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MUSIC REVIEWS : All-Polish Program at USC

October 30, 1987|GREGG WAGER

Although the Polish Music Reference Center's collection is housed in a tiny room at the bottom of a few flights of stairs, the representation of contemporary Polish composers is both comprehensive and impressive.

Wednesday night at the United University Church, USC, a celebration for the opening of the center included guided tours, food, a short summary of Polish culture by PMRC Director Wanda Wilk and a concert of Polish music.

Percussionist Marta Ptaszynska presented three of her compositions, including "Space Model," for percussion solo. Three percussion setups at different locations in the hall divide this eclectic piece into three obvious sections. A tape recorder records and plays back during the performance, as small, spontaneous riffs are juxtaposed, forming an accessible, unsophisticated collage.

Also performed were Ptaszynska's "Un Grand Sommeil Noir," for soprano, harp and flute--a trancelike study with eerie effects borrowed from George Crumb's music--and "Jeu-Parti" for vibraphone and harp, an early example of Minimalism with lush chords and repeating patterns.

Don Crockett also conducted the USC Contemporary Music Ensemble in a tight performance of Lutoslawski's "Chain 1," a carefully constructed overlapping of melodic fragments going at different rates of speed.

Opening the program were routine but adequate performances by the USC Early Music Ensemble of music by Baroque composers Adam Jarzebski and Stanislaw Szarzynski.

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