Marta Ptaszyńska

Articles and Reviews

Marta Ptaszyńska - A Portrait in Music

by Zbigniew Granat
Polish Daily News, New York, Feb. 13, 1997

...Intertwining various styles seems to be the composer’s favored compositional procedure which suggests that however different the temporal, geographic, and cultural terrains, themes expressed by humans are similar everywhere, being created through similar ways of perceiving the world.

...The rare capability of transforming visual inspiration into sounds allowed Ptaszyńska to create a highly original concept of the sonic palette , which emphasizes the chromatic, the mosaic , and the expressive, and is achieved by various, oftentimes avant-garde, means of expression.

One must not forget that the composer’s roots lie in the so-called “sonorism” (textural music), whose main characteristic was the exploration of new and non-conventional sound textures. Ptaszyńska was able to selectively utilize the experiments of the avant-garde and combine them with more traditional elements, creating her own unique style...

Poetry of Sounds and Moods 

by Tadeusz Andrzej Zieliński
Studio, June 1994, No. 6, Warsaw, Poland
translated by Marta Ptaszyńska

...As in all of Marta Ptaszyńska’s works, modernism and tradition are not the opposing forces. Rather, they intermingle and fuse in a very natural way. Her music is clearly immersed in the new sound aesthetics, but in some works one can find distant echoes of traditional forms... Employing the contemporary music language, close to the avantgardist approach, the composer is not afraid to introduce the melodic element in her music. Most important of all however, is that the author of Sonnets to Orpheus is continuing the aesthetic tradition of Polish music, creating a style in which one can find a spiritual relationship with our greatest composers: Chopin, Karłowicz, and Szymanowski.

The Colorful World of Marta Ptaszyńska

by Dorota Szwarcman
Polish Music, volume 23, No.2-3.

...The combination of the forms and timbre and of classical and contemporary, Oriental and Occidental elements produces an unusual but a very homogenous musical amalgam. It is easy to recognize Marta Ptaszynska’s compositions with a broad and highly refined instrumentation and a rich and colorful interplay of sound texture. We are struck not only by the elements of color, but also, by forms, which are reminiscent of something what remain with the bounds of abstraction, as in pictures of Yves Tanguy and Paul Klee.

Orpheus’s Journey Through Hades

Marta Ptaszyńska
Quarta - Polish Contemporary Music Magazine, Cracow, July 2009

On 22nd May in the Łodz Philharmonic the premiere of the Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra Drum of Orpheo took place. This was a meeting of two fantastic percussionists and giant individuals of the musical world: the composer – Marta Ptaszyńska – and performer Evelyn Glennie, for whom the piece was written. The Symphonic Orchestra of the Łodz Philharmonic was conducted by Wojciech Michniewski.

“This piece, which combines the features of classical virtuoso concerto with elements of theater, I understood in the strictest sense. The percussionist is not only a musical performer, but also an actor who “plays” their role on the stage. As an actress-percussionist, Evelyn Glennie, wandering around the stage with a drum, symbolizes Orpheus’s mythical journey through Hades. Lighting plays an important role in this theatrical work.

The array of percussion instruments is extremely rich and in addition to the traditional percussion instruments such as marimba, vibraphone, crotales, drums, cymbals, gongs, triangle, solo percussion includes a number of oriental percussion instruments, such as hand drums, Bodhrans, Japanese Odaiko drum, a Peking opera gong, Thai Gongs, Japanese temple bells, agogo steel pan (metal drum) and Sarna bells.

The concerto consists of five contrasting parts, and each has a different set of percussion, which is located on a different part of the stage. This gives the opportunity to showcase virtuoso soloist on various sets of instruments, and brings the listener many interesting visual experiences.