Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Karlowicz, a Polish secret

A composer I had never even heard of until December last year, when fellow Talk Classical bulletin board member Aramis heartily recommended him. Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876 - 1909) was a Polish composer and conductor. He died far too young in an avalanche in his beloved Tatra mountains, leaving behind a limited number of compositions, but of astonishing quality. His most outstanding work is the set of symphonic poems (op.9-14, 1904-1909), late romantic masterpieces which evoke the world of Wagner, Mahler and Strauss in their imaginative colourful orchestration. Naxos have released all six of them on two CD's. I link to the first, but really, both are essential. Excellent playing by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra under Antoni Wit. For me the main musical discovery of the year 2010.