Bacewicz: Symphony for String Orchestra; Concerto for String Orchestra; Piano Quintet No 1

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Grazyna Bacewicz was unquestionably a talented composer, one whose work is well worth getting to know. Stylistically these pieces from the 1940s and early ’50s might remind you a bit of Bartók and Stravinsky. Motoric allegros (sound clip) alternate with moody, passionate slow movements. The level of dissonance is relatively high, but not offensive, while here and there (in the scherzo of the Symphony and a couple of other places) a mild folk-influence becomes apparent. Throughout, a consistently elevated standard of craftsmanship is very evident, and these performances under Mariusz Smolij are both confident and devoted.

That said, I have one reservation. Bacewicz’s thematic invention strikes me as a bit anonymous. In general you don’t particularly notice because the writing has such conviction and, most of the time, momentum; but in spots such as the Theme and Variations finale of the Symphony for Strings, you might wish for a stronger melodic or gestural profile–if only because the variations are so interesting. This concern vanishes in the Piano Quintet No. 1 of 1952, here intelligently arranged for keyboard and string orchestra by conductor Smolij. This is a major work, larger in scope than either the Concerto or the Symphony, and consistently inspired. It sounds terrific in this version. In sum, fine playing, fine sound, fine music. Recommended.

– ClassicsToday (David Hurwitz)

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8573229

  • UPC: 747313322978

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Grazyna Bacewicz

  • Conductor: Mariusz Smolij

  • Performer: Ewa Kupiec


  1. Concerto for Orchestra

    Composer: Grazyna Bacewicz

    Conductor: Mariusz Smolij

  2. Symphonia for String Orchestra

    Composer: Grazyna Bacewicz

    Conductor: Mariusz Smolij

  3. Quintet for Piano and Strings no 1

    Composer: Grazyna Bacewicz

    Performer: Ewa Kupiec (Piano)

    Conductor: Mariusz Smolij