Dancer on a Tightrope | Champs Hill Records CHRCD114

Dancer on a Tightrope


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Label: Champs Hill Records

Cat No: CHRCD114

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 29th April 2016



Sofia Gubaidulina’s Dancer on a Tightrope gives the title for this debut recording for Champs Hill from YCAT artist Bartosz Woroch.

This 1993 piece represents a break from the confines of everyday life, inevitably associated with risk and danger, using extended techniques for both violin and piano. Not only this piece but the whole recital embraces the desire to take flight, for the exhilaration of movement, of dance, of ecstatic virtuosity.

Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) is a rarity: a Polish female composer whose work has become well known. Her Sonata for Solo Violin is an early work (1929) but is ferocious and Bartosz describes it as ‘full of evil’.

Prokofiev’s Second Sonata for Violin (1947), by contrast, seems to hark back to the previous century with its simple melodies – originally designed for multiple players in unison – and not premiered until after his death in 1959.

John Cage’s Six Melodies (1950) for violin and keyboard instrument uses sparse textures where the violinist is instructed to use no vibrato.

Hindemith’s Sonata for Solo Violin of 1924 is in four sections, described as having been written on the train between Hannover and Frankfurt, with the final section a set of variations on a song by Mozart.

Born in Poznan, Poland, Bartosz studied at the Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznan, the Hochschule der Kunste Berne and with Louise Hopkins at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he is now a professor.


This 20th-century programme from the UK-based Polish violinist Bartosz Woroch is full of intriguing repertoire. It starts with Grażyna Bacewicz’s 1924 Solo Sonata No 2, a fierce and brilliant piece, powerfully played. At its centre is the title track, a 1993 work by Sofia Gubaidulina in which Bartosz’s violin stretches and pirouettes, yearning for flight; underneath, the piano offers a kind of safety net, its strings at first set eerily vibrating from within the instrument using a glass tumbler, then more conventionally played. Mei Yi Foo supplies this and the insistent, disembodied-sounding keyboard part in John Cage’s eerie Six Melodies. … Everything is played with a focused intensity and a sense of risk-taking that make for compulsive listening.  Erica Jeal
The Guardian 10 June 2016

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