Karol Szymanowski

Polish composer (1882–1937)

Karol Maciej Szymanowski (6 October 1882 - 29 March 1937) was a Polish composer. Next to Frederic Chopin, Karol was Poland's most famous composer. He is one of the greatest Polish composers of the first half of the 20th century.

Karol Szymanowski (1922)

Early life


Szymanowski was born on his family's estate in Tymoszówka in what is today Ukraine. He studied in Berlin and Warsaw.

His music can be divided into three phases.

Early works before World War I showed his repertoire for the works of Frederic Chopin, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.

The second phase is influenced by the Orient and Mediterranean cultures. His music during this phase resulted in many of his best known compositions.

The third phase began in 1921. It has much that is similar to Polish folk themes. This work defined Polish themed music and is thought to include his greatest works. Initially, his music was not well accepted in Poland.

The works of Szymanowski include four symphonies, two violin concertos, the operas Hagith and King Roger, the ballet-pantomime Harnasie, the oratorio Stabat Mater, as well as many piano, violin, vocal and choral compositions. His most popular works was his ballet Harnasie and opera King Roger. "Harnasie" was first shown in Prague and later shown at the Paris Opera. It was received with acclamation and enthusiasm, both by critics and the public. Health and financial problems brought his work to an end in 1934. Szymanowski died after a short stay in a sanatorium in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He died of tuberculosis in Lausanne, Switzerland on 28 March 1937.[1] He was buried on 7 April 1937 at the cemetery for the Polish nobles, in Pauline in Krakow.