|Anderszewski on Szymanowski
Having studied and performed Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, I found myself at an impasse for quite a long time afterwards. Being so close to this work gave me a feeling of such completeness... The problem was that any work I tried to get to know afterwards seemed so meagre and superfluous.
I threw myself into Szymanowski a little against my inclination. I had a dislike of his music, because of its exuberance, its lack of economy, but intuitively I must have felt something in it - a possibility, a completely new potential. So I immersed myself in what was for me a completely strange and alien world. This was the 'Métopes'.
Entering uncharted waters is nerve-racking and can pose innumerable problems. This was certainly the case. But what satisfaction, what a wonderful revelation when a new continent comes on to the horizon and the world becomes much more extensive than one could have imagined! This was the case too.
The difficulty with Szymanowski lies in finding the guiding thread, that line which leads one from the first note to the last. It's very subterranean, not visible at first glance. It's perhaps for this reason that his music is not much played. Once one has discovered it, understood and heard it, his music takes off, acquiring a limpidity and inevitability which is almost Mozartian. I well remember the day when this 'inner thread' revealed itself to me for the first time. It was when I was studying 'Calypso.' I felt a supreme sense of elation.
Szymanowsk is one of those geniuses for whom pure inspiration and the musical text are one and the same. In spite of the complexity and refinement of his writing, the musical impulse remains completely intact. Nothing of it is lost in the process of committing his music to paper.
Photo: © Robert Workman/Virgin Classics 2007