Poland's Music: The Feminine Voice | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Poland's Music: The Feminine Voice

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The mostly tonal and highly idiosyncratic compositions of percussion specialist Marta Ptaszynska reflect her attraction to Eastern art and European surrealism. She is a master of colorful, fantastical moods and feelings. In her Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra (1985), whose three movements are each named after a surrealist canvas, the mood swiftly runs the gamut from eerie to enigmatic to agitated, presenting a daunting and dazzling challenge for soloists such as legendary Japanese percussion ace Keiko Abe. Four of Ptaszynska's works are included in this program showcasing Polish-born female composers. Inspired by graffiti of all sorts, 1988's Graffito for marimba is typical of her style; on the other hand Spider Walk relies on an arsenal of percussion instruments arrayed schematically for playful theatrical and visual effects. Un Grand Sommeil Noir (1977) for soprano, flute, and harp cleverly contrasts the Paul Verlaine poem in English and French. Ptaszynska's Liquid Light will be given its world premiere, courtesy of mezzo-soprano Julia Bently, pianist Abraham Stokman, and percussionist Carrie Biolo. Other featured composers are Barbara Jazwinski, Joanna Bruzdowicz, and Grazyna Bacewicz. Other soloists include violinist Alan Heatherington and flutist Joanna Turska. Friday, 7:30 PM, Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee; 384-3352.

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