Mieczysław Karłowicz's violin concerto in A major, op. 8
Staszewska, Malgorzata Maria
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The Polish violin concerto literature includes a fine concerto that is rarely performed outside of Poland: Mieczysáaw Karáowicz’s (1876-1909) Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 8, written in 1902. Today the concerto is widely played in Poland, but it still has not earned a strong reputation abroad. The possible reasons for its lack of popularity are the short life of the composer, which gave him little time to promote the piece, and his conflict with the Polish musical establishment, which banned performances of his music. The literature regarding the piece is limited, especially in English. Occasional reviews/articles or CD liner notes mention its excellent idiomatic violin writing, but this issue is not discussed in detail. The lack of worldwide publications of the part, the rare recordings by international performers, and the absence of scholarly analyses on the performance aspects of the piece contribute to its obscurity. The goal of this study is to promote the piece by presenting its values: a skillfully outlined form, idiomatic violin writing, expressive musical content, and the combination of both virtuosic technique and musical interest. Chapter one provides a sketch of the historical background of the Polish violin concerto’s evolution, followed by Karáowicz’s biographical information and work style description focusing on his Violin Concerto. Chapter two is a formal analysis of the piece illustrated by analytical charts and musical examples. Chapter three discusses the technical and editorial violin issues, phrasing, and sound production problems related to its performance. Chapter four contains a discussion on the concerto’s style: its influences versus its original qualities, Polish or Slavic features, the comparison with preceding Polish violin concerti, the reasons for its lack of popularity, and reviews about the concerto’s value. The detailed analyses of multiple aspects presented in this document from the performer’s viewpoint demonstrate that Karáowicz’s Violin Concerto is worthy of international performances.