March 21, 2020, 10:33 PM · Hello,
Have any of you had an experience where you didn't think you'd like a certain composer, but then listened and found you actually like it?

I had that experience this morning listening to K Szymanowski's concert overture and symphony 1. I actually really enjoyed them. I always thought it would be remiscent of Berg or something (atonal/12 tone)

Replies (6)

March 21, 2020, 11:04 PM · Shostakovich, I thought his music was repetitive and not nice sounding. But his chamber music turned me over.
March 21, 2020, 11:07 PM · Szymanowski's early works were very much in the late Romantic vein. He didn't start to move toward atonality until more than ten years after the two pieces you mention. And even then, his atonality was more akin to French Impressionism than to the Second Viennese School. (His Op. 4, No. 3 Etude for piano is one of my favorite short piano pieces; I performed it multiple times, and it was one of only two piano pieces I could still play from memory five years after I stopped having regular access to a piano.)

For me, the composer is Bruckner. I expected something really long-winded and bombastic. Although his symphonies are indeed long, they somehow feel shorter than they are, and the orchestration is mostly quite delicate.

March 21, 2020, 11:42 PM · Andrew, when you say French Impressionism, do you mean like Debussy and Ravel (in a similar vein)?
Edited: March 22, 2020, 12:41 AM · Jake, Szymanowski's middle period could be called impressionistic in the vein of Debussy, Ravel and Scriabin- That's where stuff like the 1st violin concerto and the Mythes for violin and piano, and the Masques and Metopes was written.

In his late period, he goes back to folk music as a basis for composition, resulting in works like the 2nd violin concerto, the mazurkas for piano, and the Songs of Kurpie (these are some gems) for choir and for soprano and piano.

His early period (where the etude that Andrew mentions comes from, as well as stuff like the violin sonata) was influenced by Chopin, Scriabin and Strauss - You should be able to pretty clearly hear the Strauss in the Concert overture

March 22, 2020, 12:39 AM · In that case, Christian, I should like all of his stuff in theory
March 22, 2020, 12:45 AM · Who knows, Jake. Taste is subjective, but Szymanowski is one of my favorites. Sometimes something just hits you upside the head; sometimes it takes a few listens; sometimes something just eludes you. I feel like I gave Mahler more than a fair shake and it just did nothing for me, but maybe I'll finally check out Bruckner, since I just kinda assumed it was so much ovestuffed sausage, in the Mahler vein.

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