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Szymanowski: Harnasie (Ballet-Pantomime)

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Editorial Reviews

Multiple prize-winner and Grammy award nominee for several of his Naxos recordings, Antoni Wit is one of today's most highly regarded Polish conductors, an ideal interpreter of the exotic, colourfully scored music of Karol Szymanowski, described by Sir Simon Rattle as 'one of the greatest composers of this century'.

The ballet-pantomime Harnasie and the incidental music for Prince Potemkin both draw on the folk-music of the people of the Tatra Mountains, while the ballet Mandragora was composed for a production of Molière's comedy Le bourgeois gentilhomme.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 1: Na hali (Tableau 1: In the mou
  2. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 1: Na hali (Tableau 1: In the mou
  3. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 1: Na hali (Tableau 1: In the mou
  4. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 1: Na hali (Tableau 1: In the mou
  5. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 1: Na hali (Tableau 1: In the mou
  6. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 2. W karczmie (Tableau 2: In the
  7. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 2. W karczmie (Tableau 2: In the
  8. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 2. W karczmie (Tableau 2: In the
  9. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 2. W karczmie (Tableau 2: In the
  10. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 2. W karczmie (Tableau 2: In the
  11. Harnasie (The Highland Robbers), ballet pantomime for tenor, chorus & orchestra, Op. 55, M68: Obraz 2. W karczmie (Tableau 2: In the
  12. Mandragora, ballet pantomime, Op. 43, M45: Scene 1
  13. Mandragora, ballet pantomime, Op. 43, M45: Scene 2
  14. Mandragora, ballet pantomime, Op. 43, M45: Scene 3
  15. Prince Potemkin, incidental music to Act 5 of Micinski's play, for orchestra, Op. 51, M57


Product Details

  • Conductor: Wit
  • Composer: Szymanowski
  • Audio CD (February 24, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B001NZA0CE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,884 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I had known of Szymanowski's ballet-pantomime 'Harnasie' for many years but until this CD came my way I'd never heard a note of it. Its composition took Szymanowski many years -- from 1923 to 1931 -- and it underwent many revisions and tweakings during that time. It had been inspired by the composer's extended visits to the Tatra region of southern Poland and the wedding there of his friends Jerzy Rytard and Helena Roj. He was fascinated by the singing and dancing at the wedding festivities by local peasants. It is no surprise, then, that there are points of reference, at least in general feeling, with Stravinsky's 'Les Noces.' The ballet's story is about the wedding of a young girl, kidnapped by local bandits called the Harnasie, to their leader, Harnas. By the time Szymanowski wrote this work his style had incorporated both impressionism and the movement in eastern Europe focused on folk music. The ballet incorporates tenor solos and choral singing among its eleven scenes -- the venerable Polish tenor Wieslaw Ochman is heard singing about the joys of the bandit life -- and makes much use of actual Tatra folk melodies and rhythms. The music is notable for its sense of unfettered celebration, tenderness and brutality. Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic, along with soloists and chorus, give a scintillating performance.

'Mandragora', from 1920, is a pantomime composed for use in the third act of Molière's 'Le bourgeois gentilhomme' (also the inspiration for Strauss's 'Ariadne auf Naxos'). Its three scenes portray a bored king and queen being entertained by commedia dell'arte figures. Highly satirical and broadly humorous, there are strong Stravinskian gestures similar to 'Petrushka', a score that had much impressed Szymanowski.
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