Lutosławski’s entire output for violin and piano amounts to less than 25 minutes, and only the Partita can be regarded as a score of major significance. Commissioned in 1984 by Pinchas Zuckerman, it is in five linked parts, with the opening high-impact atonality giving way to softer textures that become intensely passionate as it reaches the final section. The other two works are short: the melancholic Recitativo e arioso is an early score from 1951, and the spiky, brilliant Subito (1992) was among his last works.
Szymanowski’s Myths was influenced by the shimmering beauty of the French Impressionists and appears in total contrast to Janáˇcek’s turbulent sonata, a work that reflected the mental upheaval created by a one-sided relationship outside the composer’s marriage.
With a fast and warming vibrato, Ariadne Daskalakis draws a honeyed tone from her 1769 Guadagnini violin, subtly colouring the ecstatic moments of Myths though never quite capturing that rapt intensity we hear from David Grimal’s recent recording (Ambroisie), a disc that also includes the Janáˇcek sonata. Her playing is technically impeccable and has the necessary impact for Lutosławski’s Partita, but she seems reluctant to produce that hard-edged tone implicit in the wide mood swings of Janáˇcek’s tormented final movement. For that reason I prefer Christian Tetzlaff’s more sharply delineated account (Virgin). Miri Yampolsky is a robust partner and particularly responsive to Szymanowski’s sensuous colours. This is a well-balanced German radio recording dating from 2003.
From the July 2009 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.