Songs of Hafiz for voice and orchestra op. 26 (1914)

The cycle of eight Songs of Hafiz op. 26 was written in the summer of 1914 at Tymoszówka. Szymanowski added five new songs (Serca mego perły [The Pearls of My Heart], Wieczna młodość [Eternal Youth], Głos twój [Your Voice], Pieśń pijacka [Drinking Song], Grób Hafiza [The Tomb of Hafiz]) to the three parts from op. 24 (Życzenia [Wishes], Zakochany wiatr [Wind in Love], Taniec [The Dance]), and produced their instrumental versions for a “small but colourful orchestra with a piano, celesta, harps etc., creating in this way something like a concert whole” (K. Szymanowski Korespondencja 1982, p. 445).
In the orchestral version of Songs of Hafiz Szymanowski’s new style can be seen to have crystallised more clearly. In comparison with op. 24, the sound dynamics have been considerably differentiated. The composer has split the layers of piano timbral structures into two or more planes in the orchestral part. Timbral colouring has been enriched by the addition of short passages and instrumental phrases, particularly in the woodwind part, and by an extensive introduction of ornamental and articulation devices (frullato of the flutes, tremolo of the clarinets and strings with multiple divisi, harp glissandi). The choice of instruments has also been influenced by the poetical text itself, when, for instance, the shimmering orchestration of the introductory segment of the song Your Voice (bars 1-12) prepares for the entry of the vocal part with the words “Najświętsze z srebrnych źródeł Selsebil [The holiest of the silvery founts of Selsebil]“, or the ostinato rhythmic figure of the horns, which opens the song Eternal Youth to the words “What does the beating of your heart mean” and dies down in a suggestive augmentation in the timpani part at the end of the work.