The Strad Issue: September 2016
Description: Fine advocacy for some less-visited gems of the Romantic violin tradition
Musicians: Bartlomiej Niziol (violin), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Lukasz Borowicz
Composer: Stojowski, Wieniawski
Catalogue number: HYPERION CDA 68102

This is a thoroughly enjoyable disc, not only because of its well-conceived programme of dramatic, impassioned music but also owing to the excellent advocacy of Bartlomiej Niziol. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Lukasz Borowicz’s baton sounds aptly colourful (with some enthusiastic brass playing, especially in the concerto finale), while Hyperion delivers a recording of high quality.

That Stojowski’s music deserves to be better known is displayed by his G minor Concerto, which balances drama, virtuosity and compositional rigour. Precision of orchestration and deep ardour combine in a compelling first movement, a sustained second-movement cantilena and a fittingly dance-like finale. The Romanze contains some agonisingly beautiful writing but is perhaps a little over-extended in places. Finishing the disc with Wieniawski’s flamboyant Fantaisie brillante creates a balanced disc of great virtuosity and a platform for Niziol, a 2015 Echo Klassik prizewinner, to display a dazzling command of some difficult music. While the Romanze contains some rather slow and wide vibrato, which renders some of the high-register playing a little over-exaggerated, otherwise Niziol’s performance is excellent, suiting the tightly wound ambience of the concerto especially well. There is a deep understanding of and sympathy for this music, which makes for compelling listening.

David Milsom