ALBUM TITLE: Polish Spirit
WORKS: M?ynarksi, Violin Concerto No. 2
in D, Op. 6; Kar?owicz, Violin Concerto in A, Op. 8; Chopin: Nocturnes, Op. 9 (arr. Debski)
PERFORMER: Nigel Kennedy (violin); Polish Chamber Orchestra/Jacek Kaspszyk
CATALOGUE NO: 379 9342
M?ynarski’s Concerto is a real find. A well-travelled violinist and composer, including stints in Scotland and the USA, M?ynarski was an important figure in Poland in the early 20th century, conducting major premieres including Szymanowski’s King Roger. Completed in 1917, his Violin Concerto is retrospective in style, but none the worse for that. At times it sounds a little like a halfway stage between Brahms and Tchaikovsky, but there is also much individuality, not least a sweetly lyrical accent which frequently emerges. Kar?owicz’s Violin Concerto predates the remarkable sequence of symphonic poems on which his reputation rests today. If less obviously original, the Concerto is a handsome work in the virtuoso tradition with a particularly fine slow movement.
Nigel Kennedy shows passionate involvement with this unfamiliar music throughout; occasionally the more extreme passages of virtuoso writing do not feel entirely integrated, but Kennedy’s often throaty tone is well suited to the repertoire and is well captured recorded. Jacek Kaspszyk and the Polish Chamber Orchestra accompany energetically and idiomatically. Jan Smaczny