Silesian Quartet and Friends – Grażyna Bacewicz – The Two Piano Quintets; Quartet for four Violins; Quartet for four Cellos

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I had an argument the other day with some asshat about women and classical music. The expected slogans, matras, and motos were deployed quickly, “A woman with half the talent can get twice the job because…”, or, “Guys fear working around women now of days cause…”, or, one of my personal favourites, “It’s just not fair.” If you can believe it, there have been moments where I have employed sophisticated witticisms and a whirly-whirl of social graces interjected by cunning argumentative ploys with the grace and flawless blinding attacks of a honed, oiled, and sharpened rapier when faced against such arguments. Then, there are other times where I just say what I really want to say: fuck you, fuck that, and fuck this. 

Don’t worry, I’m not going get into a whole thing. I don’t feel like it’s necessary. But, for those that can’t scratch that itch to debate and debase about such subjects, here’s a list of retorts you can go through in a loop whenever you feel like you’ve proven a point: Really? Are you fucking serious? Do you actually believe that? How can you fucking believe that shit? Where did you get that information? Are you sure that’s accurate? Come on. Fuck off :]]

Onto the show!

Szymon Krzeszowiec (first violin), Arkadiusz Kubica (second violin), Łukasz Syrnicki (viola), and Piotr Janosik (cello) make up the Silesian Quartet. If you don’t know who these motherfuckers are then you’re missing out. They’ve recorded over forty albums, they organize an international chamber music festival, and they’ve won a list of awards longer than your fucking arm (some include: Golden Cross of Merit, Badge of Merit, and Gramophone Classical Music award). One of my favourite reviews on their playing style is from NRC Nandelsblad which says, “Najwyższy poziom wykonania. Oni grają jak szatany,” which translated means, “The highest level of performance. They play like satans.” Fuck ya they do (Hail Satans). One thing you should know about the Silesian Quartet, they rep Poland hard. This album is no different. 

Grażyna Bacewicz was one of the first Polish women composers to make big waves worldwide. She led this fucking shit. Bacewicz was a really good fucking violinist (there’s even a video of that shit) as well as a badass pianist. She was the principal violinist in the ’30s for the Polish Radio Orchestra. Then, during the war when she lived in Warsaw, she took her compositional and musical A game underground. That’s right. You read that right. This is classical underground music, motherfuckers. After 1954, she went full-composer cause of a car accident. She won a fuckton of awards and got tons of cred. Her pieces were even performed by some big fucking symphonies. Remember, this shit all happened back in the day when women didn’t have that many rights and were seen as dishrags, sex holes, and baby machines. So, this begs the question, how did she get so much recognition? Simple, Bacewicz was so fucking good it didn’t matter if she had a dick or not. 

So, an unbelievably good conductor that has proved her worth gets played by an internationally recognized quartet. Ya, it’s good. But, straight up? This isn’t your average quartet sound. Some would call this shit “unorthodox”. Bacewicz was no basic bitch. All the pieces played on the album come from Baecewicz post-World War II when she was deep into this experimentation/folk blend. It’s really cool shit. But you’ll need to hold on to those seats and keep an open mind. I think what shines best is the ass end of this album “Quartet for 4 Cellos”. Shit sounds so modern and sends shivers up your spine for how creepy it is. It’s not just walls of rando shit. It’s played perfectly and the orchestration is sophisticated as fuck. It stays with you long after the album ends. I sat like a fucking moron staring into space and drooling onto the floor. It was wonderful.

Please, don’t listen to Bacewicz to fight the power, listen to her cause she’s really fucking good. For some reason, despite the recognition she had when she was alive, Bacewicz still takes the backseat when it comes to being a well-known composer. I could wax poetic on the injustice her lack of recognition is, but what I really want to say is: fuck you, fuck that, and fuck this. 

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