Szymanowski & Britten - Violin Concertos

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Szymanowski & Britten - Violin Concertos


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Release date:

6th July 2009




76 minutes


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Szymanowski & Britten - Violin Concertos


Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 15

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck


Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35

Warsaw Philharmonic, Antoni Wit

Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61

Warsaw Philharmonic, Antoni Wit



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For his latest recording, the eminent violinist Frank Peter Zimmerman has recorded the concertos Nos. 1 & 2 by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski, accompanied by the Warsaw Philharmonic under the baton of Antoni Wit. The final piece on the album is the violin concerto No. 1, op.35 by Benjamin Britten for which Zimmerman is partnered by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck. Once more Zimmermann excels in the whole technical range of his instrument and shows sensitivity for these unusual works.

“…the exquisitely-toned, raptly-poetic Frank Peter Zimmerman” The Independent

Karol Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35

Vivace assai

Tempo comodo

Vivace scherzando

Poco meno - Allegretto

Vivace (Tempo I)

Karol Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61

Moderato - Molto tranquillo

Andantino sostenuto

Allegramente, molto energico

Andantino, molto tranquillo

Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 15

Moderato con moto

Vivace - Largamente


Sunday Times

19th July 2009


“Zimmermann makes light of the difficulties, throwing off the fiendish cadenzas (by Pawel Kochanski, the dedicatee of both works) with effortless ease. It is good to see a German fiddler championing Britten’s youthful work (1939-40), played here with the Swedish Radio SO under Manfred Honeck. Zimmermann’s sweet, intense tone is especially compelling in the concluding Passacaglia — prophetic of Britten’s mature style.”

The Telegraph

11th August 2009


“[Britten's] Violin Concerto is given a forceful account by Zimmerman and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Zimmermann does particular justice to the shimmering, perfumed colours of [Szymanowski's Violin Concerto] No 1.”

The Observer

26th July 2009

“Benjamin Britten's violin concerto has never been among his most approachable works, but Zimmermann's cool, lyrical, crystal-clear style suits it perfectly, especially in the final Passacaglia, which gradually acquires a huge, desolate power. [In the two Szymanowsky concertos], Zimmermann perhaps lacks some rhapsodic warmth, but the gloriously exotic sounds of the First Concerto are magnificently realised, and the more folk-inspired Second blossoms idiomatically.”

The Guardian

14th August 2009

“The performances are close on definitive. Soloist Frank Peter Zimmermann has the remarkable ability to adapt his tone to each work: he attains a unique level of tragic anguish in the Britten, but the craggy sound he deploys there contrasts sharply with the syrupy decadence he brings to Szymanowski's First and the heavyweight lyricism with which he plays the Second. The orchestral contributions are outstanding, too: the Warsaw Philharmonic under Antoni Wit are match-less in Szymanowski; for the Britten, Manfred Honeck conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony with a searching intensity that matches Zimmermann's own.”

BBC Music Magazine

Christmas 2009


“…Zimmermann… seems more at home in the Second Concerto, where the ecstatic element is leavened with the folk-influence that Szymanowski adopted later in his life - think Bartók rather than Scriabin. …in the Britten… Zimmermann is again responsive to the music's changing moods, and expresses them with an enormously varied tonal palette, and in the scherzo, with considerable virtuosity. Manfred Honeck steers his orchestra expertly, and the Swedish recording has bite.”

Gramophone Magazine

Awards Issue 2009

“…Zimmermann plays with flawless technique, ravishing pose and subtle range of colour. These are readings of strong personality, gutsy temperament and full-throated ardour. The captivating First Concerto is as passionate, sensuous and poetic as one could wish... The Britten is scarcely less impressive...”

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