Ewelina Nowicka is a composer as well as a violinist. I think it’s that additional talent that makes this recording special. Nowicka and pianist Milena Antoniewicz perform three early postwar works by Mieczyslaw Weinberg.
Weinberg was one of the composers endangered by the Zhdanov Doctrine (along with his good friend Dmitri Shostakovich). He managed to reign in his style to create consonant works that would meet with Party approval.
The three works in this program all certainly do that. But there’s an element of subversiveness to them as well. And buried even deeper is a hint of Weinberg’s Jewish heritage.
Nowicka’s performances go beyond the notes to bring out those underlying elements. I believe it was in part because she, as a composer, connected with Weinberg on a deeper level.
There’s a hint of jazz in concertino. The sonatina has sections where Nowicka bends the notes, reminiscent of Hebrew folk music.
Even the Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes isn’t just a pretty setting of pleasing folk tunes. Rather, there’s a slight restlessness to the music that keeps it moving forward.
This is a recording of exceptional performances. But it’s not an exceptional recording. I don’t like the sound of the piano. I think the mics were placed a little too far back, and it has a hollow, overly-resonant sound. It’s not enough to ruin the listening experience, but it slightly tip the balance of the two instruments.
Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Works for Violin and Piano
Concertino for Violin and Piano, Op. 42; Sonatina for Violin and Piano in D major, Op. 46; Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, Op. 47, No. 7
Ewelina Nowicka, violin; Milena Antoniewicz, piano