Bacewicz; Enescu

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COMPOSERS: Bacewicz; Enescu
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Bacewicz; Enescu
WORKS: Sonata da Camera – Bacewicz; Violin Sonata No. 3 – Bacewicz; Partita – Bacewizc; Violin Sonata No.2 – Enescu;
PERFORMER: Lydia Mordkovitch (violin), Ian Fountain (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10476

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Pride of place on this stimulating disc goes to three little-known works by Grazyna Bacewicz (1906-69), whose persistent cultivation of chamber music, deplored by the post‑war Stalinist regime in Poland, took courage and character and resulted in some of her most impressive achievements. While the 1945 Sonata da camera turns 18th‑century stylisation to personal ends, the Third Violin Sonata (1948) is a mature and richly satisfying utterance blending French elements out of Ravel and Debussy with East European atmosphere in the traditions of Szymanowski and Enescu. Starker and more radical in its stance, the gritty 1955 Partita shows Bacewicz advancing into her own brand of Modernism on the eve of the musical revolution of the 1956 ‘Warsaw Autumn’. Herself a successful violinist, Bacewicz’s violin works are idiomatic and stunningly effective. Lydia Mordkovitch falls upon them with obvious enthusiasm and produces ringingly authoritative interpretations: the music favours her rich, dark timbres and her capacity for seamless, plangent legato. The underrated Second Sonata of Enescu, a greater violinist-composer, makes a perfectly-judged complement: if the roots of this comparatively early work (1899) are in Brahms, Franck and Fauré, the Romanian flavour is evident in Enescu’s rhapsodic treatment of his material, an aspect that suits Mordkovitch. Splendid performances of splendid music that deserves to be better known. Calum Macdonald