DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Violinist Jennifer Pike Brings Little Known Gems To Life In ‘The Polish Violin Vol. 2’

By Norman Lebrecht on October 15, 2021

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Violinist Jennifer Pike Brings Little Known Gems To Life In ‘The Polish Violin Vol. 2’

The Polish Violin Vol. 2 (Chandos)

★★★☆☆

🎧 Apple Music | Spotify | Amazon

I should have been on my way to Warsaw for the Chopin Competition, but circumstances intervened, and I find myself listening to unknown Poles of a different kind. The English violinist Jennifer Pike has Polish ancestry on her mother’s side. While rummaging a music shop in Krakow, she came away with unknown scores and turned them into a pair of fascinating releases.

The familiar composers presented here are Karol Szymanowski and Grazyna Bacewicz, but not as we know them. Szymanowski’s 1904 violin sonata has yet to develop his trademark asperity, while his three Paganini Caprices of 1918 would make perfect encores if they weren’t so steeped in melancholy. All we hear of the austere Bacwicz is a solo violin Caprice of 1949 in which she appears to be keening for lost worlds — a sombre and thrilling contemplation.

The major discovery on this album is a composer called Poldowski. It was one of three names she used.

Born Irène Régine Wienawska, daughter of the sensational Jewish violinist Henryk Wieniawski who died when she was an infant, she married into the lower English aristocracy and became known as Lady Irene Dean Paul. Under one name or other she enjoyed a career as a concert artist until her death, aged 52, in 1932.

She composed quite a bit as Poldowski, and her 1912 Sonata in D minor is well worth a spin. Written in Brussels, where she moved after a divorce, it has something about it of the Cesar Franck sonata played by a seedy Simenon character on a fogbound Channel night. The atmosphere is so thick you’d need a charcuterie knife to cut it. Pike plays with cinematic sensitivity, lacking only a puff of smoke from Maigret’s pipe. Petr Limonov is the able accompanist. The sound is as lucid as the mood is murky. Don’t miss it.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, subscribe to Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: Nov. 29 – Dec. 5

By Michael Vincent on November 29, 2021

Classical music and opera events for the week of November 29 to December 5.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

THE SCOOP | Joel Ivany Named Artistic Director of Edmonton Opera

By Anya Wassenberg on November 18, 2021

Edmonton Opera's Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Joel Ivany as Artistic Director.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: Nov. 8 – 14

By Michael Vincent on November 8, 2021

This is a list of amazing concerts we are attending, wishing we could attend, or thinking about attending between November 8–14, 2021.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.