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Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, January 2017

…a unique collection performed with skill and intelligence.

A valuable and engaging survey of 20th century Polish violin concerti. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Phillip Scott
Fanfare, January 2017

The performances…are uniformly excellent. Polish violinist Piotr Pławner displays a pure tone in the lyrical moments and snappy rhythmic precision elsewhere. He is impressively poised in the long-breathed lyricism of Tansman’s Aria. Bruns and the Chamber Symphony of Berlin, which the conductor founded in 1991, produce clean, crisp accompaniments, and while the solo violin is upfront in the sound picture (as is usual with this company), balance is not problematic.

Each of the four works is immediately attractive, distinctive and memorable, and compellingly presented. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, December 2016

These are very memorable works from the hands and minds of Grażyna Bacewicz (“Violin Concerto No. 1” 1937), Alexandre Tansman (“Cinq pieces pour violon et petit orchestre” 1930), Michał Spisak (“Andante and Allegro for Violin and String Orchestra” 1954) and Andrzej Panufnik (“Violin Concerto” 1971).

The balance of solo violin expressions and orchestral utterances of distinction is nearly perfect thanks to the near ideal performances and the highly developed thematic developments of the composers involved. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




Rebecca Franks
BBC Music Magazine, December 2016

Four lively Polish violin concertos from 1930–1971, well performed. Buy it for the colourful, lyrical, smart Bacewicz, and then explore expansive Panufnik, neo-classical Spisak and neo-Baroque Tansman. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine



Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, November 2016

The violinist plays with strong emotion and an engaged intellect, …No complaints about the orchestra or the sound. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Ethelbert Nevin
La Folia, October 2016

Excellent sound and vitality. © 2016 La Folia Read complete review



Matthew Rye
The Strad, September 2016

Piotr Pławner’s playing throughout is lithe and engaging. He has fun with the playfulness of the Bacewicz, with its sly, quick changes of mood and perky themes, and he’s especially adept at the high-lying melodic skeins of Tansman’s ‘Chanson’ and ‘Aria’. He makes the Stravinskian fast movements of that work catchy, too, and exploits the similar idiom of the Spisak (who, like Bacewicz, was a pupil of Nadia Boulanger). The Panufnik is the most serious work here and Pławner brings a searching, exploratory sense to his playing of the first two movements and fizz to the finale. …The Berlin Chamber Symphony Ensemble provides crisp, exemplary accompaniments, and recordings are well balanced and clear… © 2016 The Strad Read complete review




Uwe Krusch
Pizzicato, September 2016

Four modern works for violin and orchestra have been assembled on this CD and present a living image of Polish music. The distinguished soloist plays in a very inspired way, admirably supported by the Kammersymphonie Berlin. © 2016 Pizzicato



Richard Bratby
Gramophone, September 2016

…these four works all deserve to be better-known; and that includes the Panufnik. Like everything here, it receives lively and committed advocacy from Piotr Pławner and the Kammersymphonie Berlin under Jürgen Bruns… © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Erica Jeal
The Guardian, August 2016

There are four rewarding works to be discovered on this disc, although only two of them are technically concertos, and only one isn’t blink-and-you’ll-miss-it short. That’s the Violin Concerto by Andrzej Panufnik, written in 1971 and recorded in concert in 2014 by Łódź-born violinist Piotr Pławner, the Kammersymphonie Berlin and conductor Jürgen Bruns. The second movement, with its seemingly endless lines of melody, reminds us that the concerto was written for Yehudi Menuhin and his famous nonstop vibrato. Pławner does those long lines justice here, before wrapping up the piece in a spiky, frenetic Polish dance. © 2016 The Guardian Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2016

Under the strange generic title of ‘Polish Violin Concertos’, we have a superbly performed and very desirable collection of works for violin and chamber orchestra. Only one of the four composers, Grażyna Bacewicz, remained in their native Poland, and it was during her years as leader of the Polish Radio Orchestra that she gave the 1937 premiere of the First Violin Concerto. It is quite short—a little less than thirteen minutes—the spiky and vivacious outer movements surrounding a rather bitter-sweet central Andante. The disc’s only other concerto comes from Andrzej Panufnik, a composer who spent his mature life in England, and it was there in 1971 that Yehudi Menuhin commissioned Panufnik’s only concerto for the instrument. Here, we move into the mainstream sound-colours of the second half of the Twentieth century, its conventional three movement framework exploring ‘Yehudi’s rare powers of spirituality’. At times the work moves into a world of inner contemplation, seldom making demands on the performer’s technical skills. Only in the final Vivace—that follows an Adagio where time stands still—does the score give evidence of happiness. Alexandre Tansman was to spend most of his eighty-nine years in France where he wrote in a style appropriate to Parisian audiences, with all the ‘naughty’ twists and turns expected in scores of the 1930’s. Each of his Five Pieces are quite short and frequently require solo agility, particularly so in the central ‘Mouvement perpetuel’, which is a short burst of finger-knotting virtuosity. France also became home to Michał Spisak, where he was one of Nadia Boulanger’s many pupils, his affection for the neoclassical style, that had been developed by Stravinsky, shown in two pieces that are highly contrasted in feel and tempo. Throughout the playing of the Polish violinist, Piotr Plawner, and the Kammersymphonie Berlin with Jürgen Bruns conducting, are worthy champions of seldom performed works. The recording from German Radio is of exemplary quality. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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