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Grazyna Bacewicz

February 5, 1909 - January 17, 1969
born in Lódz, Poland, composed during the Modern period
Initially regarded as an outstanding violinist who prolifically composed on the side, Grazyna Bacewicz gave up performing in middle age and came to be considered as one of the most gifted of women composers, and most prominent of Polish composers, in the mid-twentieth century. Bacewicz was an exceptionally talented musician by any standard; as a child, she studied violin, piano, and theory at a small conservatory in her native Lódz. Later she transferred to the Warsaw Conservatory, where in 1932 Bacewicz received diplomas in violin and composition. She moved to Paris for a year of private study of violin with André Touret and in composition with Nadia Boulanger. Not surprisingly for a Boulanger student, Bacewicz developed a keen appreciation for classical forms and techniques, adopting a neo-Classical style that served her until the end of the Second World War. As a violinist, Bacewicz took first place in the 1935 Wieniawski Competition in Warsaw, and during this period, Bacewicz's compositions were winning prizes in Paris and Warsaw, as well.

Unlike violinist/composers who preferred hiding their own works under false names to prevent loading up the program with their own productions, Bacewicz took advantage of her status as a touring artist to perform her own music, even presenting the premiere of her Piano Sonata No. 2.

Bacewicz's earliest works were for violin or for piano, but starting with a 1933 wind quintet, her catalog quickly grew more diverse. At first, she was primarily interested in classical forms: sonatas, quartets, partitas, and so on. By the end of World War II, though, she had become more fascinated by counterpoint, as can be heard in her four surviving symphonies and in her seven violin concertos, in addition to her two piano sonatas. Bacewicz's music from the early '50s was receiving considerable attention and praise, most notably her fourth and fifth string quartets, her third symphony, and her fourth violin concerto. She essentially put away her violin around 1955 to devote more time to composing. By 1961, with the chamber orchestra work Pensieri notturni, she was attempting to come to terms with serial organization, a struggle Bacewicz eventually abandoned. With her viola concerto, Bacewicz's last major work, she began to return to the earlier idiom that had made her name in the 1950s.

In 1964, Bacewicz said in an interview "Contemporary composers, and at least a considerable number of them, explain what system they used, in what way they arrived at something. I do not do that. I think that the matter of the way by which one arrived at something is, for the listeners, unimportant. What matters is the final result, which is the work itself." ~ James Reel & Uncle Dave Lewis , Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Bacewicz: Complete String Quartets

Disc 1
Title: String Quartet No. 1

1. String Quartet No. 1: I. Moderato - Più Mosso

2. String Quartet No. 1: II. Tema Con Variazioni

3. String Quartet No. 1: III. Vivo

Title: String Quartet No. 2

4. String Quartet No. 2: I. Allegro Ma Non Troppo

5. String Quartet No. 2: II. Andante

6. String Quartet No. 2: III. Allegro

Title: String Quartet No. 3

7. String Quartet No. 3: I. Allegro Ma Non Troppo

8. String Quartet No. 3: II. Andante

9. String Quartet No. 3: III. Vivo

Title: String Quartet No. 4

10. String Quartet No. 4: I. Andante - Allegro

11. String Quartet No. 4: II. Andante

12. String Quartet No. 4: III. Allegro Giocoso

Disc 2
Title: String Quartet No. 5

13. String Quartet No. 5: I. Moderato

Title: String Quartet No. 6

18. String Quartet No. 6: II. Vivace

19. String Quartet No. 6: III. Grave

Title: String Quartet No. 7

21. String Quartet No. 7: I. Allegro

22. String Quartet No. 7: II. Grave

23. String Quartet No. 7: III. Con Vivezza

x

Track List: Grazyna Bacewicz: Concerto For Strings, Symphony For Strings & Piano Quintet No. 1

Title: Concerto for orchestra

1. Concerto for orchestra: Allegro

2. Concerto for orchestra: Andante

3. Concerto for orchestra: Vivo

Title: Symphony for string orchestra

4. Symphony for string orchestra: Allegro ma non troppo

5. Symphony for string orchestra: Adagio

6. Symphony for string orchestra: Allegretto

7. Symphony for string orchestra: Theme with Variations

Title: Quintet for piano & strings No. 1

8. Quintet for piano & strings No. 1: Moderato molto espressivo

9. Quintet for piano & strings No. 1: Presto

10. Quintet for piano & strings No. 1: Grave

11. Quintet for piano & strings No. 1: Con passione

x

Track List: Grazyna Bacewicz: Polish Capriccio; Works For Violin And Piano

Title: Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano

1. Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano: I. Moderato

2. Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano: II. Andante Ma Non Troppo

3. Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano: III. Scherzo. Molto Vivace

4. Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano: IV. Finale. Con Passione

