Julia Kociuban energizes Tansman and Bacewicz concertos

Julia Kociuban delivers spectacular performances of two 20th Century piano concertos. Alexander Tansman’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Grazyna Bacewicz’s Piano Concerto are, in my opinion, greatly under-appreciated. I came to that conclusion after hearing this recording.

Alexander Tansman wrote his Piano Concerto No. 1 while living in Paris. Its neo-classical styling strongly reminded me of another composer who was there around the same time — Bohuslav Martinu. The concerto has some distinctive syncopations and modal harmonies that I really enjoyed.

I was most familiar with Grazyna Bacewicz through her string quartets, which are aggressively avant-garde. So her 1948 Piano Concerto took me by surprise.

It’s an energic, modernist work. But it still has a clearly defined tonal center and (relatively) smooth, flowing melodies.

Kociuban is well-known for her performances of Bacewicz’ Piano Sonata No. 2. That deep understanding of this work informs her interpretation here. Kociuban is very much in control. Her enthusiastic playing adds to the excitement of the music.

Before this recording, the piano concerto had lapsed into obscurity. This performance should bring it back into the repertoire. Artists and orchestras looking to increase the presence of women composers should start here.

 Alexander Tansman, Grazyna Bacewicz: Piano Concertos
Julia Kociuban, piano
Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra; Pawel Przytocki, conductor
DUX 1612

More Recent Posts

  • New Blues News – 1/19/2021

    New Blues Releases – 1/19/2021 Danny Brooks & Lil Miss Debi – Are You Ready? The Mississippi Sessions (Hill House): “Texanadians Danny Brooks and Lil Miss Debi (formerly of Toronto Canada) met Tom Easley of AVA Entertainment in 2019 and discussed making a record, making a real recording, blending old school with new tricks and […]

  • New Jazz Adds – 1/19/2021

    New Jazz Adds – 1/19/2021 Michael & Peter Formanek – Dyads (Out Of Your Head): “Michael and Peter Formanek started making music and improvising together before Peter started school. Regular visits to their home from friends and colleagues like Tim Berne, Jim Black, Marty Ehrlich and many others only served to normalize this as being […]

  • Arnold Rosner Requiem — Timeless

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

    Toccata Classics has done a real service to music with this recording. It’s one of Arnold Rosner’s most substantial works. And, unfortunately, one most likely to only be heard through recording rather than live performances. The Requiem is a massive work. It contemplates death through a variety of traditions: Zen Buddhism, the Jewish Kaddish, the […]

  • Classical Interviews – Caroline Schetlick

    Caroline Schetlick, a recent UVA graduate focused on orchestral and choral conducting, spoke with WTJU about getting interested in conducting, putting together her DMP, and Holst’s ‘The Planets’. These interviews air as part of WTJU’s Classical Sunrise, weekday mornings from 7-9am. Getting into Conducting Distinguished Majors Program The Uniqueness of Conducting UVA Professors Impact on […]

  • Classical Interviews – Arthur Zanin

    Charlottesville Symphony’s Principal Trumpet, Arthur Zanin, spoke with WTJU about discovering their orchestral passion, the versatility of the trumpet, and the significance of music in education. For more on Arthur Zanin, visit:arthurzanin.com For more on the Charlottesville Symphony, visit: cvillesymphony.org How I found the Orchestra The Different Sounds of the Trumpet Practicing for Trumpet The […]