Joanna Domańska, one of the Szymanowski Competition jurors in the Piano category, has created a transcription of Szymanowski's famous ballet Harnasie in a version for two pianos.

The ballet arrangement by Karol Szymanowski was created based on three sources: the score of the ballet, the arrangement on the last scene together with an epilogue for violin and piano by Paweł Kochański, entitled Danse paysanne and the version for piano four hands prepared by Grażyna Bacewicz.
This is a work for stage performance. The parts of both pianos are treated equally. The edition contains almost all the texts of the score, in the original version for solo tenor, mixed choir and orchestra. Only those endings of the scenes are omitted which the composer planned to present in concert version.
The arrangement for two pianos allowed for supplementing many parts that could not be included in the version for four hands and were omitted or included fragmentarily in Bacewicz’s arrangement. It also makes it easier to perform complicated rhythmic figures more precisely. The richness of Szymanowski’s score – in the arrangement from 1935 frequently reduced to long values – was therefore reinforced. This decides on the value of the arrangement in terms of timbre and virtuosity.

Music material characterized by a dense texture, rhythmic richness, maximum reproduction of the richness of the orchestral sound on two pianos - intended rather for professional pianists.

The transcription is to buy at the website of our Strategic Partner - PWM.

source text: PWM

Symphonie concertante op. 60 for piano and orchestra, which has a lot of common features with piano concerto, was composed in 1932. Szymanowski intended to write a piece for piano and orchestra for years, and when he finally started composing… it took him less than 4 months to finish it. The piece was dedicated to a great pianist and friend of Szymanowski - Artur Rubinstein. Yet, all along, Szymanowski also planned to include the composition in his own repertoire.

The world premiere of Symphonie concertante op. 60 took place in Poznań on 9th October, the same year. The piece was performed by Szymanowski and Orchestra of the City of Poznań conducted by Grzegorz Fitelberg.

Later the same month, Szymanowski wrote to Zofia Kochańska: 

“my piano ‘debut’ with the concerto in Poznań on the 9th. You can imagine what an évenement this was for me! Everything went superbly, so much so that I had to play the whole finale as an encore! Don’t laugh at me – I suppose I really treat my ‘pianism’ as a joke, but I give you my word, people were totally amazed at how I can play like that. I don’t really understand how I managed to get to the point where I could play reasonably correctly in general, and even with some éclat.”

In September this year, participants of the 2nd Szymanowski Competition will perform Symphonie concertante op. 60 in the legendary music hall of NOSPR.

Exactly 140 years ago, the world welcomed one of the greatest artists in history - Karol Szymanowski. It is heart-warming to see his music (and through the music, the composer himself) still alive after this many years, still admired and performed around the world by either the older and the younger generations of musicians. We are delighted that we can celebrate this event with you, with people who share the same values and admire art. There is no better way to celebrate Szymanowski's birthday than participating in the Competition. Very soon we will find out the winners of the Composition. To sweeten this waiting for result time, we have prepared a few options that will help us celebrate today's holiday fully.

  1. NOSPR Symphonic educational concert / Szymanowski – Portrait 140/85 - the Competition Organiser has prepared two educational concerts dedicated to Szymanowski! Szymanowski's works will be performed by two laureates of the 1st edition of the Competition - Sławomira Wilga and Roksana Kwaśnikowska. We can't wait to see them at the NOSPR stage again!
  2. Karol Szymanowski: Piano Works, the newest release of an excellent pianist - Kristian Zimerman. A must-have in the collection of every music lover. 
  3. Karol Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice, co-organiser of the Competition, invites to a piano Wednesday, in the programme: 4 Mazurkas op. 50, Sonata in C Minor, Op. 8, and Harnasie op. 55 in transcription for two pianos in Joanna Domańska’s development.
  4. „Karol z Atmy – wartość tradycji i wyzwania współczesności” - a concert in Atma, the place where Szymanowski lived and composed, the place he truly loved. In the programme, i.a. Harnasie, the famous ballet of Szymanowski pefromed by duoAccosphere and Airis Quartet.
  5. Karol Radziszewski's "Myths" - in Warsaw you can visit an art exhibition devoted to Szymanowski. Radziszewski illustrated the entire life of the composer, from Tymoshivka, through Szymanowski’s portraits, to his lovers’ pictures. The exhibition ends on the 26th of November.
  6. SzymaNOWski 140 - OperaLight’s project opened with a premiere of Roxana’s Song videoclip, a modern adaptation of Szymanowski’s King Roger which expresses the current world situation. In the later phase of the project, there is a series of concerts fully devoted to Szymanowski’s works. 
  7. Polskie Radio has prepared a series of podcasts in which Zofia Szymanowska, the youngest sister of Karol, tells about their childhood in Tymoshivka (memories by Zofia Szymanowska reads Teresa Budzisz-Krzyżanowska).

