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Phoenix (Janusz Wawrowski)

Janusz Wawrowski (violin); Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Grzegorz Nowak (Warner Classics)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Różycki: Violin Concerto ‘Phoenix’; Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Janusz Wawrowski (violin); Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Grzegorz Nowak
Warner Classics 9029519170   60:02 mins

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Very much a labour of love, we owe the existence of this fully orchestrated version of Ludomir Różycki’s Op. 70 Violin Concerto to the gifted soloist on this premiere recording, Janusz Wawrowski. This attractive score would be far better known had the orchestration survived a fire at the composer’s home during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising – it was only Wawrowski’s discovery of an 87-bar fragment that enabled him and Ryszard Bryła to recreate Różycki’s original intentions with the help of a surviving piano reduction. There was also the thorny question of Różycki’s at times unplayable violin figurations, which have been facilitated here by Wawrowski, whilst retaining the virtuosic endeavour of the original.

Cast, like Bartók’s First Concerto, in two movements – a flowing Andante and lively Allegro – the Różycki Concerto belongs to the post-Romantic soundworld of Korngold, Glazunov and Conus. Anyone who has thrilled to Heifetz’s and Perlman’s recordings of this enchanting area of the repertoire will find Wawrowski’s dazzling, silvery-toned performance in very much the same class.

Devotedly accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic on resplendent form under its principal associate conductor Grzegorz Nowak, the Tchaikovsky is refreshingly given time to blossom naturally at tempos that hone in on the composer’s profound melodic gift with soaring eloquence.

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Julian Haylock