Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on April 7, 1985 · 73
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 73

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 7, 1985
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Krzysztof Penderecki is a composer caught in crossfire of critics Krzyutof Panderacki will conduct the Florida Orchestra Wednesday. April 10. at Ruth Eckard Hallin Claarwatar; Thursday. April 1 1, at McKay Auditorium in Tampa: and Saturday. April 13. at tha Bayfront Cantor in St. Patara-burg. , By CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON Okay, we'll start with the name. You spell it Krzysztof Penderecki. But you say it, Kris-tof Pen-der-etz-ski. This man with the "name to stir fear into the hearts of typesetters' (High Fidelity Musical America magazine) is a 51-year-old Polish composer who will guest conduct the Florida Orchestra this Week in his own Symphony No. 2 (the Christmas Symphony) and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 6. In choosing its first guest conductor for its regular concert series, the orchestra has selected a man of world-class stature. He has won several important prizes and honors, and his written music for the late Eugene Ormandy, Zubin Mehta, , Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, the Juilliard School, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the United Nations. BUT THERE is a great deal more to Penderecki than just a star-studded resume. In a world where getting people to listen to symphonic music by living composers is akin to getting them to swallow cough syrup, Penderecki stands apart. He has written music that people actually seem to . ii Ke. - Tmnmnrk hnth written before he was 35, have cemented Penderecki's reputation as a major composer. One is the short and furiously intense Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima for 52 solo strings (1960). Longtime Florida Orchestra subscribers will know this piece Irwin Hoffman and the orchestra played it about 10 years ago. But the work that propelled Penderecki into international prominence was the Passion According to St. Luke (1962-65). This was probably the most talked-about piece of new music in the 1960s. It attracted critical controversy, and both popular and mass media attention that was unmatched until the minimalist composers came along in the 1930s. It is claimed that one performance of the Passion in Poland attracted 15,000 people. And that's not including the many who had to be turned away. WHAT IS IT in Penderecki's music that merits such attention? In the course of his 25-year composing career, his style has changed often, sometimes drastically. But the characteristics of his music have remained constant. His music is simply written and easily comprehended. "Music should speak for itself and should go straight to the heart and mind of the listener," Penderecki has been quoted as saying. And his compositions have always done exactly that. His works may please or displease, but they never puzzle. ti: : : Janli, nmntinnal and punrpssive. X 1 18 U1UB1U IB uecyijr i-- When other composers were writing abstract For every reviewer who believes that Penderecki is one of the greatest composers of the second half of the 20th century, there are several who are ready to dismiss him as a boring, simplistic has-been. pieces with the aid of slide rules and computers, Penderecki burst on the scene with music that actually communicated something music full of blazing fury and gut-wrenching power. , And his music is epic sometimes even cosmic in scale. In his supreme religious masterpieces, the St. Luke Passion and Utreenja: The Entombment of Christ (1970), there is a compelling sense of drama, mystery and ritual. This transcendence suffuses all of his longer worKS, even me insiru-mental ones. FOR A PROMINENT composer, Penderecki has really taken it on the chin from American music critics. For every reviewer who believes that Penderecki is one of the greatest composers of the second half of the 20th century, there are several who are ready to dismiss him as a boring, simplistic has-been. Penderecki's detractors have some valid points. For example, his music is sometimes over long. The listener is ready to stop, but Penderecki isn't. - More seriously, Penderecki's mood is stuck in one place. His music is never happy or joyous, or warm, or sensuous or anything but grim. His gift for expressing fear, pain and loneliness in music served him well in those early works about Hiroshima and the killing of Christ. But all his music sounds that way even his settings of those two great hymns of praise and thanksgiving, the Magnificat and the TeDeum. But the minority view is closer to the truth. His music, flawed though it may be, is full of undeniable power, impact and beauty. He is not a truly "great composer," but he is a gifted one well worth hearing. STYLISTICALLY, THERE have always been two Pendereckis. One is an ultramodernist. He writes music that, while certainly effective, is strange and radically novel. But the other is an ultraconservative who unashamedly evokes late romantic composers such as Mahler and Wagner. In some of his most interesting works including the St. Luke Passion Penderecki has comingled his two sides in fascinating mixtures of the new and the old AMERICA'S FAMILY STEAK HOUSE Yes, 1 rated by Restaurants & Institutions Magazine and National Family Opinion for 1984. Thank you America. We work hard every day to live up to that trust. Dine with us today and see why we're 1. Thank you. In appreciation of you making us America's no. 1 steak house, we would like to thank you by helping with your datly Ouagei. MONDAY 1 I TUESDAY WEDNESDAY No 1 No. 3 No. 12 SIZZLIN BEEF CHOPPED SIRLOIN TIPS SIRLOIN ji4 276 219 Rag. 4.1 9 RQ-3.69 "8-3.19 We have been copied many times, but never duplicated. Our Potato Fixtn's Bar is free with any steak dinner. Try our new super salad bar. " n I ninnies BEnoom Growth in awareness of art benef its both artists and