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Bacewicz & Karlowicz

Bacewicz: Violin Concerto No. 3 'Highland'
Karlowicz: Eternal Songs, Op. 10

The Orchestra of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic in Bialystok, Marcin Nalecz-Niesiolowski/Krzysztof Jakowicz (violin)

DUX 0685 [recorded December 2008]

This disc from Poland combines neatly music by violinist/composer Grazyna Bacewicz (b 1909) with a work by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876-1909), who died prematurely that same year in an avalanche.

The latter's tone poem is worth hearing once, but is not viable for performance in UK. It is redolent of "depressive apathy", but, says the comentator, this depressive streak in a young man "bursting with energy and passions" might have been "a sort of artistic creation". Eva Podles has been championing Karlowicz's songs, sadly to no great effect, at London's Wigmore Hall.

But the Bacewicz Concerto, composed in her first maturity c. 40, is something quite other. A splendid concerto, with folk elements well assimilated into a strong stucture. The notes are extensive and include the composer's own self-critical description of the work, "Part III a little too richly instrumented - needs to be dimmed artificially".

This one is viable, and would be a good concerto for a keen conservatoire advanced student to take up, with plenty to stretch the orchestra... I shall give my copy to Trinity College of Music's library

The performance is given a loving, well balanced performance, and the production is commendably thorough. Prospective purchasers may be better advised to explore Chandos, which has a recommendable disc (which I have not heard) with three of Bacewicz's seven concertos for her own instrument.

Peter Grahame Woolf