Stojowski: Violin Concerto in G minor, Op 22; Romanze in E flat major, Op 20; Wieniawski: Fantaisie brillante sur des motifs de l'opéra Faust de Gounod, Op 20

Reviewed on Mon 12 Sep, 2016

Bartłomiej Nizioł rises admirably to the challenges posed by these works with his ripe yet never over-succulent tone, tempered by focused vibrato and secure technique.

Polish composers Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880) and Zygmunt Stojowski (1869-1946) make a good pairing. Stojowski’s Violin Concerto and Romanze, both written around 1899, betray various influences acquired during his Parisian studies with Delibes a decade earlier. The concerto’s opening movement has shades of Brahms, Glazunov, and even foreshadowings of Elgar, about it. The soulful slow movement’s vocalise is key to its emotional centre, whilst Bruch and Wieniawski’s twin imprints are strongest in the taxing yet lyrical finale. Stojowski’s concerto is thematically weaker than his two piano concertos – excellently played on Hyperion CDA67314 – but calls for a virtuoso solo skill-set crafted to suit its dedicatee and creator Władysław Górski. The Romanze for violin and orchestra is assured, poetic, nostalgic and clearly deserving of a wider audience. Wieniawski’s Faust Fantasy ploughs its rich furrow of tuneful operatic derivation to winning effect. Bartłomiej Nizioł rises admirably to the challenges posed by these works with his ripe yet never over-succulent tone, tempered by focused vibrato and secure technique. As on his Hyperion recording of the two piano concertos by Różycki (reviewed on 25 February 2016) Łukasz Borowicz has the BBC Scottish SO sounding at home on Polish soil. Competition comes from Agnieszka Marucha in Stojowski (Acte Préalable) and Marat Bisengaliev in Wieniawski (Naxos), but Hyperion’s production-values are superior.
–Evan Dickerson