Quintet for piano & strings No. 1
Quintet for piano & strings No. 2
Quartet for 4 violins
Quartet for cellos
The Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz wrote a good deal of chamber music; attractively shaped for the instruments (Bacewicz was a violinist herself), it has grown in popularity. The two piano quintets and two unorthodox quartets heard here -- one for four violins, one for four cellos -- have not been so widely heard, but they're well worth your time, as are the performances here by the Silesian Quartet "and friends" are ideal. Chandos' engineering work at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music concert hall in Katowice catches all the considerable detail from the players. What you have here is really a pair of recordings that are both the same and different: The two piano quintets were recorded in 2010, and the two string quartets in 2017 (at the same location). Each half of the program consists of a work from the post-World War II period, when Bacewicz was fusing a Bartókian folkloric style with a degree of experimentation, and one from the 1960s, when Khrushchev's liberalization reached Poland and Bacewicz became familiar with the music of Western experimenters. Perhaps the highlight is the "Quartet for four cellos" of 1963, where the cellos create dissonant, wall-like clusters of sound, but all four works are idiomatic pieces that deserve a permanent place in the chamber repertory. With this release, maybe that's just what they'll get.