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Roland Pontinen - Pontinen Plays Szymanowski (2008)

Classic | Author: SELMER | 8-06-2018, 08:24
Roland Pontinen - Pontinen Plays Szymanowski (2008)
Artist: Roland Pontinen
Title Of Album: Pontinen Plays Szymanowski
Year Of Release: 2008
Label: BIS
Country: Sweden
Genre: Classical
Quality: FLAC (*image + .cue, log, artwork)
Bitrate: Lossless
Time: 77:37 min
Full Size: 242 MB


Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937)

[01] Sonata No. 3, Op. 36
[02]-[05] From Twenty Mazurkas, Op. 50 (Nos. 9-12)
[06]-[08] Masques, Op. 34
[09]-[11] Metopes, Op. 29
[12]-[13] Two Mazurkas, Op. 62

Polish composer Karol Szymanowski drew influences from French, German, Austrian, and Russian styles without affiliating himself with any of them. Now that this has been recognized as a virtue rather than a defect, his music is being programmed increasingly often. In the case of the piano music the listener often gets crowd-pleasing virtuosity as a bonus. The collection of piano pieces here, from the middle and later parts of Szymanowski's career, gives a good feel for several of his idioms and is superbly recorded and performed. Swedish pianist Roland Pontinen leads off with the densest work on the program, the Sonata No. 3, Op. 26, which manages to weave the four sections of a traditional sonata into a web of chromatic polyphony. Masques, Op. 34, and Metopes, Op. 29, are sets of programmatic pieces; the Metopes depict figures from Homer's "Odyssey," while the Masques are theatrical in nature. Both groups allow Szymanowski to display another key element of his style: the incorporation of Romantic exoticism into a modern idiom. Hear the modal backgrounds sketched by the piano in "Sheherazade," track 4. These are, despite the composer's advice to his publisher not to believe pianists "should they say anything to you about the huge quasi difficulties of my new piano style," quite challenging, but Pontinen is equally confident in both virtuoso passages and in the gnarlier atmosphere of the sonata. Perhaps the most unusual pieces here are the mazurkas. Szymanowski turned to this specialty of Chopin's at the end of his life, and he made something distinctively new of the dance. The four pieces drawn from the Twenty Mazurkas, Op. 50, don't have the rigor that Bartok drew from his ethnomusicological studies, but they're not in a completely different ballpark, either; they are not Romantic pieces. The Two Mazurkas, Op. 62, have melodies almost like Chopin's, with a lightly chromatic accompaniment and a lovely retrospective quality that Pontinen catches perfectly. Superbly clear sound completes a satisfying collection of piano music. -- James Manheim

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