Wasiucionek & Michalik’s Recital Album

DUX1629 - cover

ENESCU: Violin Sonata No. 3. PROKOFIEV: 5 Melodies. SZYMANOWSKI: Myths / Malgoratza Wasiucionek, vln; Sylwia Michalik, pno / Dux 1629

I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to see a fairly young violin-piano duo playing music of at least the 20th century and not another program of 18th and 19th century retreads, and it is equally refreshing to see them presented on the cover of this CD as simply women musicians, not dolled up as eye candy for drooling men. Two points in their favor already!

As it turns out, Malgoratza Wasciucionek studied with Roman Lasocki at the Chopin University of Music and with Pierre Amoyal at the Universitat in Salzburg, while pianist Michalik studied at the Graźyna & Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy with Anna Wesołowska-Firlej and now holds a professorship in the chamber music department of her alma mater. They are both outstanding musicians who play with feeling and insight.

The Enescu Violin Sonata No. 3 is a famous piece; I own no less than four recordings of it, one by Enescu himself with Dinu Lipatti as the pianist, the others by Yehudi Menuhin, Axel Strauss and Philippe Graffin. This performance really doesn’t do anything different with the music, but it is always good to hear played well.

Prokofiev’s 5 Melodies, by contrast, are not nearly as well known or as often played. The music is pretty good, though not, in my view, among his outstanding works, yet this duo approaches them with similar elegance and vigor.

By contrast, I think that Mythes is one of Szymanowski’s masterpieces, particularly the third piece, “Dryades and Pan.” Here the duo is completely in their element, bringing out the subtleties in the music with great insight and playing the entire piece with tremendous drive.

This is an excellent recital, and I will surely look for further recordings by this duo.

—© 2020 Lynn René Bayley

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