This release sees a welcome return for Sir Simon Rattle to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra which was his musical home for nearly 20 years and with whom he has already recorded a huge catalogue of significant discs for EMI in his thirty years with the label. The music of Karol Szymanowski is a particular specialism for Simon Rattle and this release continues his exploration of the Polish composer’s vocal works which began in the late 1990s with a series of multi award-winning recordings. On this release Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra are joined by an international trio of soloists who each feature in one of the three works on the disc. Iwona Sobotka’s seductive high soprano voice is ideal for Szymanowski’s sumptuous writing in Songs of a Fairytale Princess, Cardiff Singer of the World winner and EMI Debut artist Katarina Karnéus sings the Love Songs of Hafiz, and Timothy Robinson who previously appeared on the EMI Classics release of Bernstein’s Wonderful Town under Simon Rattle. Harnasie was written towards the end of Szymanowski’s life in a period when he was finding his inspiration closer to home than the exotic East which motivated the other works on this release. The music of Harnasie is directly inspired by the folkmusic of the Polish Tatra mountains where Szymanowski increasingly spent much of his time in his mature years.