and finally…

Any listing of Mendelssohn’s most popular works, would have his violin concerto somewhere near the top. His rethinking of the concerto form – started with his two piano concertos – here reaches its apogee; and the success of this remodelling can be measured by the plethora of famous near-imitations that followed it — the violin […]

Venetian Games

The last composer in our brief survey of Polish music is Witold Lutosławski. Lutosławski’s style changed considerably during the course of his career, moving from Bartokian folk-based pieces (for instance, the Concerto for Orchestra) through to the ‘limited aleatoricism’ of Jeux vénitiens [Venetian Games] and later works. And yet there is an indefinable something in all […]

Bacewicz & Panufnik

No, not a firm of solicitors from Warsaw, but two of Poland’s finest twentieth century composers. While their musical vocabulary is definitely of their time, they – unlike Penderecki or Lutosławski – weren’t deeply interested in exploring the sound worlds of sonorism, aleatoricism, serialism, etc. Grażyna Bacewicz was both virtuoso violinist and a composer, many of her […]

May Night: Karol Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto

Ever heard a concerto that started like this before? [Go on, listen to it all: it’s worth it!] w May Night [Noc majowa] is the title of the poem by symbolist Tadeusz Miciński that was a source of inspiration for Szymanowski’s first violin concerto. The fantastical imagery of the poem –Miciński’s work was a precursor of […]

God jul! Hyvää joulua! Glædelig jul! and a Merry Christmas, too

To finish, a look at (and a listen to, of course) some of Scandinavia’s exports: three second generation American composers whose parents hailed from Norway, Sweden, Finland or Denmark. And then maybe – just maybe, you understand – we’ll let the Yuletide Spirit take over and hear where it leads us… Any copyrighted material on these pages […]