect.
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