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BBC Music Magazine, April 2016

Grazyna Bacewicz is the great unsung heroine of post-war Polish music, a brilliant, individual composer who kept the art of the string quartet vividly alive during the bleakest years of Communist rule. The brilliant young Lutosławskis are captivating in the dancing wistfulness of her first, folk-inflected quartet, the questing, inventive grace of the 1960s works and the irresistible vivacity of No. 3. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, January 2016

…the music is pleasant and occasionally even joyful, classically sculpted, and typical of the neoclassicism of the period. Tonal and rhythmically conservative, but often expressive, this is the confident work of a talented young-ish composer at the top of her game. …the music has a tendency to meander, like much music of the style (its baroque forebears tended to be saved by catchy subjects and voluminous repetition); but this (then) “modern” unfolding is more “natural”, and admirers of the neoclassic style will be delighted. I was. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Josh Allison
BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

Superbly recorded, the Lutosławskis project with presence and warmth… © 2015 BBC Music Magazine

David Kettle
The Strad, September 2015

The seven string quartets of Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz have been called the 20th century’s most significant contributions to the genre after those of Bartók. It’s a big claim—but on the strength of these hugely accomplished, vivid accounts from her compatriots the Lutosławski Quartet…it’s one that’s worth taking very seriously.

Rhythms are crisp and brisk but never hurried, phrases are shaped with eloquent directness, and ensemble is well-nigh faultless, even with Bacewicz’s frequent switchback changes of gear. These are highly persuasive accounts of arresting, unfairly neglected repertoire, captured in intimate, warm recorded sound. © 2015 The Strad Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2015

As a renowned violinist, Grażyna Bacewicz had a profound knowledge of the string sonorities, and this certainly helped her in her seven mostly energetic string quartets with a constant rhetoric expression. The Lutosławski Quartet’s committed performances are of superior quality. © 2015 Pizzicato

Ralph Graves
WTJU, September 2015

…these four players understand Bacewicz. So their performance of the conservative String Quartet No. 1 is just as convincing as their performance of the challenging String Quartet No. 7. © 2015 WTJU Read complete review

Stephen Barber
MusicWeb International, September 2015

The Lutosławski Quartet play with vigour and commitment. I am very glad to have made the acquaintance of Bacewicz and look forward to the second volume of these interesting pieces. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, August 2015

The sound is pristine and well defined. The performances are world-class. And the music is unparalleled. What else need I say? I am stimulated to hear much more of Bacewicz’s music as a result of this disk, and of course I await Volume 2 with keen anticipation. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Erica Jeal
The Guardian, August 2015

The Lutosławski Quartet give wholehearted, stylish performances. © 2015 The Guardian Read complete review

Stephen Smoliar, July 2015

…the performances on this new recording make a strong case that Bacewiz composed all four of these quartets with the “listener’s ear” in mind. The “mind behind that ear” is likely to be easily drawn in to each of these quartets and will probably come away from them with a firm sense of satisfaction. © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2015

The composer, Witold Lutosławski, once commented that, in the rapidly changing artistic currents, it was Grażyna Bacewicz who helped to create that atmosphere. Born in Poland in 1909, and an infant prodigy violinist, she was to be torn between the financial rewards received as a busy orchestral musician and her desire to compose, a longing born out of time spent in Paris as a student of Nadia Boulanger. The progress in that part of her career was well charted in her string quartets spread through almost thirty years of a life cut short when she was sixty. The First dates from her student days, and pointed to a harmonically adventurous inner-self, atonality rubbing shoulders with tonality in a direct reference to Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht that opens the second movement, while the third changes to a cheerful and busy folk-dance. Moving forward eight years we enter a more outgoing and virtuoso era for the Third Quartet, the fast interplay between instruments that shapes the outer movements reminding us of Hindemith’s quartets. In 1956 her presence at the First International Festival of Contemporary Music held in Warsaw initiated a final change in her style of composition, and two quartets—the Sixth and Seventh—following in 1960 and 1965. Often introverted in content, and now aligning herself with twelve-tone composers, she had become the dramatic experimentalist that had always been smouldering below the surface of her works. New sonorities fly around in fast movements, while slow ones have a sense of fear of the unknown, yet even in this final phase there was an immediate likability in her music that she passed to the following generation of Polish composers. A superbly played and recorded disc—the first in a complete cycle of her quartets from the celebrated Lutosławski Quartet—and it has my most enthusiastic recommendation. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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