Karlowicz: Symphonic Poems Vol 1 / Wit, Warsaw Po
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Mieczyslaw Karlowicz's six symphonic poems feature gobs of Straussian sonority in loosely organized forms, and while Antoni Wit's performances are actually a touch slower than the competition on Chandos, the playing of the Warsaw Philharmonic is so much more atmospheric, richly textured, and knowing than that of the BBC Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda that the music is transformed. In classic Romantic fashion, the programmatic basis of all of this music is darkly tragic (for example, Stanislaw and Anna have an incestuous love affair and the story naturally ends in death). Wit clearly understands the idiom and milks the music for all it's worth. Thus, the celebratory sequences in Episode at a Masquerade have an extra degree of feverish brilliance, and the repetitious opening of Lithuanian Rhapsody is spellbinding rather than merely monotonous--in short, these forces make the best possible case for Karlowicz.
This is a young man's music--he was only in his early 30s when he died in 1909--full of self-indulgent excess; but it's also brimming with promising talent. This sumptuously engineered production reminds us of just what a loss his early death represented for 20th-century Polish music, while allowing us to savor his all too meager legacy.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: 8570452
Composer: Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Conductor: Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra