The London-based duo of brothers Filip and Michał Ćwiżewicz was founded in 2014, after years of informal collaboration. Rapidly establishing themselves as a unique chamber ensemble, they are championing lesser-known works, their own arrangements of classical and folk music, inviting new commissions as well as performing the capricious fireworks of the virtuosic two-violin repertoire. In 2016 the Ćwiżewicz Brothers’ broadened their scope with the addition of violin-viola works, works with piano, their first concerto appearance as a duo with orchestra and concerts abroad in Berlin and Warsaw. Quietly in the making since 1997 when 13-year-old Michał began teaching 2-year-old Filip, the duo have performed various works including those by Bacewicz, Bach, Bartók, Górecki, Kreisler, Sarasate, Spohr, Prokofiev, Wieniawski. Whilst they both studied with celebrated violin teachers and developed as classical musicians, their unusual musical upbringing also immersed them in the impassioned and angular folk music of the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe as well as the wholly different sound-world of the Javanese Gamelan, which they played throughout their youth. Building on this rich background they have recently commissioned two works: Delirium by Richard Birchall and Quartets for Two Violins and Balinese Gender Wayang by Nick Gray; the former was premiered in 2016 and the latter is planned for autumn 2017. Drawing on Polish Highlanders’ folk tunes and Szymanowski’s ballet The Brigands, their piece Tatra Melodies was premiered in Warsaw in 2015 together with dance and original choreography.
Recordings - LIVE in concert.
Sergei Prokofiev Sonata for Two Violins op. 56, is perhaps the greatest, most kaleidoscopic work ever written for two violins. Apart from demanding a myriad colours and techniques it creates something less like a duo and more like an orchestral score. Unlike many famous works, inspired by the music of other great composers, it seems this Sonata was actually Prokofiev’s response to a poorly written violin duo by an obscure composer which compelled the young Prokofiev to prove to himself that "it had to be possible to write at least fifteen minutes of good music for this small ensemble!".
Bela Bartok (1881-1945) - 44 Duos for Two Violins, Sz.98, BB 104 (1931)
Bartok travelled extensively through Romania, Hungary and Transylvania collecting the mysterious and angular folk melodies of the local musicians. Here these tunes end up in tiny miniatures, arranged within Bartok's unique style. The suite of six duos selected by Cwizewicz Brothers: Transylvanian Dance; Dance from Máramaros; Bride's Farewell; Hungarian March; Mosquito Dance; Ruthenian Kolomejka.
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.
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.
Liebesleid arr. Cwizewicz Brothers
Duo No. 1 in G major for violin & viola, K. 423
Duo No. 2 in B-flat major for violin & viola, K. 424
Double Sonata op.56, 1932
Sarasate, Pablo de
Navarra, Op. 33 (2 vlns & pno/orch.)
Duo Concertante in D Major, op.67. n.2
Duo Concertant in G minor, op. 67 n. 3
Études-Caprices, Op. 18
Suite for two violins (1943)
Bach, Johann Sebastian
Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043Bartók, Béla
44 Duos, Sz. 98, BB 104Birchall, Richard
Delirium, 2016 (commissioned Cwizewicz Brothers)Ćwiżewicz, Michał
Tatra Melodies (Wiązanka Podhalańska) 2013Górecki, Henryk
Sonata for Two Violins, Op.10, 1961Halvorsen, Johan
Passacaglia for Violin and Viola (1893)