Kwiatkowska and Opalińska on Sarton

Kaija Saariaho – TocarCalices, Nocturne; Agata Zubel – Cadenza; Barbara Buczek – StudiumEidos I; Olga Neuwirth – Quasare/Pulsare
Anna Kwiatkowska – violin; Joanna Opalińska – piano
Sarton Records 020-2 

Presented by new music champions violinist Anna Kwiatkowska and pianist Joanna Opalińska, their new album EIDOS is an opportunity to reflect on the richness and complexity of female expression in contemporary music. The starting point, as well as a reference point for the diversity of feminine sensitivity, is the music of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho (b.1952). Also included are two Polish powerhouses—one of the most prominent composers of the younger generation, Agata Zubel (b. 1978), and the lesser known Barbara Buczek (1940-1993). The final composer on the album is Olga Neuwirth (b. 1968), who became known as the enfant terrible of the Austrian contemporary music.

Writing in the CD liner notes, Monika Pasiecznik notes that, “Even though the position and the role of women in Western culture allows them to affirm their gender identity, women composers often distance themselves from it by using technical terminology and neutral aesthetic categories in order to describe their music. The reluctance to admit to the specific nature of music by women (regardless of the qualities we ascribe to it) still results from a deeply-rooted cultural belief about the neutrally-specific nature of music written by men. By observing the paths of female experiences and placing them in a public context, feminist musicology questions the uncritical acceptance of the universality of the male experience. That’s why it pays to tune one’s ears from time to time to other forms of listening and notice a woman composer.”