Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Grażyna Bacewicz - Music for String Orchestra (Ronald Corp)


Composer: Grażyna Bacewicz
  • (01-03) Concerto for String Orchestra
  • (04-06) Sinfonietta for String Orchestra
  • (07-10) Symphony for String Orchestra
  • (11-13) Music for Strings, Trumpets and Percussion

New London Orchestra
Ronald Corp, conductor
Date: 2009
Label: Hyperion



Impressive orchestral works continue the Bacewicz centenary celebrations

Here is another centenary-celebrating Bacewicz disc, to set beside the recent release of her violin concertos (Chandos, A/09): it is a thoroughly rewarding survey of a composer who deserves to be much better known.

The Sinfonietta (1935) reveals a lively, characterful style that not only evokes the Paris-based Martinù but suggests affinities with Bacewicz's fellow Boulanger-pupil Lennox Berkeley and even with the warmly expressive counterpoints of Tippett's Concerto for Double String Orchestra, written four years later. Grim wartime experiences might account for the fact that the Symphony (1946) is weightier, more earnest and possibly too busy and dense at times, although Bacewicz's ability to introduce strong contrasts without disrupting deeper continuity remains impressive.

Two years further on, and the Concerto for String Orchestra manages a striking balance between energetic propulsion and a more elegiac, eloquent spirit, with concise forms incorporating striking interactions between solo and tutti lines. Another 10 years, and Bacewicz was in the thick of a cultural upheaval that saw music in Poland facing new challenges and new opportunities. Music for Strings, Trumpets and Percussion is far more than an anarchic gesture of dissent, digging deep into a heritage that seems rooted in The Rite of Spring and other more recent radical forays yet never lapsing into mere imitation. This is music of lament and even of protest, but it has a positive spirit concerned to communicate no less urgently and distinctively than the composer's more "orthodox" earlier pieces.

Ronald Corp and his New London Orchestra are generally persuasive in what is often quite tricky instrumental writing: the recording is fine.

-- Arnold Whittall, Gramophone

More reviews:


Grażyna Bacewicz (5 February 1909 – 17 January 1969) was a Polish composer and violinist. She is only the second Polish female composer to have achieved national and international recognition, the first being Maria Szymanowska in the early 19th century. Bacewicz studied with teachers such as Nadia Boulanger and Carl Flesch, among others. After completing her studies, Bacewicz took part in numerous events as a soloist, composer, and jury member. Many of her compositions feature the violin. Among them are seven violin concertos, five sonatas for violin with piano, three for violin solo and four numbered symphonies.


Ronald Corp (born 4 January 1951 in Wells, Somerset) is a composer, conductor and Church of England priest. He is founder and Artistic Director of the New London Orchestra (NLO) and the New London Children's Choir. Corp is Musical Director of the London Chorus, a position he took up in 1994, and is also Musical Director of the Highgate Choral Society. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to music.


FLAC, tracks
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