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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55081
Recording details: November 1990
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Simon Weir
Release date: April 1991
Total duration: 12 minutes 57 seconds

'Will afford delight as well as discovery … this disc surpasses any earlier commercial recordings of Szymanowski’s music I have heard' (Gramophone)

'Dennis Lee clarifies the cascades of notes – or rather sonorities … so that these complex pieces are understood more easily than usual' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The finest record of Szymanowski's piano music to have appeared to date' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'A landmark release. Enthusiastically recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'Dennis Lee simply doesn't put a foot wrong, displaying a quite remarkable empathy for this elusive, technically rigorous repertoire' (Hi-Fi News)

Fantasy in F minor, Op 14
composer

Grave  [3'37]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Fantasy, Opus 14, dates from Szymanowski’s early formative years. Completed in Warsaw in 1905, it was a response first and foremost to the music of Liszt, who also had a passing influence on Op 4 No 1. On one level the influence is revealed in the texture and figuration of the Fantasy, certainly the most complex and virtuosic yet attempted by Szymanowski. Moreover, as in Liszt, the arpeggiated cascades of sound are often emancipated from an accompanimental status, carrying the music towards powerful climaxes with an impassioned rhetoric which disguises occasional poverty in the basic material. Even the more delicate textures of the slow section recall Liszt rather than Chopin. But the influence goes yet deeper. The work is in effect a tripartite cyclic structure employing two principal thematic elements throughout, with the final section synthesizing earlier material. Admittedly, transformations are minimal but there can be little doubt that Liszt acted as the formal as well as the stylistic model.

from notes by Jim Samson © 1991

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