Two eminent violinists have been in touch concerning my recent assertion that the Mieczyslaw Karlowicz concerto has ‘not been played outside Poland in living memory’.
Tasmin Little, who made a lovely recording for Hyperion with the BBC Scottish four years ago, tells me she did her best to secure a public performance in several countries and actually got it into a BBC concert, only for some chicken-heart to change the programme for reasons that were never satisfactorily explained. Tasmin’s recording, by the way, is mysteriously omitted from the 2008 edition of the compendious Penguin Guide to classical records.
Meanwhile, from her home in Australia, up pops the much-loved Wanda Wilkomirska, whose recordings have become notably scarce. After a mid-night shuffle through her old concert diaries she informs me (via David Schoenbaum in Iowa) that she played Karlowicz ‘in Prague in 1953, in Basel in 1961, in Minneapolis in 1962, toured the US and Canada for five weeks with it in 1964, and repeated it in Frankfurt in 1970.’
Still within living memory, for sure, but I guess the fact that she was a Polish artist, touring mostly with a Polish orchestra, may have led lazy-minded violinists and artistic administrators to assume that Karlowicz was a national specialty, like pierogi, and not one of the most affecting concertos written for the instrument since the ineluctable Bruch.
Let’s hope that Nigel Kennedy’s ardent advocacy will open a few more minds.