- Romanze, for violin & orchestra in E flat major, Op. 20
- Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 22
Following on the label's gigantic series of forgotten Romantic piano concertos, Hyperion has experienced success with a similar violin series appealing to listeners wanting to know more of the repertory than just a few peaks. Zygmunt Stojowski (1869-1946) moved to the U.S. in 1905 and was a popular concert attraction there in the first decades of the 20th century. He had plenty of stories to tell, having known Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Delibes (one of his teachers), and other star figures of the day. Stojowski was a pianist, not a violinist, and the "Violin Concerto in G minor, Op. 22," and "Romanze in E flat" were written for other players, not for himself. They are melodious works that bring Dvorák to mind without embedding skilled solo writing into interesting structures as Dvorák did. The best here is saved for last. Henryk Wieniawski is known most of all for his pair of concertos and his Etudes-caprices, but a 19th century audience might well have heard this "Fantaisie brillante sur des motifs de l'opéra Faust de Gounod": not just as an operatic paraphrase, but a work that uses Gounod's opera as a springboard for an astonishing assortment of technical feats. Wieniawski's own performance in London was, according to the Illustrated London News, "applauded to the echo." Violinist Bartlomiej Niziol is unfazed by the difficulties, and you can sample the slow movement of the Stojowski (track 2), with limpid melody disturbed by a few big ocean waves, to assure yourself that he is equally fluent in this very different idiom. Recommended for those interested in the world of the Romantic violin virtuoso; an audience in the years after 1900 might easily have heard a program consisting of specifically these two Polish works.