, 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