Title: Sonata No. 5 For Violin & Piano

5. Sonata No. 5 For Violin & Piano: I. Moderator

6. Sonata No. 5 For Violin & Piano: II. Nokturn. Andante Dolcissimo

7. Sonata No. 5 For Violin & Piano: III. Finale. Allegro Inquietamente

Title: Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 1

8. Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 1: Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 1

Title: Sonata For Solo Violin No. 2

9. Sonata For Solo Violin No. 2: Adagio - Allegro

10. Sonata For Solo Violin No. 2: Adagio

11. Sonata For Solo Violin No. 2: Presto

Title: Partita For Violin & Piano

12. Partita For Violin & Piano: I. Preludium. Grave

13. Partita For Violin & Piano: II. Toccata. Vivace

14. Partita For Violin & Piano: III. Intermezzo

15. Partita For Violin & Piano: IV. Rondo. Presto

Title: Capriccio For Violin & Piano

16. Capriccio For Violin & Piano: Capriccio For Violin & Piano

Title: Polish Capriccio For Solo Violin

17. Polish Capriccio For Solo Violin: Polish Capriccio For Solo Violin

x

Track List: Grazyna Bacewicz: Sonatas for Violin & Piano

Disc 1
Title: Partita For Violin & Piano

1. Partita For Violin & Piano: I. Preludium. Grave

2. Partita For Violin & Piano: II. Toccata. Vivace

3. Partita For Violin & Piano: III. Intermezzo

4. Partita For Violin & Piano: IV. Rondo. Presto

Title: Sonata No. 5 For Violin & Piano

5. Sonata No. 5 For Violin & Piano: I. Moderator

6. Sonata No. 5 For Violin & Piano: II. Nokturn. Andante Dolcissimo

7. Sonata No. 5 For Violin & Piano: III. Finale. Allegro Inquietamente

Title: Humoreske, For Violin & Piano

8. Humoreske, For Violin & Piano: Humoreske, For Violin & Piano

Title: Kolysanka (Lullaby), For Violin & Piano

9. Kolysanka (Lullaby), For Violin & Piano: Kolysanka (Lullaby), For Violin & Piano

Title: Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano

10. Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano: I. Moderato

11. Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano: II. Andante Ma Non Troppo

12. Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano: III. Scherzo. Molto Vivace

13. Sonata No. 4 For Violin & Piano: IV. Finale. Con Passione

Title: Witraz (Stained-Glass Window), For Violin & Piano

14. Witraz (Stained-Glass Window), For Violin & Piano: Witraz (Stained-glass Window), For Violin & Piano

Title: Sonata Da Camera For Violin & Piano (Sonata No. 1)

15. Sonata Da Camera For Violin & Piano (Sonata No. 1): I. Largo

16. Sonata Da Camera For Violin & Piano (Sonata No. 1): II. Allegro

17. Sonata Da Camera For Violin & Piano (Sonata No. 1): III. Tempo Di Minuetto

18. Sonata Da Camera For Violin & Piano (Sonata No. 1): VI. Andante Sostenuto

19. Sonata Da Camera For Violin & Piano (Sonata No. 1): V. Gigue. Molto Allegro

Title: Melodia For Violin & Piano

20. Melodia For Violin & Piano: Melodia For Violin & Piano

Disc 2
Title: Violin Sonata No. 3

1. Violin Sonata No. 3: I. Allegro Moderato

2. Violin Sonata No. 3: II. Adagio

3. Violin Sonata No. 3: III. Scherzo. Vivo

4. Violin Sonata No. 3: IV. Finale. Andante

Title: Sonata No. 2 For Violin & Piano

5. Sonata No. 2 For Violin & Piano: I. Allegro

6. Sonata No. 2 For Violin & Piano: II. Andante

7. Sonata No. 2 For Violin & Piano: III. Scherzo. Vivace

8. Sonata No. 2 For Violin & Piano: IV. Finale. Allegro Molto

Title: Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 1

9. Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 1: Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 1

Title: Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 2

10. Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 2: Oberek For Violin & Piano No. 2

Title: Concertino For Violin & Piano In G Major

11. Concertino For Violin & Piano In G Major: I. Allegro Moderato

12. Concertino For Violin & Piano In G Major: II. Romance. Andante

13. Concertino For Violin & Piano In G Major: III. Finale. Vivace

Title: Capriccio For Violin & Piano

14. Capriccio For Violin & Piano: Capriccio For Violin & Piano

Title: Theme And Variations For Violin & Piano

15. Theme And Variations For Violin & Piano: Theme And Variations For Violin & Piano

Title: Taniec Mazowiecki (Moravian Dance), For Violin & Piano

16. Taniec Mazowiecki (Moravian Dance), For Violin & Piano: Taniec Mazowiecki (Moravian Dance), For Violin & Piano

Title: Sywo (Polish Dance), Violin & Piano

17. Sywo (Polish Dance), Violin & Piano: Sywo (Polish Dance), Violin & Piano

Title: Slavonic Dance, For Violin & Piano

18. Slavonic Dance, For Violin & Piano: Slavonic Dance, For Violin & Piano

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