This concerto came about because of Szymanowski’s long-standing partnership with the legendary violinist Paweł Kochański, who’d previously collaborated with him on his D Minor Violin Sonata and then on his first Violin Concerto in 1916.
Sixteen years later, in 1932, Kochanski was badgering Szymanowski for a new concerto. In September of that year the composer wrote to a friend: “Paweł provoked and simply squeezed out of me a whole violin concerto. I wrote it in just under 4 weeks, so you can imagine how I had to work and how very tired I am.”
As the official Symanowski website puts it: “The Violin Concerto No. 2 is very different from the previous one. Not a trace is left of the flowery poetry and fairytale fantasy, ornamental sumptuousness, erotic heat and ecstatic explosions of that work. Yes, there are moments of great emotional elation, typical for Szymanowski, but they are sparingly measured out, and far from manifesting subjective states of the soul: rather, they are cheerful, triumphant, full of joyful delight and euphoria.”
Kochański wrote a cadenza for this concerto, just as he’d done for the first, but for this performance Andrew Beer has written his own.
Recorded by RNZ Concert, Auckland Town Hall, 30 July 2020
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay