Room 98--Comparing an original to an arrangement

In this section of the classroom we will present the original version of a work followed by an arrangement of the same piece so you can contrast and compare them. The original music is by the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937). He wrote an opera entitled King Roger. Set in 12th century Sicily, the plot concerns King Roger and his wife Roxana. They are faced with a dilemma when they meet a handsome young shepherd who advocates a Dionysian lifestyle, filled with sensual abandon.

The score is an unusual one that contrasts music similar to that of the Orthodox church with music that is indicative of a more uninhibited lifestyle. Roxana momentarily forgets about Roger but they are re-united in the final act when she tells him that only the Shepherd can release him from his fear and jealousy. At the opera’s end, Roger is transformed.

First we will let you hear Roxana’s beautiful aria, sung in this case by Elzbieta Szmytka, pictured below.


Next we will hear a transcription of the same piece played by violinist Renaud Capuçon (pictured below) and pianist Jérôme Ducros.


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