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Szymanowski: Symphony No. 3

Stephen Johnson explores Szymanowski's Symphony No 3, which is a setting of the second Divan, Song of the Night, by Rumi and marks a high point in his impressionistic style.

Setting the second Divan, Song of the Night, by the thirteenth-century mystical poet Rumi, Szymanowski's Symphony no.3 marks a high point in the composer's Impressionistic style. Forging a link between western musical language and oriental beliefs in those worlds which lie beyond our physically and emotionally conditioned lives, Szymanowski realised that this work for tenor solo, chorus and orchestra, had surpassed his previous compositions. Once the work was complete, Szymanowski commented that "not even a musician like myself can have any idea of what it will sound like with an orchestra." The work has been described by composer Sorabji, as music that is permeated with the very essence of the choicest and rarest specimens of Iranian art...like a Persian painting or silk rug.

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