One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Bax Piano Music

Guillaume LEKEU

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909)
Violin Concerto in A minor Op. 8 [24:47]
Smutna opowieść (The Sorrowful Tale) op. 13 [8:50]
Rapsodia Litewska (Lithuanian Rhapsody) op. 11 [19:06]
Bartłomiej Nizioł (violin)
Orkiestra Symfoniczna Filharmonii im. M. Karłowicza w Szczecinie/Łukasz Borowicz
rec. 2016, Symphony Hall, Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic, Szczecin
DUX 1377 [55:59]

We can all celebrate now that Karłowicz's Tchaikovskian Violin Concerto can be heard in multiple recordings. I first encountered it and was instantly captivated when a Polish recording (Konstanty Kulka (violin) Polish RTVSO/Krzystof Missona) was broadcast by BBC Radio 3 circa 1979. Among violin concertos this work falls into the category of prized rarities already overcrowded with the likes of E B Hill, de Boeck, Miaskovsky, Ivanovs, Schoeck and Coleridge-Taylor. All of these have done fairly well, some with multiple versions from which to choose and none of them, excepting the Hill, Ivanovs and de Boeck, have had less than their due. As for the present disc Borowicz and Niziol have the idiom to a tee. The violinist avoids the reefs and shallows of vibrato and presents a steady alluring tone. He is nicely matched in verve and style in the middle movement of this 24-minute concerto. The finale has a memorably joyous exuberance and Niziol is matched step for step, twist for twist and spark for spark by Borowicz and his orchestra; the latter is named after the composer.

At just short of 56 minutes there was space for three of Karłowicz's tone poems but two have to suffice. The Sorrowful Tale is atmospherically done in what is a caring performance by this Stettin orchestra. The curve and outline of the music should appeal to those who love the Novak tone poems (compare Falletta's recent Naxos recording). The Sorrowful Tale has a wide-screen tragic intensity rather than a mournful downbeat. The twenty-minute Lithuanian Rhapsody is by no means an exercise in nationalistic colours - its homeland is the darker pages of Balakirev's Thamar; more of a morbid fairytale. The grief of Lithuania's state history is perhaps there but this tale is, we are reminded, inflected by the death of a man who commits suicide. Liner-note writer Piotr Urbansky tells us that this is the first recording to include the gun-shot (7:30) that brings the man's life to an end. The work's subtitle is "Prelude to Eternity" so it can loosely be grouped with Nirvana (1866) by Von Bülow, Griffes' Pleasure Dome and Lyapunov's tone poem Hashish (1912). It has a hyper-romantic quality also picked up on by Bernard Herrmann in his Citizen Kane film music for Xanadu's Garden.

The abstract geometrical design for the booklet reminds me of those Keith Hensby covers for the Lyrita Bax symphonies and the eye-bending design Hyperion used for the LP of Anthony Milner's Symphony No. 1.

Borowicz has done great work in advocating for Panufnik, Rozycki, Noskowski, Stojowski and Dobrzynski. It's good to see his form remaining strong. That said, this disc will face choppy waters in a market that expects to have more music included. As individual performances and recordings these are very good even if the perfectly acceptable tone of this orchestra is not up to plush Philadelphia standards. If you can find it after all these years you might prefer a more generously timed disc collecting the Concerto (Konstanty Kulka) and two different substantial tone poems (CD Accord).

Rob Barnett

Previous reviews: Stephen Greenbank ~ Stuart Sillitoe



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger