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Grazyna Bacewicz: Symphony No.3 - Concerto for Strings (1994)

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Grazyna Bacewicz: Symphony No.3 - Concerto for Strings (1994)

Concerto for String Orquestra (1948)

1-I-Allegro
2-II-Andante
3-III-Vivo

Symphony No.3 (1952)

4-I-Drammatico
5-II-Andante
6-III-Vivace
7-IV-Finale Moderato

Cracow Philarmonic Orchestra
Roland Bader (Conductor)

 

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 I to 3 are followed by tracks I 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. ---AW, gramophone.net

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