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Cat. No. CHSA 5123 Price: £11.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHSA 5123 - Szymanowski: Stabat Mater/Harnasie
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Available From: 19 August 2013
Szymanowski: Stabat Mater/Harnasie
With this new release, Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra continue their series exploring Polish music for Chandos. This is the second volume in the survey of orchestral works by Karol Szymanowski. The first was well received by critics and the public alike. A review in BBC Music read: ‘Chandos’s [Polish series] reaches impressive heights… Gardner shows how he has become one of the finest non-Polish interpreters of Szymanowski.’
 
Vigorous and colourful, the ballet-pantomime Harnasie (1927 – 31) is typical of Szymanowski’s late style. It is ambitious, too, in its attempt at re-working folk music in symphonic form. Scored for a massive orchestra with tenor soloist and chorus, the work concerns the abduction of a peasant bride-to-be by the outlaw Harnas and his followers, the ‘Harnasie’, legendary robbers with more than just a hint of a Robin Hood reputation.
 
Szymanowski described his Stabat Mater as a ‘Peasant Requiem’. In fact, its pairing of Polish musical elements with liturgical text is entirely unique, and a clear reflection of the composer’s nationalistic convictions. Despite its modest size and its use of very modest orchestral forces, the work is considered one of Szymanowski’s most expressive and resonant, and it is one of the crowning glories of twentieth-century sacred music.
 
The internationally acclaimed soprano Lucy Crowe was recently described by The Sunday Times in the following glowing terms: ‘Lucy Crowe dazzles with her every appearance, a young singer blessed with look-at-me-and-listen charisma.’ She is joined by the mezzo-soprano Pamela Helen Stephen, baritone Gabor Bretz, and tenor Robert Murray, all of whom enjoy international reputations, performing with eminent orchestras and conductors around the world.
Reviews

 “… This surprising and fascinating music receives, as I indicate, excellent performances all round. I strongly suggest that you hear this one yourself.”
Lynn René Bayley – Fanfare – January/February 2014

"... Gardner restores the great work [Harnasie], as people’s music, modest in scale and forces, unusually individualistic for choral music - the three soloists only perform together near the end  ... It’s a performance that follows the composer closer in avoiding ’garish elements’ or obtrusive emotions, and it delivers all the more for that." ****
Brian Morton - Choir & Organ magazine - November/December 2013

"This is Edward Gardner’s seventh disc of 20th-century Polish music for Chandos, and arguably the most valuable... The influences , especially of Stravinsky and early Bartók, fit unself-consciously with the folk inflections and the bold, primary colours of the scoring. Gardners performance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra vividly captures that earthy spontaneity and the rhythmic drive of the music; his account of the other major works of the same period, the Stabat Mater, is just as convincing."  *****
Andrew Clements - The Guardian - 25 October 2013

"... The Stabat Mater of 1925 is one of his [Szymanowski] finest works, uniting Polish folk music and an impressionistic sound world. Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra capture the work’s intensity, for the unpretentious ballet score Harnasie."
Paul Gent - The Telegraph- 19 October 2013

"Two of Szymanowski’s most sublime later works here recieve performances entirely commensurate with their stature and thoroughly in tune with the music’s distinctive world of expression..."
Geoffrey Norris - Gramophone magazine - October 2013

"...Gardner’s disc is worth acquiring..."
Raymond S Tuttle - International Record Review - October 2013

                  Performance *****      Recording *****
"... Once again, Edward Gardner shows that he excels in Szymanowski’s rich ordhestral tapestries. This performance mixes wild mystery with coruscating brilliance ..."
John Allison  - BBC Music magazine - November 2013

 

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