Praise for NAXOS recording of Bacevičius’ Piano Concertos performed by Gabrielius Alekna

Vytautas Bacevičius: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1, featuring Bacevičius’ Piano concertos Nos. 3 and 4 performed by Gabrielius Alekna, gets high marks from numerous reviewers in print and online.  In this 2015 release, which also includes Bacevičius’ orchestral Spring Suite, the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra is conducted by the three-time Grammy nominee Christopher Lyndon-Gee, with Gabrielius Alekna playing piano solo part in the concertos.  Two of the three compositions in the album are world première recordings.  As the title indicates, further installments of Bacevičius’ orchestral works are planned by NAXOS. This was Gabrielius Alekna’s second CD of Bacevičius’ music, following the critically acclaimed recording of complete Mots released by Toccata Classics.

Vytautas Bacevičius remained virtually unknown as a composer during his lifetime, in contrast to the fortunes of his sister Grażyna Bacewicz, who retained her Polish nationality.  Rendered stateless by the outbreak of World War II while he was on tour as a concert pianist in South America, he eventually settled in New York until his death in 1970, giving acclaimed piano recitals, teaching, and writing astoundingly original orchestral scores.  He never lost his deep allegiance to and nostalgia for Lithuania.  This recording gives an eloquent introduction to his pianistic virtuosity and to his mystical, Scriabinesque vision of the orchestra.