Lutosławski & Penderecki: Complete music for violin and piano – Lutosławski: Subito; Recitativo e arioso; Partita; Three Miniatures; Penderecki: Sonatas Nos 1 & 2

Reviewed on Thu 23 May, 2019

Lutosławski’s agitated Partita, from the iconic year 1984, is a work of layered sophistication, Foyle and Štšura dealing with its contrariness and complexity with intricately deft maturity.

The Scottish-Polish duo violinist Michael Foyle and pianist Maksim Štšura couple two 20th-century Polish icons on their Delphian Records debut. Traversing the half-century from 1951 – Lutosławski’s Three Miniatures a courageous engagement with the new music of Stockhausen, Boulez and Nono at the height of the Cold War – to 1999 with Penderecki’s eloquent exercise in Millennial angst, the tautly elasticated if somewhat indulgent Second Sonata, it’s a demanding listen. Rewarding, too, in these alertly reciprocal and detailed performances caught in a sharply focused recording and supported by Nicholas Reyland’s informative notes. Caught in the middle, Lutosławski’s agitated Partita, from the iconic year 1984, is a work of layered sophistication, Foyle and Štšura dealing with its contrariness and complexity with intricately deft maturity. With its echoes of Debussy, the earlier Recitativo e arioso (1951) provides lyrical contrast, its imagined freedoms more artificially voiced in Subito (1992). Penderecki’s archly disguised neo-classical First Sonata (1953) completes a disc with much to recommend it.
–Michael Quinn