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Monday, July 24, 2017

Zygmunt Stojowski; Henryk Wieniawski - Violin Concertos (Bartłomiej Nizioł)


Composer: Zygmunt Stojowski; Henryk Wieniawski
  1. Stojowski - Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 22: 1. Allegro deciso
  2. Stojowski - Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 22: 2. Andante non troppo
  3. Stojowski - Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 22: 3. Allegro giocoso
  4. Stojowski - Romanze in E flat major, Op. 20
  5. Wieniawski - Fantaisie brillante sur des motifs de l'opéra Faust de Gounod, Op. 20

Bartłomiej Nizioł, violin
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Łukasz Borowicz, conductor

Date: 2016
Label: Hyperion



Bartomiej Niziol (b1974 in Poland) has a seductively silky smooth tone and a narrow vibrato, and plays with exactly the kind of lyrical, ecstatic intensity that Stojowski’s demanding Violin Concerto requires. He is partnered by Łukasz Borowicz who, as in his Hyperion piano concerto recordings with Jonathan Plowright, lends an explosive dynamic to proceedings. Both are captured in vivid sound by producer Jeremy Hayes.

Composed probably in 1899, the concerto is, to apply a useful critical adjective, elusive in the sense that the listener, anticipating in a Romantic concerto a strong first subject, memorable second subject and ravishing orchestral colours will have to be satisfied, on this occasion, with just the latter. Stojowski’s motifs and figures pass by in a rapid kaleidoscopic procession while the structure, as Nigel Simone notes in the booklet, ‘feels free, unfolding in a way that is almost rhapsodic’. Few will be able to resist the soaring rapture of the second movement or the lively finale. Throughout, there are few bars when the soloist is not playing. The concerto is followed by Stojowski’s delightful Romanze (6'40"), written at about the same time and dedicated to Jacques Thibaud.

The premiere recordings of both works were recorded by the excellent Agnieszka Marucha in 2008. While her student orchestra is not quite the BBC Scottish and the sound is not Hyperion’s, she includes Stojowski’s not insubstantial (28'09") Sonata No 2 for violin and piano on a disc that is very much worth considering.

The Hyperion programme is completed by the Fantaisie on Gounod’s Faust, a work by Wieniawski (a Polish composer from an earlier generation) which, unlike the Stojowski pieces, is an unabashed showpiece. It ends with an exquisitely challenging treatment (partly in harmonics) of the famous Act 2 waltz, featured by Liszt in his better known Faust Paraphrase for piano solo. Niziol despatches this with the same jaunty good humour (but in a brighter sound picture) as Vadim Brodsky and Antoni Wit back in 1988.

-- Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone

More reviews:


Zygmunt Stojowski (May 4, 1870 – November 5, 1946) was a Polish pianist and composer. He studied with Władysław Żeleńsk, and then with Louis Diémer and Léo Delibes. However the teachers who had the most profound influence on him were Wladyslaw Gorski and Ignacy Jan Paderewski. In 1905, Stojowski moved to New York, which became his home for the rest of his life. In New York, he was acclaimed as a great composer, pianist and pedagogue, and had the distinction of being the first Polish composer to have an entire concert devoted to his music performed by the New York Philharmonic.


Henryk Wieniawski (10 July 1835 – 31 March 1880) was a Polish violinist and composer. Wieniawski was considered a violinist of great ability and wrote some very important works in the violin repertoire, including two technically demanding violin concertosthe second of which is more often performed than the first. His L'École moderne: 10 Études-caprices is a very well known work, and his Scherzo-Tarantelle, Op.16 and Légende, Op.17 are also frequently performed. The first violin competition named after Wieniawski took place in Warsaw in 1935, and has been held every five years since 1952.


Bartłomiej "Bartek" Nizioł (born February 1, 1974 in Szczecin, Poland) is a Polish violinist. Niziol started learning the violin at the age of five, studied under teachers such as Pierre Amoyal, and took part in several master classes with such musicians as Zakhar Bron and Ruggiero Ricci. Niziol has won top prizes at many violin competitions, such as first prizes at the 1991 Henryk Wieniawski Competition and 1993 Jacques Thibaud Competition. Aside from having a successful career as a soloist, Niziol is also concertmaster of the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich and the Zurich Opera, and first violin of Niziol Quartet and Stradivari-Quartett.


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