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Although he left the merest handful of compositions at his seemingly accidental death in an avalanche while skiing, Mieczyslaw Karlowicz ranks among the most important Polish composers of his generation.
The final years of his brief career were taken up by a series of six symphonic poems, the third, fourth and sixth of which are included on this first disc of these works.
Alternating between fervent affirmation and brooding melancholy, these impressive late-romantic works are notable for their colourful and imaginative orchestration and fresh and original harmony.
Mieczyslaw Karlowicz: Stanislaw i Anna Oswiecimowie (Stanislaw and Anna Oswiecim), Op. 12
Stanislaw i Anna Oswiecimowie (Stanislaw and Anna of Oswiecim), Op. 12
Mieczyslaw Karlowicz: Epizod na maskaradzie (Episode at a Masquerade), Op. 14
Epizod na maskaradzie (Episode at a Masquerade), Op. 14
1st August 2008
“The folksong-driven Lithuanian Rhapsody, composed in 1906, is the most straightforward of the three [symphonic poems]; Stanislaw and Anna Oswiecimowie, completed the following year, is the most structurally cogent; while Episode at a Masquerade is the most problematic: it was unfinished, and whether the completed work fulfilled Karlowicz's intentions remains unclear. The full-blooded performances under Antoni Wit leave no room for doubt, though the Chandos versions with the BBC Philharmonic are more refined.”
2nd August 2008
“In warmly robust recordings, these performances of three of his opulent orchestral works are every bit the equal of those in Chandos's acclaimed Karlowicz series, with the addition of some winningly characterful playing from the Polish musicians, especially the woodwind. Antoni Wit lovingly shapes the music, a mixture of grand gestures and memorable themes, and brings out all the colour of Karlowicz's luminous orchestral writing.”
“Antoni Wit takes the Lithuanian Rhapsody and Episode at a Masquerade a little more broadly than his counterparts on Chandos, and there is certainly an attractive raw energy in the Polish playing. But Tortelier and Noseda have nothing to learn from anyone about communicative immediacy...”
“Antoni Wit handles the dynamics of Karlowicz's musical language with flexibility and unerring insight, and the Warsaw Philharmonic is clearly passionately engaged…”