Monday, April 23, 2012

Grażyna Bacewicz - two string quartets and two piano quintets - 31 01 1999

Grażyna Bacewicz is one of the most eminent Polish composers and, being a woman, that is only more to her credit in this male-dominated "profession". It is a shame she was only 60 when she died. The year 2009 marked the 100th anniversary of her birth and the 40th of her death.
The 4th String Quartet was composed in 1950 and received 1st prize at the International Composers' Competition in Liege (Belgium). This is where the world premiere performance of the Quartet was held, on 21 09 1951.
This is one of Bacewicz's more frequently performed chamber works. The quartet is in three parts and, as is often the case with Bacewicz, a strong folk influence is heard throughout the piece.
The 1st Piano Quintet was composed in the year 1952. It is full of lyrical, almost romantic expression with folk themes pervading the piece.
Some may disagree, but to me, this is what Shostakovich might compose if he was a happy man.
The 7th String Quartet is also Bacewicz's last. Composed in 1965, it is a virtuosic work, full of energy and colour.
The 2nd piano quintet was composed also in 1965. A more "difficult" work than the 1st Quintet, nevertheless a fascinating, colourful piece.

This is very rewarding listening - excellent compositions which are not as demanding on the listener as more avant-garde works of contemporary music.
On an interesting side note, the famous Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman has fought long and hard to popularize the name of Grażyna Bacewicz and has finally succeeded (no mean feat!) in persuading his record company (Deutsche Grammophon) to record the two Quintets, along with Bacewicz's 2nd Piano Sonata.
These performances are by Poland's best string quartet - the Silesian String Quartet in their heyday, with Marek Moś as first violinist.

Silesian String Quartet:
Marek Moś - 1st violin
Arkadiusz Kubica - 2nd violin
Łukasz Syrnicki - viola
Piotr Janosik - cello

Vyacheslav Novikov - piano

The set list
4th String Quartet
1st Piano Quintet

7th String Quartet
2nd Piano Quintet

Complete concert, recorded live from FM broadcast, Polish Radio Program 2.
Originally recorded to Maxell XL-IIS tape.
Venue: Witold Lutosławski Concert Hall of the Polish Radio
This is a very good concert hall, with excellent sound. I am proud of the quality of this recording!

1 comment:

Sandflyer said...

APE, individual files.

~349 MB.