Szymanowski: Concert Overture; Symphonie Concertante; Symphony No 2


 Louis Lortie (piano), BBCSO/ Edward Gardner CHSA 5115 *****

The borrowings from Richard Strauss in the 23-year-old Karol Szymanowski’s Concert Overture of 1905 are nothing if not blatant. Imitation taken too far, or justified youthful exuberance? Decide for yourself. Strauss is there, too, in the more headily intense chromaticism of the Second Symphony (1909-10, re-orchestrated 1927-36; the overture was also re-orchestrated, in 1912-13), jostling with melodic inflections that would become characteristic of the later Szymanowski. The mature 1932 Symphonie concertante for piano and orchestra, highly perfumed, intricately detailed and often folk-flavoured, is both concerto and symphon. The performance here, as with everything on the disc, is all you could wish.

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