The renown of Polish composer Henryk Wieniawski is typically confined to his very popular, sweepingly Romantic violin concerto, the rest of his compositions having generally fallen from the concert stage. On this album, violinist Patrycja Piekutowska and violinist Edward Wolanin revive not only two Henryk Wieniawski's works, but also introduce the works of Henryk's brother, Józef Wieniawski. For only being two years apart in age, the music of the two brothers could not be more different. Henryk's works, particularly the A major Polonaise, are extremely ostentatious and overtly virtuosic, while Józef's D minor Violin Sonata is much more introspective, melancholy, and melodious. Piekutowska's playing in Henryk's pieces is generally strong, although in the more technically demanding sections it sounds as if she's working very hard to get the job done. Rapid arpeggios, up-bow staccatos, and rapid ornamentation are too often met with a forced, shrill sound. Her playing is much more successful in Józef's Sonata, where long lines, lush melodies on the lower strings, and sweeping arches dominate over demonstrations of technical mastery. Either way, the introduction to Józef's music and the revival of some of Henryk's music alone make this album worthwhile to collectors and especially for violinists seeking to discover additional repertoire.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Sonata for violin & piano in D minor, Op. 24|