Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
on 16 June 2009
For those new to the Szymanowski concertos they will be a real find. the first concerto, one of his finest works, will sound particularly rhapsodic and free. There are, however, a limited number of themes repeated presented in a colourful variety of ways. There is a chromatic main theme that crowns the concerto's big climax. In one movement, the concerto sounds almost improvisatory in its progress with the most lush and colourful late romantic orchestration. Harmonically, as alluded to above, it is quite chromatic without threatening to break with tonality. The highly coloured orchestration shows the influence of early Stravinsky, as do other works of this period such as the Third Symphony (Song of the Night) and his opera King Roger.
Most concertos end with a flourish to please the crowds but this work has the confidence to end quietly after so many preceding pyrotechnics. Free in from it may be but every step sounds like a natural progression fromthe previous material.
The second concerto, whilst continuing with the single movement structure, is a more sober affair. By this stage in his career, Szymanowski was incorporating more polish folk like material into his music. The work concerto though in one movement breaks down into more distinct sections than the first concerto. It begins more soberly than the first and alternates with more dance like material. This concerto ends with a flourish but lacks the excitement of the first. Again the orchestration and harmonies are still very rich and dense, though there is less emphasis on sparkling orchestral colour.
Szymanowski's two very rich and energetic violin concertos receive first rate and sympathetic performances. Antoni Wit has an excellent record with Naxos and this recording is no exception with the soloist equal to the demands of both works. If you want to explore Szmanowski's music you'd be mad to miss out on this fantastic bargain - it's more than a match for the competition.