Hyperion Records

4 Études, Op 4
1900/2; dedicated to Tala Neuhaus

'Szymanowski: Masques, Métopes & Études' (CDA67886)
Szymanowski: Masques, Métopes & Études
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67886  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Szymanowski: Piano Music' (CDH55081)
Szymanowski: Piano Music
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55081  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
No 1 in E flat minor: Allegro moderato
No 2 in G flat major: Allegro molto (leggiero e veloce)
Track 17 on CDA67886 [2'06]
Track 2 on CDH55081 [1'43] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 3 in B flat minor: Andante in modo d'una canzone (con dolore)
Track 18 on CDA67886 [4'18]
Track 3 on CDH55081 [4'23] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 4 in C major: Allegro (ma non troppo, affettuoso e rubato)
Track 19 on CDA67886 [3'42]
Track 4 on CDH55081 [3'32] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

4 Études, Op 4
Szymanowski’s Four Études, Op 4, were composed between 1900 and 1902. Before his Warsaw studies Szymanowski had attended the music school of his father’s cousin, Gustav Neuhaus, at Elisavetgrad, in what is now Ukraine. He dedicated these pieces to Tala (Natalia) Neuhaus, a lifelong friend. The harmonic and melodic inflections of early Scriabin are especially noticeable in the first Étude, in E flat minor, though not the distilled, evanescent brevity also characteristic of him. The second Étude, in G flat major, simultaneously divides groups of six semiquavers into subsets of both two and three to create an Escher-like, dizzying sense of conflicting perceptions. The B flat minor third Étude, which in posterity has achieved some independent fame, presents a sorrowful cantilena above slow repeating chords, rising to an imposing climactic restatement of the principal idea before reaching a sombre but subdued conclusion. The last Étude of the group offers a tantalizing glimpse of a far more tangential approach to tonality, juxtaposing hints of C major and A flat minor at the outset and launching without preamble into a restless discourse marked by obsessive repetition of short melodic motifs against a backdrop of triplet quavers. Eventually the fires burn themselves out, however, and with final calm comes unequivocal affirmation of C major as the sovereign key.

from notes by Francis Pott © 2014

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDH55081 track 2
No 2 in G flat major: Allegro molto (leggiero e veloce)
Recording date
27 November 1990
Recording venue
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Paul Spicer
Recording engineer
Simon Weir
Hyperion usage
  1. Szymanowski: Piano Music (CDA66409)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: April 1991
    Deletion date: March 2001
    Superseded by CDH55081
  2. Szymanowski: Piano Music (CDH55081)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: March 2001
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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