Born 1909 in Łódź, she died sixty years later in Warsaw, Grażyna Bacewicz’s music has become of current interest and will go beyond it. This excellent release, not least in terms of production values (Brian Pidgeon) and audiophile sound (Ralph Couzens) – Fairfield Halls, Croydon; February this year – contains two Symphonies, numbers Three and Four, both compelling, with each sporting four movements of concentrated, developing and contrasting invention. Symphony III is powerful, colourful, intense, spectral, and lively. The slow movement is of soulful expression, the next of vivacious dancing, witty and smiling, whereas the Finale is tragic and bleak, at least at first, until a determined and spiky Allegro gets going, the work ending with craggy resolve.
Fine as this is, Symphony IV burrows even further into the human condition, music that seems of white-hot inspiration, so many strong ideas to be structured, which Bacewicz does with spontaneity and vivid communication, shadows and tortured emotions in the Adagio notwithstanding, waived aside by the spirited Scherzo (trumpets given a workout) and an athletic Finale that builds to an ambiguous coda.
Also included is the earlier (1943) Overture, scurrying and lyrical, ending joyfully at speed.
It’s difficult to imagine performances as dedicated and as perceptive as these. This enthusiastically recommended collection is on Chandos CHSA 5316 [SACD] and released on November 17.