Of all the female 20th-century composers whose work is now being rediscovered and reassessed, the Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) may be the most accomplished and individual. Renowned as a concert violinist, she composed seven violin concertos (six are extant), and seven compelling string quartets. All these have been recorded by Chandos, and a recording of her Piano Concerto is available. Bacewicz was also proficient on the piano. Although her brother Vytautas Bacevičius (he retained the Lithuanian surname) was a concert pianist who wrote several piano concertos, Grażyna was the true composer in the family.

Peter Jablonski

Bacewicz’s piano music mixes Modernism (reminiscent of Prokofiev and Bartók) with Polish folk influences, probably the result of her studies with Karol Szymanowski. Her Ten Concert Etudes resemble Szymanowski’s pieces in that genre but are more brilliant. She is no mere imitator: her own voice, along with her famous energy and drive, are present. Etude No 2 ( Vivace) is as exciting as the finale of Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata, while No 7 ( Giocosa) strays wittily into Stravinskian territory. (Bacewicz studied in Paris with...