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Hommage à Grażyna Bacewicz

Piano Quintets & Sonata

Grazyna Bacewicz Piano Sonata No. 2
Quintet for piano & strings Nos. 1 & 2

Krystian Zimerman
Kaja Danczowska
Agata Szymczewska
Ryszard Groblewski
Rafal Kwiatkowski

Deutsche Grammophon DG CD 477 8332 9 [2009, TT 64 mins]

Zimerman said; "Today, CD creators get involved in extreme perfectionism, killing spontaneity,
irreplaceable surge of emotions, the flash of joy that music naturally gives.
It doesn't make sense for the people to listen to".

The provocative notes with this disc suggest that Grażyna Bacewicz (1909–1969) is less famous world-wide than she deserves because of political circumstances. Her seven string quartets "are entirely capable of standing comparison with Bartok's six". Krystian Zimerman has long championed Bacewicz's music and her centenary provided this opportunity.

All the works are strongly crafted and impressive to hear. Most interesting, for us, was the second quintet (1965) following a period in which she "made a cautious attempt to adopt a new 'avant garde' approach". Bacewicz characterised her music as "- - a lot happens, it's aggressive and at the same time lyrical".

Definitely worth exploring, maybe in our conservatories? The chosen sonata (1953) has long held a place in Krystian Zimerman's repertoire and is always well received. The 2nd quintet is fresh and experimental, though I had doubts about her use of sweeping piano glissandi.

Very well prepared and recorded in the Karol Szymanowski Academy, Katowicz, this is a CD to explore (though at £14 from Amazon some may need to wait...)

Peter Grahame Woolf