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Polish Violin Music
Alexander ZARZYCKI (1834-1895)
Mazurka in G major, op.26 [5:33]
Mazurka in E major, op.39* [3:35]
Introduction and Cracovienne, op.35* [9:12]
Andante-Polonaise, op.23* [10:53]
Romance [4:02]
Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909)
Chanson ancienne, op.24, no.1 [2:54]
Piotr DROŻDŻEWSKI (b.1948)
Two Caprices for Solo Violin* [7:03]
Henryk GÓRECKI (1933-2010)
Sonatina in One Movement, op.8 [2:24]
Variazioni, op.4 [9:54]
Little Fantasia, op.73* [11:42]]
Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941)
Chanson [2:33]
Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994)
Recitativo e Arioso [3:52]
Karol LIPIŃSKI (1790-1861)
Two Impromptus for Solo Violin, op.34: No. 2*[5:46]
Kinga Augustyn (violin), Efi Hackmey (piano)
* World Première Recording
rec. Patrych Sound Studios, The Bronx, New York, USA, 21 August 2011, 5 and 11 December 2011, 1 and 3 February 2012
Only available as download.
NAXOS 9.70192 [79:45]

This disc is an extremely enjoyable survey of Polish violin music spanning 150 years. It contains music by four composers whose works are hardly ever heard alongside that of three who are much better known.
The disc begins with a favourite with violinists such as David Oistrakh. It is easy to see why since it is such a virtuosic piece - originally dedicated to Sarasate. Both mazurkas are great examples of the influence of the Polish folk music tradition. It’s hard to understand how the second has waited so long for its first ever recording though that can also be said about the next two works which are both as delightful to hear. The last of Zarzycki’s works here is also a delight and all of them sound Chopinesque in the best sense representing as they do that wonderful nineteenth-century romanticism. If Zarzycki’s name is scarcely known the same can be said for Noskowski whose Chanson ancienne is next up and who was composing at the same time. This is another pretty little piece that would fit neatly into any violinist’s collection of encores.
Moving on a century we come to two short pieces by Drożdżewski who was born in 1948. Each of these caprices for solo violin are dedicated to two violin virtuosos from the past, Lipiński and Paganini. They would be perfect for testing out a violinist’s technique since they are highly demanding. Both are also world première recordings.
Staying with the 20th century we come to Górecki whose fame became assured with Dawn Upshaw’s recording of his third symphony, theSymphony of Sorrowful Songs in 1992, a full 16 years after the symphony was first published. The first two of the three of his works here are from the beginning of his career. While they are ‘modern’ in style they are very tuneful with some lovely passages. There are plenty more of those within his Little Fantasia here receiving its first ever recording. It dates from 1997 by which time his music had become influenced by minimalism though there are echoes of Arvo Pärt’s ‘tintinnabulation’ style too. These works by Górecki are the highlights of the disc for me.
We travel back again in time next to hear a short work by Paderewski, virtuoso pianist and one time Prime Minister of Poland. It is full of singing lines.
Forward again to the late twentieth century and a short work by one of Poland’s most famous composers of the last fifty years Witold Lutosławski. This one is tinged with sad introspection.
The survey closes with a composer I hadn’t come across before who was working in the early nineteenth century, Karol Lipiński. His two impromptus for solo violin are both charming and draw a fitting conclusion to a really satisfying disc.
Another discovery are the two musicians; Efi Hackmey is a fine accompanist to Kinga Augustyn whose virtuosity is left in no doubt. All these works demand deft handling and a high degree of skill. These qualities she demonstrates throughout with muscular playing and a beautiful singing tone.
Steve Arloff