The most fertile period in the compositional career of Karol Szymanowski was during the Great War of 1914–18. It may seem odd that, at a time of great uncertainty and conflict, he should have produced works of otherworldly delicacy and persuasion. Yet Szymanowski used his music as an escape into these other worlds, bolstered by memories of his recent pre-war travels to Italy, Sicily and North Africa. The range of these exotic sources included ancient Greek mythology and architecture and the calls of North-African muezzins. He was also determined to look afresh at familiar genres. In his Third Symphony (1914–16), he chose to include a vocal soloist and chorus by setting the mystic utterances of a Sufi poet from Persia. Szymanowski found his text in a collection of German translations, which were then rendered into Polish by his friend, the poet Tadeusz Mici?ski. The original verse was from the second Divan by Jalal’ad-Din Rumi (1207–73) and is a paean to the universe and to friendship, as experienced in the open air under a clear night sky. An earlier source of inspiration, according to one of the composer’s sisters, was Szymanowski’s own experience in 1914 of a summer’s night in the garden of the family’s home in Ukraine. Where his preceding orchestral works (Concert Overture, First and Second Symphonies) were primarily contrapuntal in texture, ‘Song of the Night’ luxuriates in glowing harmonies, merging the musical worlds of Scriabin, recent French music and the Islamic song that he had encountered in Tunisia in April 1914.