Grażyna Bacewicz: Legend
Grażyna Bacewicz was Born in Łódź, Poland in 1909, Bacewicz was introduced to music at a young age by her father. She furthered her musical studies by enrolling at the Warsaw Conservatory, where she majored in piano, violin and composition. Afterwards she travelled to Paris, where she furthered her compositional studies with Nadia Boulanger. Bacewicz’s output was prolific for her time, with her composing four symphonies, seven violin concertos (plus concertos for cello, piano and viola), seven string quartets, chamber music, vocal music, piano music and two ballets. Her skills were utilised by a range of different ensembles and musicians.
Bacewicz’s style of composing is often referred to as neoclassical, although she was often vocal about how she did not want to be put in a ‘genre box.’ Bacewicz was able to explore serialism and other avant-garde techniques after the Polish political landscape began to change after 1956. Unlike her contemporaries, Bacewicz did not veer far from her pre-war style of composing after 1956. What is most surprising is that her works are only really being found and celebrated in the modern day in other countries.
First recorded in 2020, Legend is a miniature work for solo violin and piano accompaniment. Full of dramatic lyrical writing, Legend showcases Bacewicz at her strongest. From the dissonant opening chords to the soaring change of pace in the central section of the piece, Bacewicz tends to the needs of both instruments. The dulcet tones of the violin complement the scalic piano part, which supports the elongated solo lines. After a short reprise of the opening music, Legend concludes with a suspended note from the violin as the piano fades into the distance.
Ⓒ Alex Burns