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Bacevicius: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4 (on Naxos)


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dhibbard
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« on: April 14, 2015, 10:09:42 pm »

Bacevicius: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4

Vytautas Bacevicius remained virtually unknown as a composer during his lifetime, in contrast to the fortunes of his sister Grazyna Bacewicz, who retained her Polish nationality. Rendered stateless by the outbreak of WWII while on tour as a concert pianist in Argentina, he eventually settled in New York until his death in 1970, giving acclaimed piano recitals, teaching, and writing astoundingly original orchestral scores. He never lost his deep allegiance to and nostalgia for Lithuania. This recording gives an eloquent introduction to his pianistic virtuosity and mystical, Scriabinesque orchestral vision.

 Gabrielius Alekna (Artist), Vytautas Bacevicius (Composer), Christopher Lyndon-Gee (Conductor), Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra)

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dhibbard
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2015, 10:45:11 pm »

Vytautas Bacevičius was born into a Lithuanian-Polish family in Łódź (Poland) on 9 September 1905 and grew up under the influence of both of cultures.[1]His father taught music to all four of his children (the best-known of whom would be the famous Polish composer and violinist Grażyna Bacewicz. Vytautas wrote his first composition at the age of nine and made his debut as a pianist and violinist in 1916, performing his own composition Echoes of War to gain his first recognition as composer. He graduated in piano and composition from the Helena Kijeńska Conservatoire in 1926 and bade farewell to Łódź.

The next stage of Bacevičius’ life was spent in Lithuania, in Kaunas, then the capital, [2]although he continued his studies from 1927–31 at the Russian Conservatoire in Paris, dividing his time between the two cities. In Paris he studied composition with NikolaiTcherepnin and piano with Santiago Riéra but returned to Kaunas to perform and present his own works, and subsequently taught at the music school and conservatoire there. During the Kaunas period (1926–39), which brought maturity to both his composing and his performing, he composed copiously, developing his own style. He was also acclaimed as a pianist in Paris, Berlin, Prague and Warsaw.

The third stage of his life began in 1939, when he left on a tour of South America, never to return to his homeland – though that was no part of his original plan. The onset of war, and the subsequent occupation of Lithuania (first by the Soviets, then by the Nazis, and then again by the USSR), prompted Bacevičius to move to the USA in September 1940. He was to spend the rest of his life there. He lived in New York and worked at various conservatoires but made his living principally from giving private lessons. He also gave many performances (including eight recitals at Carnegie Hall), and composed.

Bacevičius did not have an easy life. Complex and contradictory by nature, he was unable to adapt to his surroundings; impractical, too, he always lived on the edge of poverty (especially in the USA). In his compositions and his writings he spent his entire life fanatically defending new music and working for the realisation of his own ideas. Vytautas Bacevičius died in New York on 15 January 1970.

[1]It has occasionally been claimed that in the Bacevičius family the boys were brought up as Lithuanian and the girls as Polish, but that statement does not reflect the entire truth. All the children grew in Poland but often spent the summertime in Lithuania. Later their father settled in Kaunas (in 1923), and Vytautas arrived there in 1926; their mother stayed in Łódż with the other children. Vytautas’ brother Kęstutis often said that he considered himself both Polish and Lithuanian. In 1923–25 Kęstutis, too, lived and worked in Kaunas, and Grażyna used to come to perform there every year.

[2]Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania today, was occupied by Poland from 1920 to 1939; Kaunas was therefore referred to as the ‘provisional capital’.


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Dundonnell
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 03:14:37 am »

One can listen to short excerpts from Bacevicius's compositions at

http://www.mic.lt/en/classical/persons/works/bacevicius?ref=%2Fen%2Fclassical%2Fpersons%2F41

I have to say that the excerpts I have listened to do not appeal to me. Bacevicius-we are told-regarded Schoenberg as "out-dated" and regarded himself as a "successor to Scriabin, Jolivet and Varese".

Well....what I have heard sounds nothing like Scriabin. I regret that I find his music unattractive and I shall not be hurrying to buy the new Naxos disc.

Others may have a completely different reaction and, if so, excellent Smiley
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Gauk
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 08:23:01 am »

I have to say I was rather disappointed by the works on the Toccata release ( Poème Électrique, Piano Concerto No. 1 "Sur les thèmes lituaniens",
Symphony No. 2 "Della Guerra", Symphony No. 6 "Cosmique", Graphique), and having listened to the third piano concerto on the Naxos release, I am still not getting the feeling that Bacevicius is a really interesting composer.
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