Romance in D major Op. 23 – Karol Szymanowski
Szymanowski wrote Romance in D major Op. 23 in Tymoszówka in October 1910, while he was working on Symphony No. 2. He dedicated it to the acclaimed violinist Paweł Kochański, with whom he was close friends from 1909. Szymanowski wrote in a letter to Zdzisław Jachimecki:
I finished the finale (fugue) of my 'Symphony' [No. 2] a few days ago (the variations are still left to do) - so to relax I drafted quite a long 'Romance' for violin and piano yesterday. I need to finish it as soon as possible and send to Paweł Kochański to study [...] It has turned out rather well and seems quite accommodating for violin.1
Romance Op. 23 is stylistically akin to late Romantic music, combining strongly chromatic harmony with lyrical, broad-breath melody evocative of Fryderyk Chopin's nocturnes. First performed by Józef Ozimiński in Warsaw on 8th April 1913, it was later included in the repertoires of not just Paweł Kochański, but also Eugenia Umińska, who first recorded it with Zygmunt Dygat at the piano in 1938 (Orpheon 138). More recently it has been played by Wanda Wiłkomirska, Magdalena Rezler, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Bartłomiej Nizioł, and others.
1 Karol Szymanowski. Korespondencja, Tom I: lata 1903-1919, s. 236, list z 30 X 1910 do Zdzisława Jachimeckiego, red. Teresa Chylińska, PWM, Kraków 1982.
Author: Anna Iwanicka-Nijakowska, September 2007.