A passionate performer and long time Chandos artist, Lydia Mordkovitch, here partnered by the pianist Ian Fountain, presents a rarely heard body of work by two Eastern European composers, the Polish Grazyna Bacewicz and the Romanian George Enescu. A recent recording of Bliss’s Violin Concerto led to such reviews for Lydia as ‘Mordkovitch responds with unflagging conviction and her customary no-holds-barred passion receives alert, warm-hearted support… an attractive and valuable coupling’ (Gramophone) and ‘Lydia Mordkovitch offers a fiery almost gypsy interpretation; very fetching, and not at all wrong. A rewarding release’ (The Times).
Bacewicz was the most prominent Polish female composer of the twentieth century and a renowned violinist who,by contemporary accounts, was surpassed only by Ginette Neveu and David Oistrakh. She left a legacy of over 200 compositions, many of which have never been heard in the West. The Partita was written after a long hospitalisation – the result of a serious automobile accident. Although Bacewicz’s body was immobilised, her musical mind must have been very active. She provided two versions of the work, one for orchestra and the second for violin and piano which we hear on this recording. Bacewicz’s Third Violin Sonata is one of her lesser-known pieces. Bacewicz is frequently labelled a neoclassicist, but she is much more robust and muscular in her approach than many of her contemporaries. George Enescu was a prodigy as both performer and composer and was not yet eighteen when he completed the Second Violin Sonata. His world here is not Romanian, but rather influenced by Brahms, Franck and Fauré; however, the work still exudes a healthy respect for the tradition which he inherited. Both Bacewicz and Enescu studied in Paris, and were professional violinists and pianists who imbued their music with a profound knowledge of their instruments, clearly demonstrated in this new recording.