Thank you for being with us. It’s wonderful to celebrate this extraordinary month with you. We encourage you to follow the Competition’s events. Very soon we will find out the first winners and move on to the performing competition.

Karol Szymanowski — an outstanding Polish composer of global fame. Some call him a second Chopin, others claim that his fame would have grown even greater had he lived in different times. 

An unusually colourful personality, he deserves recognition and commemoration. It is for persons who want to come as close to Szymanowski as possible during the second edition of the Competition, that we prepared a series of short articles focusing on particular stages of the composer’s life. We want to gather all facts, myths, and trivia together. We will do our best to make your reading not only fascinating, but pleasurable as well.

Meanwhile, we would like to invite instrumentalists to follow our social media channels and invite composers to take part in your category of the Competition.

See you soon at another Szymanowski 101 lesson!

“45. Karol Szymanowski Music Days” festival begins today! The event celebrates the 140th anniversary of the composer’s birthday. The festival is organised by our friends and the Competition’s co-organisers - The Karol Szymanowski Music Society. The program is really extensive, especially in the works of the Competition's patron. Therefore, we highly recommend visiting Zakopane between 24th and 31st July. It is also a great opportunity for the Competition’s participants who would like to prepare themselves really well.

The festival will be held in several places in the capital of Tatras. One of them is Atma - the famous villa where Szymanowski lived for a few years. One of the attractions is a film about the composer. A cappella concert on 29th July deserves special attention. On this day you can listen to a new composition by Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa who is a member of the Competition’s Honorary Committee. 

Among the performers at the festival will be:  Marta Kuziy, Joanna Domańska, Wojciech Pyrć, the Polish Radio Choir, and the Silesian String Quartet.

We strongly encourage you to participate in the event, you will find more information here.

Italy is a charming country, attracting the entire world with its art and culture. Every step you take, architecture and landscapes amaze your eyes, your nose is filled with the scent of traditional dishes made of local ingredients, and your ears - with sounds of Vivaldi…

Italy also means a lot to the Competition.
This is where Giovanni Bonato and Daniele Gasparini come from, the two laureates of the Composition category in the 1st edition of Szymanowski Competition. This year, the Head of the Jury in the Composition category of the 2nd edition of the Competition is Francesco Filidei. The composer born in Pisa works with the I Teatri Foundation of Reggio Emilia, and with Villa Medici as an art director of the contemporary music festival Controtempo.

Italy enraptured Karol Szymanowski himself. The artist returned to this marvelous country multiple times. Sicily was especially dear to him. So much that he decided to dedicate his greatest opera, “King Roger”, to this island. The composer sought inspiration in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Syracuse, the ancient amphitheatre in Taormina, Palermo's archaeological museum, and Arab and Norman monuments. After returning to Poland, Szymanowski created a number of works inspired by the Sicilian discoveries. These works include: “The Love Songs of Hafiz”, Symphony No. 3 “Song of the Night”, “Nocturne and Tarantella”, and the piano miniatures “Myths” and “Métopes”.

In 2017, in the garden of Teatro Massimo, the biggest opera theatre in Italy and one of the biggest in the entire Europe, there was held a reveal of the plaque commemorating the Polish composer. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Poland and Italy and the city Mayor - Leoluca Orlando participated in the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of Szymanowski’s death. The plaque's location is a fair distinction itself, as it is located nearby a bust of Giuseppe Verdiego, the king of Italian opera. The plaque resembles the metopes referred to in one of the composer's works, i.e. a plate on a frieze, known in ancient architecture, decorated with a bas-relief.
Also, it was Teatro Massimo that restored "King Roger" to world fame in 2005, staging it for the first time since a long hiatus. A few months after this event, "King Roger" opened the season of the Saint Cecilia National Academy in Rome.

Karol Szymanowski was honoured with The Officer Order of the Italian Crown, The Commander Order of the Italian Crown, and The Honourary Plaque of Reggia Accademia di Santa Cecilia.

We are looking forward to seeing the Italian artists in the Competition, and we are curious about the participants from other countries.

