Simply... Philharmonic!3: Karol Szymanowski Quartet Filharmonia Narodowa

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Art should surprise, a musical work must conceal something mysterious or unexpected. In Szymanowski’s Quartet, there is no shortage of surprises almost from the off, although most interesting of all perhaps is the frenzied polytonal finale. Completed in 1903, Ravel’s Quartet apparently enraged the competition jurors, who deemed it to be ‘barbaric’, seemingly failing to understood the power and extraordinary qualities of his musical images. In Schumann’s Quintet, the surprise comes with the second movement, its funereal mood contrasting with the cheerful, exuberant opening. But then everything changes again.


Simply... Philharmonic! Project 3:
The search for new means of expression, a sensitivity to nuances of timbre and colour, has fascinated composers of different eras. Yet there are moments in the history of music when that sensitivity comes decidedly to the fore, and the desire to polish nuances reaches a peak. And it might be worth occasionally dwelling on such moments and emphasising them. Ravel and Szymanowski juxtaposing images and mixing colours in their quartets, Beethoven emancipating the sound material of the sonata from its rigid form, Schumann playing with motifs in his Humoreske or Chopin crafting a new space out of miniatures in his Preludes – all sensitive composers who have created new qualities.


Marcin Majchrowski