Quick, quick – name a Polish composer. Now name a Polish composer who isn’t Chopin. If you remembered Szymanowski, well done – have a gold star. But it should be a lot easier than this – particularly given the quality and quantity of classical music that the Poles have produced. Unfortunately, not enough of it makes it through into the West, so finding good recordings of Polish works can sometimes be quite difficult. I’ve been exploring a number of Polish Romantic composers r
I had to buy my own Christmas present this year – which isn’t quite the sob story it sounds to be, because it meant that I finally got my hands on Teodor Currentzis’ recording of Mozart’s Don Giovanni (with Musicaeterna on SONY). I’ve been waiting for this recording ever since it was first announced a couple of years ago. Currentzis has now recorded all three of Mozart’s da Porte operas. His radical, period-instrument approach will not be to everybody’s tastes, but I love it.
Max Bruch is one of those composers who, like Pachelbel, often gets dismissed as a one-trick pony. His First Violin Concerto is one of the most popular pieces in the repetoire - and with good reason. But although some people might be able to hum the ethereal cello rhapsody, Kol Nidrei, that's pretty much it, even for a lot of dedicated lovers of classical music. Which is a shame, because there's some very good works there, under the surface. Bruch wrote two other violin conce