Zygmunt STOJOWSKI (1869-1946)
Violin Concerto in G minor Op. 22 (1908) [30:26]
Romanze in E flat major Op. 20 (1899) [6:40] Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) Fantaisie brillante sur des motifs de l'opéra 'Faust' de Gounod Op. 20 [18:48]
Bartłomiej Nizioł (violin)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Łukasz Borowicz
rec. June 2015, City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
The Romantic Violin Concerto series - volume 20 HYPERION CDA68102 [55:54]
The Polish composer Zygmunt or Sigismund Stojowski already has a stirring presence in Hyperion's listings. His two piano concertos can be found there (review) as can a solo piano selection (review). Now the label that gave life to series entitled Romantic Piano Concertos and Romantic Cello Concertos add Stojowski's Violin Concerto to its Romantic Violin Concertos shelf.
Stojowski had a noteworthy life-story. His Parisian years saw him as an associate and satellite of Diémer, Dubois, Massenet and Delibes. Paderewski entertained him to piano lessons. He settled in the USA in 1905 and was quite a fixture on the concert circuit there. Quite apart from his accomplishments as a pianist he also had a profuse creative side. The following works should be noted: Symphony in D minor (1901), Cello Concerto, two violin sonatas (1894, 1912) and the cello sonata (1898). His Prayer for Poland was written for chorus and orchestra in 1916 and has been recorded by Dux.
Stojowski's Violin Concerto is big-hearted and in a style akin to the Dvořák and Beethoven concertos. Listening to it again the parallel that now strikes me most cogently is with Bruch and his three violin concertos. A nice apportionment of showy dazzle, ardent melody and a few moments of determination from the commanding brass (3:40, finale) is struck. A very confident and capable Nizioł is in the driving seat demonstrating playing that is often ripely expressive. The Romanze carries a dedication to Jacques Thibaud. It too inhabits much the same territory as the Concerto with some surprisingly triumphant pages for a work carrying this title. The music, which is also reminiscent of Saint-Saëns' single movement charmers, curves down into elysian peace.
Wieniawski's Fantaisie brillante is part of a well-known genre capitalising on the hits from an acclaimed opera of the day. There are any number of these and this one parallels the Sarasate Carmen Fantasy. The composer's rhapsody on Faust themes picks up on five episodes from the opera and does so with panache and silvery delicacy. Nigel Simeone in his detailed liner-note tells us that the piece was written as a vehicle for Wieniawski himself to play. Quite apart from ladling on the nectar and adding some gasp-inducing writing for the soloist there are pages of ear-catching invention for the orchestra.
Stojowski's Violin Concerto has been recorded before by Agnieszka Marucha on Acte Préalable. It is differently coupled there (review). True, it is harnessed with the same Romance but on the Marucha disc you also get the Violin Sonata No. 2. That's on AP0221. The First Violin Sonata is on AP0112. There's little to choose between Marucha and Niziol and in any event the coupling is different.
The liner-note is by Nigel Simeone and is given in English, French and German. Unusually for Hyperion the members of the BBC Scottish are named.
This series proceeds from strength to strength. I do hope that Hyperion will look at the concertos by Auguste de Boeck and Janis Ivanovs.