Polish or not Polish: this CD is a must

No, there is no such thing as a ‘Polish violin’. British violinist Jennifer Pike plays a Guarneri del Gesù from 1733 and there is nothing Polish about it. But the four composers on her album are Polish. At least as far as nationality is concerned, because their works, apart from Wieniawski’s Polonaise de concert (who was Jewish, nota bene) are not ‘Polish’.

Not that it matters. A CD has to sell and a catchy title is always a bonus. But if not only the repertoire but also the performance is truly phenomenal, I will not complain.

For anyone who loves violin concerts, Henryk Wieniawski is a well-known name, although these days he is not being performed very often. Szymanowski, after years of silence and ridicule, has become one of the most played composers today. His Myths, for me one of his most beautiful compositions, is also appearing more and more often in recitals. And even the arrangement of Roxane’s song from Król Roger has been recorded before.

Moritz Moszkowski is probably still known here and there for his piano concerto, but you just never hear Mieczyslaw Karlowicz. Why? Who knows? This composer, who was born in December 1876 and died in February 1909 (he was caught in an avalanche during a skiing trip in the high Tatra mountains), left behind a large oeuvre of brilliant works: symphonies, concertos, chamber music and irresistible songs. So it is a pity that the duo Jennifer Pike and Petr Limonov have only recorded one piece by Karlowicz. Especially since they have an audible affinity with it. Something for the future?

But anyway: this CD is a must for all violin, chamber music or just music lovers. Everything about it is beautiful. Really everything. Pike’s phrasing is sensual, even almost erotic , which  fits the music like a glove. Petr Limonov is her best ‘partner in crime’ and together they provide a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. Don’t miss this CD!

Szymanowski, Moszkowski, Karlowicz, Wieniawski
Jennifer Pike (violin), Petr Limonov (piano)
Chandos CHAN  20082

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