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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Finally, Music Suitable For A Blind Buy

By Norman Lebrecht on April 20, 2018

Grazyna Bacewicz: Quintets, quartets (Chandos)

★★★★ (out of five)

How many times have I told you not to buy a record for its cover? Well, this one justifies the purchase. The image shows the central square of a small town in Poland in the 1960s, a place where nothing ever happens yet everything is closely watched. The image has been colourised for added artificiality. It is stifling, cloying, vividly reminiscent of the oppressive dullness of Communism.

The music is made to match. Bacewicz, who lived from 1909 to 1969, was a busy violinist who kept her head down and played well within the rules. Wat is going through her mind can only be guessed but some sonorities in the second piano quintet of 1965 are restlessly modern, reminiscent of Lutoslawski and, beyond, of forbidden Schoenberg.

The first quintet, dated 1952, hints at a repressed spirituality of a kind that would, year later, be associated with Henryk Mikolai Gorecki. And throughout Bacewicz maintains her own personality, with little outbursts of percussive piano rage and buzzy bees’ noises that suggest she is not entirely comfortable with her sheltered existence in the Polish workers’ paradise.

Her music is finally being sponsored on record by the national heritage authorities, but we need to experience its confrontational qualities live. The Silesian Quartet, with pianist Wojtech Switala, are good enough to grace the international stage.

Grazyna Bacewicz: Quintets, quartets (Chandos) is available at amazon.ca.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | The Elora Festival And Singers Scramble As CRA Revokes Charitable Status

By Anya Wassenberg on April 28, 2018

Amongst the turmoil this week involving the disgraced departure of conductor Noel Edison, Ludwig Van has learned that the Elora Festival and Singers have had their charitable status revoked by the CRA last January 2018.
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CRITIC'S PICKS | Nine Concerts You Should Absolutely See This Week (May 14 – 20)

By Joseph So on May 14, 2018

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 14 – 20.
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CRITIC'S PICKS | Eleven Concerts You Should Absolutely See This Week (May 7 – 13)

By Joseph So on May 7, 2018

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 7 – 13.
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