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Karlowicz, Szymanowski: Violin Concertos / Piotr Plawner, Czeslaw Grabowski, Et Al

Release Date: 02/27/2007 
Label:  Dux Records   Catalog #: 540   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Mieczyslaw KarlowiczKarol Szymanowski
Performer:  Piotr Plawner
Conductor:  Czeslaw Grabowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zielona Gora Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here's an enjoyable and useful coupling of two superb Polish violin concertos composed within about a decade and a half of each other, but sounding very different. Karlowicz's concerto is a ripe, late-Romanic effusion with more than a touch of Strauss grafted on to a basically conservative formal framework. It's very pretty, if perhaps a bit long in its first movement. Szymanowski's later work of 1916 is of course one of the supreme masterpieces of its genre, and perhaps the most purely voluptuous, sensual piece ever written for violin and orchestra. Listeners who love this magical work have a hard time getting enough of it, welcoming every new recording--and happily Piotr Plawner gives no reason to regret that welcome.

Read more plays both works with real distinction, offering a true virtuoso outpouring of tone in the Karlowicz and plenty of sensitivity (allied to immaculate intonation) in the Szymanowski. Occasionally it seems that the engineering, which is quite naturally balanced and just a touch distant, tends to flatten out his dynamic range, but its atmosphere actually suits the glittering, shimmering sound-world of the Szymanowski. Plawner's basic timbre has a slightly resinous edge that complements passages in double-stops, particularly in the latter work's scherzando sections or the big solo gestures in the Karlowicz.

The Zielona Góra Philharmonic plays with real distinction under its conductor of several decades, Czeslaw Grabowski. Like most Polish orchestras, its string section sounds marvelous, and Grabowski proves himself particularly adept at catching those bright flecks of color from the piano, harps, high woodwinds, and celesta with which Szymanowki peppers the concerto. Following the performance with a score, you can clearly see (and hear) that Grabowski misses nothing in a piece that's full of detail and delicate nuance. So if the coupling appeals, then by all means try this disc.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in A major, Op. 8 by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Performer:  Piotr Plawner (Violin)
Conductor:  Czeslaw Grabowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zielona Gora Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Berlin, Germany 
Concerto for Violin no 1, Op. 35 by Karol Szymanowski
Performer:  Piotr Plawner (Violin)
Conductor:  Czeslaw Grabowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zielona Gora Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Poland 

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