BACEWICZ Grazyna, Trio for Oboe, Violin and Cello
Adagio – Molto allegro
Bacewicz wrote this Trio when she was in her mid-twenties. It was started during a stay in Paris (where she studied with Nadia Boulanger) and completed in November 1935. The first performance followed in March 1936 at a concert of contemporary chamber music which was also attended by Prokofiev. From a stylistic point of view, its Neoclassical language owes a good deal to Boulanger’s influence, and, by extension, to Boulanger’s friend Stravinsky. At the same time, there is a distinctly Polish colour to the introductory Adagio in which an improvisatory oboe melody unfolds over a drone. The Molto allegro that follows sounds firmly in the Neoclassical mainstream, but there is more individuality and character in the lyrical second theme. The central Andante is dominated by a mood of quiet anxiety, starting with a rather hesitant oboe theme heard over uneasy string undulations. A sense of disquiet pervades the movement, with moments of relief quickly extinguished until, in the very last bars, some kind of consolation is found. The short finale is a complete contrast: quick, witty and elegantly crafted, it brings the Trio to an ebullient conclusion.
© Nigel Simeone, 2022