The early 20th-century Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (Shim-an-ow-ski) and his rapturous, impressionistic music are long overdue for rediscovery by audiences who already enjoy Debussy, Scriabin, and Bartók. Today there is no more dedicated interpreter of the composer’s music than pianist Piotr Anderszewski (And-er-shev-ski), who performs some of Szymanowski’s alluring works in three concerts of orchestral music, chamber music, and piano pieces.
SZYMANOWSKI Symphony No. 4, Op. 60 “Symphonie concertante”
Tickets start at $18.50.
SZYMANOWSKI String Quartet No. 1
Tickets: $52, $58
SZYMANOWSKI Metopes, Op. 29
Tickets: $52, $58
Posted March 19, 2010
Widely considered the greatest Polish composer after Frédéric Chopin, Karol Szymanowski was the artistic godparent of many contemporary masters, including Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Henryk Górecki. Yet nearly 75 years after his death, performances of Szymanowski’s colorful, elegantly crafted music are rare, even in his native country.
“It is a very sad thing, but as a pianist in Poland, you are asked to play Chopin and nothing else. Nobody asks you to play Szymanowski,” says Polish- Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski. Paradoxically, it was the very fact that he felt no pressure to program Szymanowski’s music that first sparked Anderszewski’s interest. Determined to find out whether there was more to the composer’s scores than first met his eye, he decided to give a concert performance of Métopes, a set of three Debussy-esque piano miniatures inspired by the mythology and landscape of ancient Greece.
“I learned measure after measure without understanding what the music was all about,” Anderszewski says. “One day, when I could more or less play through the piece, an incredible line suddenly appeared, hidden within the music. It’s a line that is not very obvious unless you know the piece very well. This discovery was one of the greatest artistic satisfactions I’ve ever had. It was like sailing into unknown waters and suddenly seeing a new piece of land.”
Piotr Anderszewski on learning to love Karol Szymanowski's music