Movement 1: Allegro ma non troppo
Movement 2: Adagio
Movement 3: Allegretto
Movement 4: Theme and Variations: Misterioso
Like the Sonata da camera for violin and piano which Bacewicz had written the previous year, the Symphony has strong elements of Baroque stylizations. Yet the language of the opening movement of the Symphony can be gritty, disjunct and rhythmically driven in a way that anticipates the postmodern trends that emerged long after her death. Bacewicz remains true, however, to her idea of through-composed movements that merely nodded in the direction of conventional structures. The ensuing Adagio has a much thinner harmonic language and texture, at moments akin to Shostakovich, and there are passages where the music achieves a yearning, almost anguished intensity, anticipating the expressive depth that she would achieve in the later works on this disc. After the scurrying, relatively diatonic Allegretto, the Symphony ends with a Theme and Variations. It is perhaps not surprising that the formal divisions suggested by this title are by no means transparent and that the movement seems to develop across them with increasing vigour.
from notes by Adrian Thomas © 2009