Following on successful premiere performances of the Violin Concerto of Ludomir Różycki (1883-1953) by soloist Janusz Wawrowski in January 2020, an exciting premiere recording of the work has been announced for release in Spring 2021. According to an article in The Guardian, the manuscript for this 1944 composition had been buried by Różycki in a suitcase in the garden of a destroyed Warsaw house at the end of WWI, as the composer fled the Nazis. The piece—which The Guardian calls “an exuberant, optimistic work comparable to that of George Gershwin or the film composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold”—was buried for years until builders discovered the suitcase and turned it over to the Polish National Library in Warsaw.
It was there that Janusz Wawrowski, one of Poland’s leading violinists, found the manuscript. According to his website: “Discovering, researching and popularizing forgotten works by [P]olish composers constitutes [a] crucial field of Janusz Wawrowski’s musical expertise.” Using the first 100 measures of the full orchestral score discovered in the National Library and a preserved piano reduction found in another archive, Wawrowski led a specialized team that—over the course of 10 years—painstakingly reconstructed the full score. To learn more about the reconstruction, see an article in Strings Magazine.
To me it’s full of the energy and life of Warsaw before the war, and I think he was trying to conjure and convey this positive energy as he wrote it in 1944 in a very dark time, as the artillery of the Nazis rained down on the city.
The rediscovered Różycki Violin Concerto was recently recorded by Wawrowski with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of its principal associate conductor, Polish conductor Grzegorz Nowak, in London. Watch a clip of the recording here: https://youtu.be/trDzu-MvFNg.
The album, entitled PHOENIX and featuring Violin Concertos by Różycki and Tchaikovsky, will be released by Warner Classics / Erato in Spring of 2021. The reconstructed orchestral score is now available via PWM Editions, and a critical score of the piano reduction is being prepared by Wawrowski for the same publishing house.