On March 17 in the Colburn School of Music’s Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles, pianist and contemporary music specialist Susan Svrček performed Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz’s Sonata No. 2 (1953). Entitled “Oh, for the love of…,”this Piano Spheres program also included Domenico Scarlatti’s Three Sonatas, Lou Harrison’s Six Sonatas, Chen Yi’s China West Suite and Julia Gomelskaya’s Gutsulka-dance (performed with percussionist Yuri Inoo), and the World Premiere of Preludes 4, 5, and 8 by Frederick Lesemann (Svrček’s husband).
In his review of the concert for the Los Angeles Times, entitled “Piano sonatas at Monday Evening Concerts and Piano Spheres reveal futuristic visions,” Mark Swed writes the following about the Bacewicz Sonata and Svrček’s performance of it:
If there was a theme to Svrcek’s program, it was the use of one kind of music to produce another. Bacewicz did this by alluding to Polish folk traditions. But Poles knew her subject was the present day.
As the first 20th century Polish woman composer of note, she was a pioneer. She was also making a brave statement of resistance by battering the neo-Classical and folk traditions the Soviets required of their composers. This was the sonata that the noted Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman angrily played at Walt Disney Concert Hall six years ago when he controversially attacked American foreign intervention.
Svrcek played the sonata with focused intensity. Her tone is direct and percussively ringing. As the piece progressed, it seemed to inevitably accumulate more and more grim force.