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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Polish Violin Concertos, Bacewicz-Tansman-Spisak-Panufnik, Piotr Plawner, Kammersymphonie Berlin

While Russia was busy producing its distinctive tonal modernists in Stravinky, Prokofiev, Shostakovitch, etc., Poland had its Bacewicz, Symanowski, Panufnik, and shared with Russia the honor of producing Weinberg.

Anyone who knows less of the Polish contributions to the art  (or for that matter is simply looking for good 20th century music) should listen to Polish Violin Concertos (Naxos 8.573496), an excellent presentation of four works with Piotr Plawner skillfully doing the violin solo honors and the Kammersymphonie Berlin under Jurgen Bruns providing the lively backdrop.

These are very memorable works from the hands and minds of Grazyna Bacewicz ("Violin Concerto No. 1" 1937), Alexandre Tansman ("Cinq pieces pour violon et petit orchestre" 1930), Michal Spisak ("Andante and Allegro for Violin and String Orchestra" 1954) and Andrzej Panufnik ("Violin Concerto" 1971).

The balance of solo violin expressions and orchestral utterances of distinction is nearly perfect thanks to the near ideal performances and the highly developed thematic developments of the composers involved.

You may not know some or even any of these names, but after hearing this recording several times you will appreciate each and every one of them for the quality and liveliness of the music.

There is much to recommend this volume, and nothing to regret. Stuff your stocking with this one!

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