There are a number of discs devoted to the violin works of Szymanowski,
though there are subtle differences which sometimes makes a straight
playoff difficult. It’s best to major on the majors in this kind
of situation which means the Sonata, Mythes and Nocturne and Tarantella.
This disc for example has no Nocturne from Op. 28, Roxana´s
Song or Dance of the Harnasie – but it does include,
quite unusually, the Paganini Caprice realisations.
head for the Sonata. In a resonant and rather echoey studio Joanna Mądroszkiewicz and Paul Gulda give a linear,
direct, straightforward reading. I liked Gulda’s limpid playing
in the central movement, as well as his control of the vexatious
and difficult piano part generally. Mądroszkiewicz fines
down her tone adeptly even at a brisk basic tempo. For those who
require an assured and no-nonsense performance, even in a slightly
too boomy acoustic, you won’t be disappointed. However there are
more idiomatic ways of approaching things and the Dux pairing
of Piotr Plawner and Waldemar Malicki (DUX0287) show that tempo
relaxation for contrasting sections can bring greater rewards,
and that ‘timing’ paragraph points in the finale makes the sonata
come more to life.
Mądroszkiewicz is not one to hang around in this repertoire.
I quite admire her determination not to linger, not to bathe
or indeed wallow. Still there can be casualties of such a
basically inflexible approach and the Romance is, I think,
one such. There’s greater warmth at a more relaxed tempo.
Her Nocturne and Tarantella is forcefully evocative. For Mythes,
that fulcrum of evocative eroticism, we find she fuses startling
incursions with a fast basic tempo. Her body of tone remains
broadly robust, unlike more ethereal approach such as Plawner’s.
It’s a straight reading somewhat missing the colouristic and
imaginative qualities of the music – and a little leaden rhythmically.
La Berceuse d´Aitacho
Enia is a heavily laden piece and the Paganini Caprices, completed
in 1918, unusual repertoire. They’re heroically and harmonically
re-sited for violin and piano even if they’re hardly more
than footnotes compositionally speaking.
stated above that there are similar recitals to this I can note
an exact parallel - by Alina Abragimov and Cedric Tiberghien on
Hyperion CDA67703. Their programmes are identical. I prefer the
Hyperion pairing for their wider array of tone colours, their
tempo relation decision-making – this is not related to absolute
speed – and their more subtle and evocative playing, as well as
a warmer recording.