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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Szymanowski, Eroticism and the Voices of Mythology


Stephen Downes

RMA Monographs No. 11

publ. Royal Musical Association and Ashgate, 2003

109pp. Hardback

ISBN 0 947854 10 X



This is a slim, densely written and solidly rewarding volume throwing considered light on the erotic and mythic dimensions of Szymanowski's music. One can imagine a similar dissertation being written on Sorabji's music. Sorabji was of course a fervent admirer of and crusader for Szymanowski's music (especially the Third Symphony Song of the Night). Bax too (another Szymanowski champion) could easily stand similar treatment which was in fact accorded to him in some measure in Colin Scott-Sutherland's 1972 Dent book. Bax by the way originally dedicated his Sixth Symphony to Szymanowski; only later supplanting the Pole in favour of Adrian Boult in the published score.

What impresses mightily and immediately about this book is the depth of the referential material which reflects widely read approach.

There are 24 music examples. The index runs to three pages; the bibliography to seven.

This is an agreeably detailed study suitable for Szymanowski specialists and those fascinated by the margins and overlaps between music, literature, myth and psychology.

Rob Barnett



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