Violin Concerto, Op. 70; Two Melodies; Two Nocturnes; Pan Twardowski – excerpts
Ewelina Nowicka (violin), Pola Lazar, Michał Krężlewski (piano); Polish National Radio Symphony Katowice/Zymunt Rychert
CPO 555 421-2 49:31 mins
Ludomir Różycki’s Violin Concerto Op. 70 has appeared in two guises in recent years, remarkable considering the unfinished score spent some three years buried in a back garden in Warsaw after the composer fled the brutally sadistic Nazi suppression of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. This version, recorded in 2010 by Ewelina Nowicka and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice, was constructed in 2000 by Zygmunt Rychert from an orchestral fragment and a full piano reduction, and predates the 2018 orchestration, recently released, by Janusz Wawrowski.
Różycki, a peer of Symanowski, was a Romantic in 20th century garb. Likened to Korngold, he studied under Engelbert Humperdinck, although he was very much his own man, as demonstrated in this rendering of his joyous Violin Concerto, from the bittersweet, magical Andante to the unselfconsciously flamboyant Allegro Deciso, opening with ballroom-like pomp and flair, seguing to ecstatic, virtuosic violin – no problem for Nowicka. Resolutely positive despite the circumstances surrounding its creation, the skilful, occasionally heavy orchestration is intuited from Różycki’s early works.
It stands in interesting contrast to the skeins that are his Deux Melodies and Deux Nocturnes for violin and piano – melancholic or dance-like, these quiet little pieces are movingly played by Nowicka and pianist Pola Lazar.
Michał Krężlewski is the pianist for Nowicka’s excellent transcriptions of four pieces from Różycki’s once much-loved ballet, Pan Twardowski (1912-20). Lively, descriptive, and like the rest of Różycki’s music, much deserving of wider note, the pieces range from the earthy ‘Apparition de Lucifer’ to the darkly infectious ‘Danse entre les Poignards’, sharply played by both soloists.
Sarah Urwin Jones