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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Grażyna Bacewicz - Symphony No. 3; Concerto for strings (Roland Bader)


Composer: Grażyna Bacewicz
  1. Concerto for String Orchestra: I. Allegro
  2. Concerto for String Orchestra: II. Andante
  3. Concerto for String Orchestra: III. Vivo
  4. Symphony No. 3: I. Drammatico
  5. Symphony No. 3: II. Andante
  6. Symphony No. 3: III. Vivace
  7. Symphony No. 3: IV. Finale: Moderato

Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra
Roland Bader, conductor
Date: 1994
Label: Koch Schwann



The more music by Grazyna Bacewicz I hear on disc, the more convinced I become that it is her later works which the record companies should be exploring. This present issue, with its short playing time and incorrect labelling (on both jewel-box and insert-notes tracks 1 to 3 are followed by tracks 1 to 4), is rather a washout.

In different company, as it was on an Olympia CD played by the Polish Chamber Orchestra (12/93), Bacewicz's Concerto for String Orchestra (1948) made a positive impression. Here it seems stodgy, a slight piece that takes itself too seriously and the kind of earnest neo-classical exercise that can still give pupils of Nadia Boulanger a bad name. The Symphony No. 3 (1952) is the same kind of thing writ much larger. Just once, at the start of the finale, there's a hint of Stravinskian gravitas, recalling the later stages of the Symphonies of Wind Instruments, which lifts the music on to a higher plane. But that merely reinforces the galumphing portentousness of the rest, and Bacewicz botches its recall near the end. The lesson is that insistent rhythm alone cannot ensure a persuasive sense of symphonic progress, and the work's would-be lofty tone is not earned by the quality of its ideas. Nor are playing and recording more than serviceable: a disappointment.

-- Arnold Whittall, Gramophone


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.


Roland Bader (born 24 August 1938  in Wangen im Allgäu) is a German choral conductor and music director. He studied first church music in Rottenburg am Neckar, then at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart with Johann Nepomuk David, and took private conducting lessons with Hans Hörner. Bader's artistic profile rose to new prominence in the 1980s when he served as chief guest conductor with the Krakow Philharmonic and choral director at Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg from 1983. Bader made numerous recordings throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including mainstream and the lesser-known, rarely performed works.


FLAC, tracks
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