galleries in miTit$liiii.im .it KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI But in the Christmas Symphony the piece he and the Florida Orchestra are going to play this week Penderecki gives full rein to his Wagnerian-persona. This work is astonishing in that it is so un-modern. It is (aside from the music of Richard Strauss) the most traditionalistic piece ever written by a major composer since World War I. (No, that is not a misprint for World War II. If one had to identify the piece without knowing its composer, one would place it as a work written by a Mahler disciple about 1915.) But do not expect something restful and pretty. Like all of Penderecki's works, the Christmas Symphony teems with searing intensity and raw power. ONE MAY WELL wonder: If it's a Christmas Symphony, why is he playing it at Easter? Actually, the title is very misleading the music is (quite typically) somber and dark. Breaking this brooding atmosphere are three brief quotations of "Silent Night," cast in surprisingly lovely and ethereal Cesar Franck-like harmonies. But the chief Yuletide connection this piece has is simply that Penderecki conceived its general outline on Christmas Eve, 1979. In his youth, Penderecki boldly asserted that there was genuine power and beauty in the arcane, weird sounds of avant-garde music. Today, in his middle age, he just as boldly seeks power and beauty in the familiar sounds of 19th century Christopher Johnson is a long-time classical record collector whose record reviews frequently appear in the St. Petersburg Times. More art showcases than ever before (as discussed in this space recently) is just one sign of the Sun-coast's growing cultural scene. Local artists are now finding it possible to develop personal modes of expression not merely market able products and still receive deserved recognition beyond the Suncoast. Moreover, as never before, these artists are attracting the attention of local patrons with sensitivity and taste, including corporate sponsors. SO WHAT? Well, ask potter Bede Clark and painter James Michaels whose works integrate personal forms with techniques that both respect and extol the nature of their materials. Recently, both artists sold important gallery-quality pieces at St. Petersburg's Mainsail outdoor arts festival. And ask Anderson-Marsh Galleries director Estelle Marsh, who, after years of frustration, has had such a successful season that she will limit her major exhibitions to works priced $2,500 to around $7,000. Of course, she has the talent to pick winners like the current show of lyrical abstractions by Arline Greenblatt and the February exhibition by Stephen Scott Young. While Young's water-colors were showing here, the Palm Beach Gardens artist won the American Artist magazine's national competition and a cover story in its July issue. He had already taken awards in seven national, two regional and three Florida shows. AGAIN, SO WHAT? In short, notes such as these and those below were rare only a decade ago. Tiny paintings by Adele Gregos of Holiday were accepted and sold in the Royal Miniature Society exhibition in London for the second consecutive year. Gregos is a member of the Hilliard Society (a British group named for the Elizabethan portraitist) and the Miniature Society of Florida. Jean H. Grastorf of St. Petersburg continues to accumulate honors. After success in the National Water-color Society's Annual, 1984, she was elected to membership in that invitational society. She won first place in the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society's 1985 show, now showing at Hilton Leech Studio Gallery, Sarasota, and won acceptance into the Southern Watercolor Society Annual, opening next week at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. Jill Branham East, also of St. Petersburg, will have exhibitions in the Ormond Beach Memorial Art Center this month, in Florida's State Capitol building May and June and then at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., through July. Last month an East watercolor was among the 144 pieces selected (from 1,100 entries nationwide) for the "After Her Own Image: Women's Work 1985" at Salem College Fine Arts Center, Winston-Salem, N.C. And her humorous Scott and Julia Gator Doing the Moped at the University of Florida Chi Phi House won $100 in the Louisiana Watercolor Society's 1985 international competition. Polish-born Marek Sarba of St. Petersburg is a master painter of marine scenes and seamen at work aboard ships. He is finishing his most recent commission, a 4-by-8 foot The Battle of Trafalgar, for a ophthalmologist in Mount Dora. Fiber artist Genevieve Lykes Dimmitt of Clearwater recently completed three commissions for new office buildings and is finishing another wall hanging for EKS Corp., Cocoa. Other local corporate collections owning her works include Tampa Electric, First Florida Financial Corp., Harborview Club and Creative Contractors. She has a one-woman show through April 27 at Studio 1212, 126 N Missouri Ave., Clearwater. Jeff Whipple of Tampa and Chicago follows his show at Soho South Contemporary Gallery of Art in Safety Harbor with one at the Barbara Gillman Gallery, Miami, through April 22. " Sarasota sculptor Craig Laitta will install his bronze The Cycle next week in a plaza created for it at Oak Hall, a private school in Gainesville. Laitta, who does his own foundry work, has devoted the last 15 months to the commission, a 2,100 pound, 6-by-6 foot enlargement of one of his smaller bronzes. in; Richard a Bmjmgaidne Centei fo tk Phfchminc Auts 1111 McMuIIhi Booth bud, Oumitn, Fl 33519 OPENS APRIL 15 SIX DAYS ONLY! WTHON Y QUINN and the Broadway Company . - iTTIIIillMtllMlTll lllll HI If tDaaiaF K S " zIElI, 3401 -34th Ave. North, St. Petersburg ' -jSW 522-9481 ( lMiir " " " " " I with The Musical PRICES & PERFORMANCES: MON..TUES..WED. THU., FRI., SAT. 8 P.M. & SAT. 2 P.M. $34.50 $32.50 MATINEE THU., 2 P.M. $33.95, 31.95 LILA KEDROVA 21

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