Grazyna Bacewicz

Grazyna Bacewicz was a Polish composer and violinist. She is the second Polish female composer to have achieved national as well as international acclaim. The first was Maria Szymanowska in the early 19th century.

Bacewicz was born in Lodz, Poland. While her father and brother Vytautas identified themselves as Lithuanian using Bacevicius a the family name, her other brother Kiejstut identified himself as Polish. Her father, Wincenty , gave Grazyna her first piano and violin lessons. At the age of eighteen she began studying at the Warsaw Conservatory and graduated in 1932 as a violinist and composer. She continued her education in Paris, having received financial backing by Ignacy
Jan Paderewski to attend the Ecole Normale de Musique. She studied there from 1932 to 1933 under the direction of Nadia Boulanger. She also studied the violin with Henri Touret. Later on when she left France to learn from the Hungarian violinist Carl Flesch.

After Bacewicz completed her studies, she participated in many events as a soloist, composer as well as jury member.  She was the principal violinist of the Polish Radio orchestra during the 1930s, which at that time was directed by Grzegorz Fitelberg. It gave her the opportunity to play a lot of her own music. During World War II, Grazyna Bacewicz was living in Warsaw, yet still continued to compose her music, giving secret underground concerts. It was then that her Suite for Two Violins premiered.

Most of her compositions are for the violin. Among them are seven violin concertos, five sonatas for violin with piano including two for violin solo, seven string quartets, two piano quintets and four symphonies.

Bacewicz was married in 1936, and gave birth to a daughter, Alina Biernacka, who became a recognized painter. After the war, she assumed the position of professor at the State Conservatory of Music in Lodz. She began to focus more activity on composition, and it became her only occupation after she suffered a serious car accident in 1954. She died in Warsaw in 1969.

Comments from hyperion-records.co.uk

http://www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/composer/bacewicz.html

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1935 Sinfonietta 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
The Sinfonietta, which was premiered in 1936 by the Polish Radio Orchestra under its renowned conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg, was written after Bacewicz had returned from her studies in Paris. That same year it received an honourable mention in a competition run by the Society for the Publication of Polish Music, when she used the pseudonym Simplicity. In fact, although its three movements are quite brief, they are anything but simple. Regular structures and neat recapitulations were not for her. The outlines of sonata and ternary forms are just about discernible, but this very early work is notable for its free spirit. Bacewicz teases the listener with her metric and rhythmic ingenuity, with juxtapositions of exuberance and lyricism, in which forward development and momentum are more important than exact recall or traditionally balanced structures. These features are particularly prevalent in the opening Allegro, whose recapitulation is a subtle and intuitive reconfiguration of earlier ideas..

New London Orchestra cond. Ronald Corp

1937 Concerto No 1 for Violin and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Joanna Kukewich - Violin
Polish Radio Symphony cond. Lukazs Borowicz
1945 Concerto No 2 for Violin and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Joanna Kukewich - Violin
Polish Radio Symphony cond. Lukazs Borowicz
1946
Symphony
4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
In the last ten years or so, the Polish music publisher PWM has issued a number of works, including the first two string quartets, which Bacewicz had either held back from publication or had never included in her official list of works. The Sinfonietta is an example of the former and the Symphony for strings of the latter. The Symphony does not seem to form a direct link in the stylistic lineage between the Sinfonietta and the Concerto, and perhaps this was Bacewicz's original reason for its exclusion. Its four movements are also altogether more serious, replacing the lightness of these flanking works with an earnestness that belies her innate sense of fun, as testified by everyone who knew her

New London Orchestra cond. Ronald Corp

1946 Piano Sonata No 2 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Krystian Zimerman - Piano
1948 Concerto No 3 for Violin and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Joanna Kukewich - Violin
Polish Radio Symphony cond. Lukazs Borowicz
1948
Concerto for String Orchestra
4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
The Concerto for String Orchestra is Bacewicz's most frequently performed orchestral piece, both at home and abroad, and deservedly stands alongside the serenades of Dvor¡k, Tchaikovsky and Elgar and the suites by Grieg and Warlock. It strikes a persuasive balance between expressive weight and deftness of touch as well as between distinctive thematic ideas and her ongoing fascination with the reconfiguration of standard structural procedures.

New London Orchestra cond. Ronald Corp

1951 Concerto No 4 for Violin and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Joanna Kukewich - Violin
Polish Radio Symphony cond. Lukazs Borowicz
1952 Piano Quintet No 1 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Krystian Zimerman - Piano
+ String Quartet
1954 Concerto No 5 for Violin and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Joanna Kukewich - Violin
Polish Radio Symphony cond. Lukazs Borowicz
1958
Music for Strings, Trumpets and Percussion
4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
The ten years that passed between the Concerto for String Orchestra and the Music for Strings, Trumpets and Percussion were dark and troubled for all Polish composers. The years up to the mid-1950s were a time of severe creative restrictions under the Stalin-inspired policies of socialist realism. Bacewicz weathered these storms better than most, producing significant chamber pieces, such as the fourth and fifth string quartets, as well as some monumental symphonies of more transient value.

New London Orchestra cond. Ronald Corp

1965 Concerto No 7 for Violin and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Joanna Kukewich - Violin
Polish Radio Symphony cond. Lukazs Borowicz
1965 Piano Quintet No 2 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Comments:
Krystian Zimerman - Piano
+ String Quartet