Gramophone Classical Music Award Goes to the Silesian String Quartet
The album Grażyna Bacewicz: Complete String Quartets recorded by the Silesian String Quartet wins the Gramophone Classical Music Award in the Chamber Music category.
The Silesian String Quartet’s newest album Grażyna Bacewicz: Complete String Quartets has won the Gramophone Classical Music Award 2017 in the Chamber Music category. The Silesian String Quartet’s album was in the Chamber Music category alongside albums by the Danish Quartet, the Diotima Quartet, The Nash Ensemble, the Doric Quartet and the Ehnes Quartet.
The award ceremony will take place on 13th September 2017 in London, during which the Recording of the Year will be selected from among the twelve winning albums from each category.
The Grażyna Bacewicz: Complete String Quartets was released last year by the British recording company Chandos with the support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and its Polska Music programme. Thanks to this co-operation, many albums with some of the best Polish symphonic and chamber music by the like of Witold Lutosławski, Karol Szymanowski, Mieczysław Karłowicz and Andrzej Panufnik, are recorded and released regularly.
The Bacewicz: Complete String Quartets album, which came out last year, was met with critical acclaim. BBC Magazine gave it five stars, while Grażyna Bacewicz’s works were the third most often played classical pieces on British radio stations. Arkadiusz Kubica, a quarter of the Silesian String Quartet, said:
I had the opportunity to meet Wanda Bacewicz, the composer’s sister, and I ad promised her that I would record all of the quartets. Now I am fulfilling my promise and it makes me so happy.
Richard Bratby from The Gramophone Magazine writes:
Chandos presents the quartets in chronological order, and there’s no better path into Bacewicz’s sound world. Take that path, and it’s difficult not to be convinced that these works constitute an achievement worthy to stand alongside the quartet cycles of Tippett, Britten, Shostakovich and Bartók.
While Katie Lodge from the North East Music Magazine writes:
The Silesian Quartet present [the quartets] with an open sound, not overly dramatic, and very well timed and placed in terms of the changes of tempi; there really is nothing to criticise! It is a real pleasure to find a quartet performing works in such a way so as to bring them to new audiences, rather than yearning for ‘that’ standout interpretation of a classic.
The life of Bacewicz, like that of her better-known colleagues, such as Witold Lutosławski and Andrzej Panufnik, was conditioned by the political and military events of her time. Her works reflected not only these traumas but also the shifting stylistic currents of 20th-century music.
Her seven string quartets, written between 1938 and 1965, are a telling barometer of these changes. They also stand as a timeline of her resolute compositional outlook and as a testament to her profound understanding of string instruments.
String Quartet No. 1 comes after her studies in Paris in 1932-35 with Nadia Boulanger (composition), André Touret and Carl Flesch (both violin). No. 2 was written in Warsaw during World War II, Nos 3, 4, and 5 date from the post-war decade, a time of socialist-realist cultural upheavals, while Nos 6 and 7 were composed during the avant-garde musical explosion that thrust Polish music onto the world stage in the late 1950s.
Silesian String Quartet
These musicians came together in 1978 as students of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. The quartet's members perfected their skills during master classes lead by the members of quartets such as LaSalle, Amadeus, Juilliard, Smetana, Berg.
The repertoire of the Silesian Quartet encompasses over three hundred chamber music works of which approximately two hundred are from the 20th and 21st centuries. The ensemble has offered approximately forty world premiere performances of string quartets by Polish and foreign composers, of which a selection was written especially for the ensemble.
During a career that has spanned over twenty five years, Silesian Quartet has appeared at such music festivals as the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Berliner Musiktage, the Time of Music Viitasaari, the Inventionen Berlin, the Lerchenborg-Musicdage, the Musicorama-Hong Kong, the Festival de Saint-Denis in Paris, the Melos-Etos Festival of Contemporary Music in Bratislava, the Wien Modern, the Romaeuropa Festival in Rome, the Festival Musique et Amitie in Bienne, (Switzerland), the Borholms Musik-Festival, the Musik Host in Odense, the Musik-Biennale Berlin and others.
Chandos Records is one of the world's premier classical music record companies, which is known for its recordings of forgotten gems of classical and chamber music. The company has championed rare and neglected repertoire, filling in many gaps in the record catalogues. One of its most well-known initiatives is its recording series – they have released albums with pieces by Parry and Walton, among others; Chados’ current series are dedicated to Grainger, Berkeley and Bridge’s work. Chandos is universally acclaimed for the excellence of its sound quality and has always been at the forefront of technical innovation and has won numerous awards for its unique recordings.
Source: The Adam Mickiewicz Institute