The Strad Issue: January 2010
Musicians: Mariusz Patyra (violin) Sinfonia Varsovia/Johannes Wildner*, Sinfonia Iuventus/Gabriel Chmura† 
Composer: Wieniawski

Polish violinist Mariusz Patyra brings much drama, bravura and lyricism to Wieniawski’s two powerful and vastly underrated concertos, particularly to their opening movements, in which his laudable technical assurance and rhythmical control are seasoned by a fiery style and a winning spontaneity. He injects real soul into their meditative moments, the bars immediately following the cadenza in the Allegro moderato of no.1 providing an especially memorable expressive example.

Patyra gives expansive accounts of the slow movements, revelling in the dark hues, rich sonorities and devotional intensity of the ‘Preghiera’ of no.1 and shaping the Romance of no.2 with the skill of a master sculptor. Although cautious regarding tempo, he gives the finale of no.1 a joie de vivre appropriate to its predominant dance character, conveys its lyrical contrasts and employs rubato to subtle expressive effect. He also dispatches the Hungarian rondo finale of no.2 with vitality and panache.

The close recording occasionally over-emphasises Patyra’s explosive attack, but it also provides striking clarity of articulation in the various passages involving slurred staccato and other such bravura bowings. The Sinfonia Varsovia and Johannes Wildner are the superior accompanying forces overall, but Gabriel Chmura encourages some alert, energetic playing and rich string timbres from Sinfonia Iuventus.