The present publication is the first of a number of volumes in which the whole of the surviving correspondence to and from Karol Szymanowski, from 1902 until his death in 1937, will be made available in English translation. This first volume covers the years 1902–1919, the earliest letters dating from the composer’s student years in Warsaw. The collection goes on to cover his attempts to establish a place for himself in Polish, German and Austrian musical circles in the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War. It also provides a record of his travels in Europe and North Africa, his experiences during the First World War, during which time Szymanowski was confined to Russian territories, and finally the turmoil of the Bolshevik Revolution, the ensuing civil war, and his desperate attempts to find a way to the newly independent Poland, a goal only realized in the final days of 1919. It is a compelling narrative which throws invaluable light on this epic phase of European history, as well as affording insights into the maturation of one of the most significant composers of the first half of the twentieth century.
A number of illustrations and musical examples are included, along with explanatory footnotes. The edition also contains a bibliography, personalia section and indexes.
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Copyright 2016 Alistair Wightman
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