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Ćwiżewicz Brothers - St James's, Piccadilly

  • St James's Piccadilly 197 Piccadilly London, W1J 9LL United Kingdom (map)
Richard Birchall | Photo A. Dawton

Richard Birchall | Photo A. Dawton

Louis Spohr
Duo Concertant in G minor op. 67 n. 3

Richard Birchall
* World Première *
(Cwiz.Bros. commission 2015)

Sergey Prokofiev
Sonata for Two Violins in C Major, Op. 56 (1932)

Michał Ćwiżewicz
Tatra Airs (2013)
Medley based on themes from Polish Highlands and Karol Szymanowski's 1931 ballet Harnasie (the Mountain Brigands).

Johan Halvorsen
Passacaglia for Violin and Viola (1893)

Filip & Michał Ćwiżewicz - violins

Louis Spohr (1784-1859) was a German violinist, conductor and prolific composer. His works straddle the Classical and Romantic periods, and include nine symphonies, thirty-six string quartets and eighteen violin concertos. In addition to his compositions, he invented the violin chinrest and wrote "The Violin School", a treatise on violin playing.

Richard Birchall is an English composer, cellist, member of the Philharmonia Orchestra and director of Cellophony. His works have been performed throughout the major concert halls of the UK and his music has featured on BBC Radio 3 and France Radio. Delirium was commissioned by the Cwizewicz Brothers in 2015.  The work is two movements: the first depicts the ebb and flow of lucidity, short delicate repeated notes of the two violins interlocking rhythmically, create a trance-like Moto Perpetuo. The second movement is the gradual awakening of a waltz, from a grotesque lethargy all the way to delirious frenzy. 

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) composed his Sonata for Two Violins in 1932 whilst on holiday near St Tropez. It was, it seems, inspired by a bad performance of an unspecified work of which he said “Listening to bad music sometimes inspires good ideas ... it struck me that in spite of the apparent limitations of such a duet one could make it interesting enough to listen to for ten or fifteen minutes." The piece is structured according to the sonata da chiesa form from the Baroque period slow: fast: slow: fast.

Michał Ćwiżewicz - Tatra Airs is perhaps the world’s shortest ballet. Written for two violinists and ballerina, this miniature was premiered in its ballet form at the Royal Theatre in Warsaw’s Łazienki in 2015. It’s opening three ‘tunes’ present in bare form the uniquely beautiful ornamented folk music of the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland. This leads directly to the ‘Song of Harnaś’ taken from the closing Act of Szymanowski’s ballet Harnasie op. 55, also based on the same folk music, before finally turning to two fiery dances from the Szymanowski, overlaid one on top of the other, competing for dominance.

Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist. He was concert-master in Bergen and Aberdeen before becoming professor of music in Helsinki. His compositions were a development of the romantic traditions exemplified by Grieg (who’s niece became Halvorsen’s wife). The Passacaglia is based on Passacaille (No.6) from Suite in G minor, HWV 432 by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). The term passacaglia refers to a popular Baroque street dance from Spain, often seen in the form of repeated chord progressions as the basis for improvisations or inventive variations. The double and triple stops required of the two instrumentalists to create four part harmony and all manner of virtuosic effects have given rise to the piece's nickname, ‘The lmpossible Duet’.