Four songs to words by Rabindranath Tagore op. 41 (Polish translation by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz; 1918)

Mein Herz – Moje serce
Der junge Prinz I – Młody królewicz
Der junge Prinz II – Młody królewicz II
Das letzte Lied – Ostatnia pieśń

Szymanowski’s interest in the Orient also left its mark on songs op. 41, although they lack the scale of expression and personal experience of the previous works. They were written a few months prior to Songs of the Muezzin, in the spring of 1918, and in contrast to the latter, were not regarded by the composer with enthusiasm. Perhaps Szymanowski did not feel comfortable within the ambience of thoughts and feelings of the Bengali poet. The world of the composer’s own experiences and impressions relating to the “exotic space” was contained within the boundaries of Happy Arabia; the predominant motif there was one of love intoxication, adopted from Persian lyricists. The poems of Rabindranath Tagore are far removed from “Hafizism”, hence the songs to those texts show uncertainty as to the choice of one definite convention. The prevailing tone is one of quietened, as if passionless, statement, devoid of exotic colour. However, in the second song (Młody królewicz I [The Young Prince I]), the Eastern note of the piano accompaniment strikes unexpectedly (staccato quasi il piccolo tamburo), introducing the theme of the orgiastic dance from Act II of Król Roger.