UGLY, BAD, UNTRUE AND FEMININE (2018)
solo performance for voice, prop and tape
concept, music, lyrics and performance by Barbara Kinga Majewska, premiered at Kunstwerk Köln, commissioned by inSitu Foundation
based on compositions by Karol Szymanowski Three soldier's songs (1920) -To a girl (lyrics by Kornel Makuszyński), The outsmarted soldier (lyrics by Kornel Makuszyński), Hanka was embroidering (lyrics by Kazimierz Andrzej Czyżowski) and Grażyna Bacewicz - Melody for violin and piano (1950) and Lullaby for violin and piano (1952)
Grażyna Bacewicz was the first widely recognized Polish female composer of the twentieth century. She was also one of the few Polish composers whose works were played outside Poland. Critics unaware of her sex were convinced that the author of the music they had heard had to be a man. Finally, knowing that Grażyna was a woman's name, they stated that there must be a man behind Bacewicz's compositions. The goal of the performance is the exorcism, the subject - the supposed male.
Karol Szymanowski is widely viewed as one of the greatest Polish composers of the early 20th century and certainly the most celebrated one. All of his compositions for voice and piano are serious, subtly refined and elegant works written to accompany carefully selected poetry. There is no greater exception to this than Three soldier’s songs written in 1920. Szymanowski, moved by dreadful fate of polish soldiers fighting with Bolsheviks, composed songs that are light and entertaining, undemanding and simple, if not trivial. Their main aim was to cheer soldiers up, give them courage and raise their morale. Performance of Three soldier’s songs by a woman with accompaniment of electronics is an attempt to recontextualize the repertoire neglected by musicologists and explore how concepts of femininity and woman’s duties in the times of war were depicted in music and poetry.