Romance in D major for violin and piano op. 23 (1910)

While resting after the effort demanded by the work on Symphony No. 2, in the autumn of 1910 Szymanowski composed Romance in D minor for violin and piano op. 23. “It has turned out well and, I think, it is quite comfortable for the violin,” was the way Szymanowski recommended the new work to Zdzisław Jachimecki. The romance was dedicated to Paweł Kochański, while the soloist in the first public performance of the composition (8 April 1913 in Warsaw) was Józef Ozimiński.

The passionate expression of this “Young Poland poem” for violin and piano is determined by chromatised harmony. An impression of emphasis is created by the dense, chordal piano part. A wavy violin cantilena of the initial theme (Lento assai poco rubato) develops in the expansive register. The shape of the melody of the second theme is simpler, but it is that melody, performed con passione, which leads to a molto appassionato culmination. A short relaxation is introduced by an episode which should sound misterioso, and then dolce, and then both musical thoughts return again, leading to another, this time a more modest, climax. In the epilogue the piano brings back the motif with which the violin began the Romance, after which the music gradually dies down, and the melody rises to the highest register of the violin.