Pianist Joanna Sochacka is a woman on a mission. And that mission is for Grazyna Bacewicz’s compositions to receive the performances they deserve.
Bacewicz is already recognized as one of Poland’s musical geniuses. She was both a virtuoso violinist and pianist. Her compositions won numerous awards and critical acclaim. And yet, sixty years after her death, most of her catalog remains under-recorded.
Sochacka thoroughly researched Bacewicz’s solo piano music. Her program supports her assertion that this is music that needs to be heard.
Bacewicz’s Piano Sonata No. 2 is her most-recorded solo piano work. Bacewicz had extraordinary technique and often used the full range of the instrument with Liztian abandon.
This sonata is one long thrill ride, especially as performed by Sochacka. She has all the skills necessary to pull off this sonata, both technically and musically.
Bacewicz felt her first sonata, along with her Two Etudes for Piano weren’t worthy of publication. This despite the fact that both won the Fryderyk Chopin Composers’ Competition!
Sochacka performs both from the manuscript. The etudes are challenging works for the performer, but quite appealing to the ear. The first sonata isn’t quite as complex as the second, but it’s still a densely composed work. And one I’d like to see enter the repertoire.
Sochacka also includes Bacewicz’s earliest sonata from 1930. Written when she was 27, it’s a fascinating post-Romantic work. I heard passages that reminded me of Rachmaninov, albeit with more complex harmonies (really). The double fugue in the final movement is a real tour-de-force.
Why haven’t more pianists programmed these works? I’m hoping it’s just unfamiliarity. Because that’s something this recording can remedy. Highly recommended.
Grazyna Bacewicz: Piano Music
Joanna Sochacka, piano