14th November 2021 saw the 11th ceremony of the Koryfeusze Muzyki Polskiej [Coryphées of Polish Music] awards. They are the music industry’s awards, coordinated by the National Institute of Music and Dance. This year, Danuta Gwizdalanka, a musicologist and a writer publishing on music, was awarded for her book Uwodziciel. Rzecz o Karolu Szymanowskim [The Seducer. On Karol Szymanowski] published by PWM Edition. She won the „Event of the year” award for „an intriguing and in-depth monograph on Karol Szymanowski, analysing the composer’s personality; for inspiring interest in the portrait of not only an outstanding artist, but also that of a human”. The book has already become a bestseller.

We offer our sincere congratulations to the Author!

This edition is going to be a special one, as its repertoire and logistics will be based on the SZYMANOWSKI Visegrad Music Platform, established at the beginning of the year, bringing together institutions of culture from the Visegrad Group countries.

The activity of the platform resulted in the Leoš Janáček Philharmonic in Ostrava Orchestra being invited to open the festival. Conducted by Robert Jindra, the Czech musicians will present Bohuslav Martinů’s Magic nights, three songs written for Chinese texts, with Kateřina Kněžíkova, as well as the Penthesilea op. 18and the Symphony No. 4 (Symphonie concertante) op. 60 by the festival’s patron, Karol Szymanowski. The solo part will be performed by the Czech pianist Tomáš Vrána.

The festival, spanning from 4th to 25th September, will include performances from the Cracow Philharmonic conducted by its artistic director Alexander Humala and ensembles from associated institutions of Central and Eastern Europe. The Ostrava Philharmonic Orchestra will be joined by the Slovak Sinfonietta from Žilina, while the epilogue of this year’s Szymanowski / Polska / Świat festival to take place in November 2021 will feature artists from Hungary.

The programme of the festival includes works which have already become permanent points of its host’s, Cracow Philharmonic’s, programme, such as Harnasie, the Symphonie concertante and the Symphony No. 2. The No. 2, however, will be presented in Alexander Humala’s interpretation based on the original 1910 version, and twice – on 17th September in Cracow and on 18th September at the W. Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio in Warsaw. Nonetheless, there will also be room for more rarely performed works by composers such as Eugen Suchoň, Ján Cikker, Ľubica Čekovska and Ilja Zeljenka, presented by the Slovak musicians. 

Stabat Mater, one of Karol Szymanowski’s most stirring works, will open the13th „Music on the Heights” international festival in Zakopane. 

The concert, conducted by Marzena Diakun, will take place in the Saint Cross church in Zakopane on 11th September at 7 p.m., presented by the Wrocław Philharmonic NFM ensemble and the NFM Choir. In the solo parts of the Stabat Mater, we are going to hearIzabela Matuła (soprano), Ewa Marciniec (alto) and Szymon Komasa (baritone).

Szymanowski’s work will be preceded by Krzysztof Penderecki’s Concertino for trumpet and orchestra with Jan Harasimowicz in the solo part, as well as the premiere of Paweł Szymański’s new piece Simple music for cello&orchestra, the latter with solo part performed by Magdalena Bojanowicz-Koziak.

The 13th edition of the Music on the Heights festival will finish on 18th September. The programme of the festival can be found here.

The second edition of the Karol Szymanowski International Music Competition will begin as soon as in a year’s time! The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, the organiser of the Competition, has just announced the dates and the rules for the second edition.

First organised in 2018, the Competition was a perfect fit for the cultural panorama of Katowice – a UNESCO City of Music – gathering the best young vocalists and instrumentalists of the world in the capital of Upper Silesia. The challenge they are facing is no mean one. What Karol Szymanowski’s music requires from artists is not only technical perfection, but first and foremost charisma, maturity and passion – all the factors which make the greatest personalities of the musical world really stand out.

The second edition is bound to make even more opportunities open before its participants. The most significant change will be the temporal separation of the Composition discipline from the competition in the performing disciplines, which will enable their artistic alignment. The Competition in the Composition discipline is scheduled as early as summer 2022. The works awarded in it will become mandatory for the participants in the performing disciplines of the Competition in 2023. Thus, works created thanks to the Competition will come to life and the young performers will face challenges presented by new music. One could hardly imagine a better tribute to Karol Szymanowski!

There will be the most famous artists of our time and the most influential personalities of international musical circles to be found among the jurors. There is also the total prize money of €300,000 and opportunity to make one’s name among global press and audiences awaiting the participants.

Entries in the Composition discipline will be accepted from 1st July to 31st August 2022.

Recruitment for participation in the performing categories will take place from November 2022 to January 2023.

Please sign up for our newsletter and follow our website and social media! More information about the second edition of the competition, the jurors, and preceding events will appear there very soon. 

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