Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Grazyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969)
Piano Quintet No.1 (1952) [26:03]
Piano Sonata No.2 (1953) [18:47]
Piano Quintet No.2 (1965) [20:03]
Krystian Zimerman (piano); Kaja Danczowska (violin); Agata Szymczewska (violin); Ryzsard Groblewski (viola); Rafal Kwiatkowski (cello)
rec. no information supplied. DDD
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8332 [65:09]

Experience Classicsonline

We owe Krystian Zimerman a debt of gratitude for putting the weight of his celebrity behind the work of the under-appreciated Grazyna Bacewicz, and getting this top quality album of her works into the DG catalogue. By all reports it has been a struggle. The recordings were made on the back of a tour of Poland to mark the composer's centenary in 2009. Zimerman also wanted to include a recording of Bacewicz herself performing one of her violin works - she was a virtuoso player. Negotiations with Polish Radio for the rights to the recording have been going on for the intervening two years, but have come to nothing.

Nevertheless, listeners are unlikely to come away from this recording feeling short-changed. Bacewicz was active in almost every genre, but considered her chamber works to contain her greatest music. Certainly, the piano quintets and sonata presented here are music of the highest quality. The two quintets are also indicative of the two stylistic periods of her career. She had studied in Paris in the 1930s, and the disciplined neo-classicism she encountered there put her in good stead with the Communist authorities in Poland. Then in the late 1950s, everything opened up in terms of the stylistic constraints on Polish composers. Bacewicz followed the lead of the younger generation in exploring tone colour and musical textures rather than traditional tonal argument in the construction of her music. The two quintets date from 1952 and 1965 respectively, so give a taste of both styles.

Calling Bacewicz's First Quintet neo-classical is to do it a disservice though. Certainly, the structuring is based on a classical sense of proportion and an underlying tonality can usually be perceived. In every other respect this music is very adventurous indeed. Much of it is quiet and slow, with the phase-structuring only implicitly defined. It also regularly builds up to dense climaxes. The composer's innate knowledge of the instruments' capabilities allows her to create dense-sounding textures without compromising the linear focus of each of the parts. It's well constructed music, but that craftsmanship never impedes its sheer expressive power.

The First Quintet suggests parallels with Prokofiev, parallels that become even clearer in the Second Piano Sonata. Again, there is plenty of discipline and fine crafting here, but the overriding impression is of music with a broad emotional sweep. Long phrases range across the keyboard. Seemingly simple melodies begin, but are then forced into sophistication by the complexity of the accompanying figures that accrue beneath. Bacewicz comes across here as a sort of Expressionist Chopin.

The Second Piano Quintet is more of a puzzle. It is clearly influenced by the sonoristic innovations of Lutoslawski and Penderecki, but the music remains essentially linear. Its structure retains at least vestiges of the classical forms of her earlier work. The harmonies are inscrutable, but never ugly. The reduced role of tonality means that the larger chords are not as iridescent as before, imparting a sense of introspection, which may or may not be deliberate.

One certainty though is that this music does not play itself; it requires committed interpretation. Krystian Zimerman and his colleagues give it everything and the results are magnificent. Zimerman gives a reading of the sonata that is as passionate as it is precise. He is a player who knows all about making the most of the moment, so when Bacewicz calls for a phrase to appear out of nowhere and take the audience by surprise, Zimerman gives the effect all the immediacy and physical power it needs. He doesn't hog the limelight in the quintets, which benefit from excellent balance between the instruments.

There’s excellent sound quality all round actually, and well presented packaging. The liner essay tells us something about the player's relationship with the music rather than just the standard composer bio.

Gavin Dixon














































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.