Sofia Gubaidulina’s Dancer on a Tightrope gives the title for this debut recording for Champs Hill from YCAT artist Bartosz Woroch.
This 1993 piece represents a break from the confines of everyday life, inevitably associated with risk and danger, using extanded techniques for both violin and piano. Not only this piece but the whole recital embraces the desire to take flight, for the exhilaration of movement, of dance, of ecstatic virtuosity.
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) is a rarity: a Polish female composer whose work has become well known. Her Sonata for Solo Violin is an early work (1929) but is ferocious and Bartosz describes it as ‘full of evil’.
Prokofiev’s Second Sonata for Violin (1947), by contrast, seems to hark back to the previous century with its simple melodies – originally designed for multiple players in unison – and not premiered until after his death in 1959.
John Cage’s Six Melodies (1950) for violin and keyboard instrument uses sparse textures where the violinist is instructed to use no vibrato.
Hindemith’s Sonata for Solo Violin of 1924 is in four sections, described as having been written on the train between Hannover and Frankfurt, with the final section a set of variations on a song by Mozart.
Born in Poznan, Poland, Bartosz studied at the Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznan, the Hochschule der Kunste Berne and with Louise Hopkins at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he is now a professor.
"Everything is played with a focused intensity and a sense of risk-taking that make for compulsive listening." - The Guardian
“The menace of Gubaildulina’s Dancer on a Tightrope and Polish composer Bacewicz’s ferocious sonata No2 for solo violin (1958) is balanced by the poise of Schnittke’s delicate “polystylistic” Fuga for Violin (1953) and the lovely simplicity of Cage’s Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard (1950), to which Woroch brings a suitable depth and stillness of tone. Sonatas for solo violin by Hndermith (Op. 31 No 2) and Prokofiev (Op. 115), played with great technical flair, complete this courageous and accomplished disc”. - Kate Wakeling, BBC Music Magazine
"Champs Hill has developed a knack of programming challenging solo violin discs… Fine notes and sound quality ensure the added success of this project."
"the performances are stylistically apt and technically imposing.
“The intensities of [Bacewicz’s] slow movement... are powerfully conveyed in this reading…" - MusicWeb International
"...the slow movement of Bacewicz's sonata which is followed by a whirlwind of a moto perpetuo, dispatched with impressive flair by Bartosz Woroch..."
"...a seriously enjoyable recital." - BBC Radio 3 Record Review