The Strad Issue: January 2007
Musicians: Wojciech Plawner (violin), Beethoven Academy Orchestra/Pawel Przytocki
Composer: Wieniawski, Bacewicz, Penderecki

Wieniawski’s D minor Concerto has been especially lucky on disc. The scorching intensity and fizzing virtuosity of Michael Rabin’s classic 1960 account (currently out of the catalogue) still take some beating, although Isaac Stern (Sony) and Itzhak Perlman (EMI) are also dazzling in this gloriously opulent work.

Wojciech Plawner was still only 21 when this fine performance was taped a couple of years back. Technically he’s virtually faultless, with ringing intonation, a small-scale yet open sound (ideal for this particular work), a narrow, medium-fast vibrato and a wide range of cantabile and staccato strokes, including a scintillating flying spiccato. His sul-G work is particularly impressive, without the slightest hint of strain, and his tone remains clear-focused at all times. Plawner plays with captivating interpretative flair and panache throughout, even if he ultimately lacks the scorching charisma of those artists previously listed. The recording is bold if a little lacking in sophistication and the couplings, although unusual, are both rewarding