Syzmanowski and the Mazukra

Classical Academy | Composers | Around the World | On This Day...

Karol Syzmanowski is one of Poland's great pianist-composers, along with his compatriot Frederic Chopin. As well as studying the music of German composers (such as Wagner and Strauss) and the French impressionists (Debussy and Ravel), Syzmanowski also looked to Poland's own musical heritage for inspiration.


Both Syzmanowski and Chopin wrote many Mazurkas - a type of Polish folk dance with three beats in the bar. The Mazurka is unusual in that the emphasis is on the second beat of the bar, giving it a lilting rhythm. Syzmanowski was also interested in the Górale, type of folk music from the Polish Highlands, and wrote some academic articles about it.


His music is often rhapsodic, drifting into daydreams of exploratory harmony, and at other times full of vivacious and driving rhythms.


In this album you can hear 22 of Syzmanowski's Mazurkas. Listen to how pianist Kaoru Bingham really brings out the light and shade in each one, making every Mazukra a minature window onto a different scene.