Contribution of Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-69) to Polish Music

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Bacewicz's music occupies an important place in the twentieth century. Though she wrote more than two hundred compositions, from the symphonic cycle on down to the single movement art song, it is her large compositional forms that have received the most attention, both in performance and analysis. This work provides an analysis of twelve songs written between 1934 and 1956. The songs presented here are analyzed with a consideration of text setting, melodic line and vocal range, formal structure, harmony, texture and tonality. An English translation of each Polish poem is also included. This provides an opportunity to explore the expressive, intimate compositions of Grazyna Bacewicz.


"Shafer draws upon her own experience performing these songs to offer a chapter of insights on presenting Bacewicz's music. Vocalists and accompanists will find this discussion very useful. . . . Bacewicz's career is placed in the context of Polish music history. A brief history of the art song provides background information on this musical form. . . . This informative study of a neglected aspect of Bacewicz's output is a welcome addition to the scant scholarship in English on one of Poland's most noted composers. It is essential reading for vocalists, or teachers of voice, wishing to add these works to their own, or their students', repertoire. It further suggests that art can transcend the political constraints under which it is created." - Victoria J. O'Reilly

". . . engaging and informative. Including correspondence with the composer's sister, Wanda Bacewicz, Shafer takes us on her journey of discovery in a style of writing both clear and direct, providing information collected and conveying richness and appreciation in the process. . . . Shafer's background as performer, composer, teacher, educator has brought forth a work of integrity and one which speaks to a range of prospective readers including performers, teachers of singing, teachers of music theory and history, those involved in women's studies and the general music public." - Edith M. Di Bartolo

"It is a valuable addition to the history of Polish music and to the creative talent of this outstanding Polish composer of this century. Every voice department should have a copy of it." - Wanda Wilk, Director, Polish Music Reference Center, University of Southern California School of Music

"Being a pianist myself, I enjoyed playing the piano accompaniments of her songs because they were different and very innovative. . . . The book itself is easy to read. . . . a great addition to any music library and can be read on a rainy afternoon." - D

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