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two hundred and fifty years
of music by women
Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969)

Grazyna Bacewicz The independent creative spirit of Bacewicz made her into something of a polymath. She wrote fiction as well as music, pursued a career in her native Poland and abroad as a violinist and orchestral leader, and had the skills and breadth of outlook to teach, although she rarely did until late in her life. Composition was her central activity, but she was free enough in her approach to escape the pressures of Stalinist conformism that made some of her contemporaries either succumb, or flee to a more welcoming environment. Widely performed and well liked, she belongs among those women composers who achieved fulfilment and public success in their lifetime, yet disappeared from the publishers' and performers' rounds with mysterious speed as soon as they are no longer here to impress themselves on the world. In her case the musical voice speaks in the neo-classical language of its time, makes use of folk motives, and has a distinctive vibrancy and wholeheartedness. She wrote prolifically for orchestra - four numbered symphonies and numerous concertos, including seven for violin.

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Concerto for String Orchestra, 1948
1. Allegro. 2. Andante. 3. Vivo. 15 mins
Quick-changing colours, vigourous syncopations and offbeat accents are all part of this concise work's presence. In the opening movement she finds an ingenious way to recycle the introduction as it proceeds, and the lavish thirteen-part string textures of the Andante generate muscular activity rather than mistiness. The concerto's D minorish tinge is finally swept away by a sustained bout of abraisive energy. After our 1996 performance The London Independent commented on the works' "resourceful textures. Bacewicz was a real expert in writing for strings."
Score & parts on hire from Alfred A Kalmus, 38 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6BE, UK (01892 833 422)

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Piano Quintet No 1, 1952
1. Moderato molto espressivo. 2. Presto. 3. Con passione. 2 vns, va, vc, pno. 22 mins
The Quintet is composed in a classically clear and concise form. The first movement begins with a meditative introduction and is based on the sonata allegro pattern. It has a fresh harmonic texture, with relatively simple resources being combined to produce a highly suggestive musical language. The second movement has a scherzo atmosphere, and the composer uses the rhythm of her favourite folk dance, the oberek. The finale is restless and dramatic at the beginning, but returns at the end to the meditative mood of the introduction.
Published by Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, al. Krasinskiego 11a, 31-111 Krakow, Poland

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Quintet for Wind Instruments, 1932 (fl, ob, cl, hn, bn)
1 Allegro, G. 2. Air: Andante, C. 3. Allegretto, G. 4. Vivo, C. 15 mins
A fresh, open piece, with attractive writing for each of the instruments. She was 23 when she wrote this, and the work already shows her music's salient characteristics of clarity, wit and brevity, and the incorporation of folk elements.
Published by Polski Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, al. Krasinskiego 11a, 31-111 Krakow, Poland

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Taniec Mazowiecki, Taniec Polski, Taniec Slowianski for Violin & Piano, 1952
1. Andante, G. 2. Zywo, C. 3. Andante - Vivace, E
Three spirited central European dances, written with a wonderful feeling for the local folk style on the violin.

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