Notes and Editorial Reviews
Nigel Kennedy has dedicated his latest recording to forgotten romantic concertos by the Polish composers Emil Mlynarski and Mieczyslaw Karlowicz. Polish Spirit captures Kennedy’s incandescent performances with the Polish Chamber Orchestra and conductor Jacek Kaspszyk. Karlowicz’s violin concerto is a rarity even in Poland, and Mlynarski’s second violin concerto is virtually unknown.
It all started with an old state recording, handed to Kennedy by a member of the audience at a concert in Warsaw, set him on a journey of discovery that culminated in the present programme. The forgotten recording contained a performance of Mlynarski’s second violin concerto and, when Kennedy listened to it, he was smitten. For the recording, he chose to couple it with the beautiful but rarely performed violin concerto by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz.
R E V I E W S:
"Once in a while, through all the posturing and grungy image-making, Nigel Kennedy reminds us why he came to our attention: as one of the world's most talented violin virtuosos. He has done it with Elgar, and now he has put us in his debt with his advocacy of two late-Romantic Polish concertos that most soloists have not touched for years.
"The rarer of the two is the one composed in 1914-17 by Emil Mlynarski (1870-1935) . . . it offers plenty of opportunity for lyrical indulgence, and Kennedy brings reams of silken tone coupled with a real feeling for its emotional character. . . . The concerto by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876-1909) is better known, on disc at least, but it would be hard to imagine a more consummate or sincere interpretation. Again, there is plenty of tonal variety and a precise but never aggressive pointing of rhythms. . . . Accompaniments from the Polish Chamber Orchestra are supportive and full of character on their own terms, and the recording throughout is well-balanced and welcoming."
-- Matthew Rye, Telegraph.co.uk
"Nigel Kennedy remains one of the few artists to make classical music accessible to Joe Public without dumbing down, and this CD is no exception. . . . Whilst Emil Mlynarksi’s name may not be on the tips of our tongues today, our great grannies may well have heard of him. . . . His second violin concerto was completed in 1916, the year he left Britain. If the music suggests his state of mind, then the jubilant Allegro Moderato, the calm beauty of the Quasi Notturno, and the delicious folkiness of the Allegro Vivace, suggest he spent a happy time here despite the clouds of war. . . . [T]he enjoyment felt by Kennedy and the Polish Chamber Orchestra is almost palpable.
". . . Kennedy brings across youthful exuberance and panache to the concerto by Karlowicz. Lastly, the Nocturnes are as we have come to expect from Kennedy’s arrangements of popular shorter pieces – enjoyable, surprisingly uncheesy, and the perfect way to round off a near-perfect disc."
-- Charlotte Gardner, BBC.co.uk