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Szymanowski: Stabat Mater / Litany to The Virgin Mary / Symphony No. 3 “The Song of the Night” (Rattle, 1993)

A collection of the works by Karol Szymanowski, the most prominent Polish composer of the early 20th century.

Performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

The album was recorded in 1993, and was released on EMI Classics in 1994.

Symphony No. 3 “The Song of the Night”, Op. 27 (1914–1916) is a one-movement symphony for mixed chorus, tenor solo and large orchestra. The text is taken from the Polish translation (the retranslation of the German translation) of a poem (Ghazal number 296) by 13th-century Persian mystic poet Jalal al-Din Rumi. It incorporates the elements of atonality, chromatic harmony, impressionism, and mysticism under the influence of Richard Wagner, Alexander Scriabin, Claude Debussy, and Arnold Schoenberg. It is filled with Middle Eastern exoticism and sensuality.

“Stabat Mater”, Op. 53 (1925–1926) is a six-movement sacred choral composition for soprano, alto and baritone soloists, mixed (SATB) chorus, and orchestra. The text is taken from the Polish translation of the Latin liturgical text of the Catholic hymn “Stabat Mater”. It is characterized by the use of melodies and rhythms derived from the folk music of the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland. The mystical atmosphere is impressive.

“Stabat Mater” had a great influence on later composers, such as Henryk Górecki and Arvo Pärt.

“Litany to the Virgin Mary”, Op. 59 (1930–1933) is a sacred choral composition for a soprano soloist, female chorus and orchestra. It is composed of two songs based on the two (the third and the sixth) of the Polish poem in seven stanzas by Jerzy Liebert, titled “Litania do Najświętszej Marii Panny (Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary)”.

Stabat Mater, Op. 53: I. Stala Matka bolejaca