GRAŻYNA BACEWICZ (1909-1969): Complete String Quartets - Quartets Nos. 1-7.
Catalogue Number: 08S042
Reference: CHAN 10904(2)
Description: An accomplished violinist herself, Bacewicz had a thorough knowledge of the possibilities of stringed instruments, and expressed it through this fine and significant series of string quartets. The first quartet (1937) is an early work, unpublished and unacknowledged by the composer; it is full of youthful ardour and no small accomplishment in technique, though inevitably less individual than the later works. The wartime second (1943) and post-war third (1947) quartets share a momentum and drive which makes them both tough and simultaneously readily comprehensible. No. 4 (1951) brought her considerable acclaim after taking first prize in the International Composer's Competition in Belgium. Essentially classical and folk-influenced, this is a most accesible work. The fifth quartet (1955), by contrast, is a fully mature work, concentrated and tautly argued, with less of the folk-influence of the more obviously "popular"-sounding fourth. The sixth (1960) is the composer's most 'modern' sounding quartet, which she considered a turning-point in her compositional development. Although freely making intermittent use of dodecaphony, it is mainly through the exploration of sound and texture that this work breaks new ground in Bacewicz' output. Even late in her life, when she wrote the seventh quartet (1965), although well aware of the avant-garde processes afoot at the time (mid-1960s), her writing never moved far in this direction, becoming somewhat more free in terms of its sonic signature, but always controlled by a sense of argument and structure. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Silesian Quartet.