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Dip Your Ears, No. 119 (Grażina Bacewicz Concertos)

available at AmazonG.Bacewicz, Violin Concertos, Kurkowicz / Borowicz / Polish RSO
CHAN 10533 (63:47)

In time for Grażina Bacewicz’ 100 anniversary (read about the composer in my anniversary tribute), Chandos—already among the labels that have done Bacewicz proud with fine releases—added an important recording of three of Bacewicz’ seven violin concertos to the discography.

Joanna Kurkowicz, already responsible for the violin sonatas on Chandos, doesn’t just contribute with tautly-beautiful playing in Concertos № 1 (ebullient like an excited, neo-classical puppy), № 3 (weltering in lyricism + Bartok) and № 7 (sophisticated complexity), but also lucid liner notes; a respite from the self-indulgent treacle some colleagues are guilty of. The Polish-American soloist is supported by the (Wroclaw) Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra under their new Artistic Director Łukasz Borowicz, a former assistant to Iván Fischer and Antoni Wit.

The three concertos provide a nice cross section of Bacewicz’s work for her own instrument and their dates of composition—1937, 1948, and 1965—show off her various and continuously evolving styles. Together with Krystian Zimerman’s recording of the Piano Sonata № 2 and the Piano Quintets (forever delayed and finally released April 2011 on Deutsche Grammophon), this is the most important Bacewicz release on a major label.