The Polish composer Karol Szymanowski is one of the most fascinating musical figures of the early twentieth century. His works included four symphonies, two violin concertos, the operas Hagith and King Roger, the ballet-pantomime Harnasie, the oratorio Stabat Mater, as well as numerous piano, violin, vocal and choral compositions. The profile and popularity of Szymanowski's music outside Poland has never been higher and continues to grow. The Szymanowski Companion constitutes the most significant and comprehensive reference source to the composer in English. Edited by two of the leading scholars in the field, Paul Cadrin and Stephen Downes, the collection consists of over 50 contributions from an international array of contributors, including recognized Polish experts. The Companion thus provides a systematic, authoritative and up-to-date compilation of information concerning the composer's life, thought and works.
A retired professor from Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, Paul Cadrin’s interest in the music of Szymanowski dates from the time of his doctoral dissertation in 1982. A steady stream of research and publications on that topic has since followed. He was awarded the Karol Szymanowski Memorial Medal in 1998. Stephen Downes is Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. He is the author of two monographs on Szymanowski and books on music and eroticism, modernism and decadence, the influence of Mahler, and the music of Hans Werner Henze. He was awarded the Wilk Prize for Research in Polish Music by the University of Southern California and is a recipient of the Karol Szymanowski Memorial Medal.
’The case for Szymanowski as a significant and distinctive voice in the modernist chorus of the early twentieth century no longer needs to be made. Yet reliable information on his music and its contexts is still elusive. The present volume addresses a real need, then, and it does so in novel and interesting ways. Above all, the format - a collection of relatively short essays - enables coverage of an unusually wide range of topics, extending well beyond the music itself. We learn about the composer’s connections with family, patrons, dedicatees and correspondents, about his travels, his contribution as a writer and thinker, and his self-positioning in relation to historical imperatives and the turbulent politics of his age. All that, and a good deal else.’ Jim Samson, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK