The role of composition is to freeze today's emotions for the future. Or so believes composer Jerzy Sapieyevski, whose Carolina Concerto for flute and oboe received its world permiere last night at the Dumbarton Church in Georgetown.
The Polish-born Washington composer said before the performance that "music always reflects a nostalgia . . . a nostalgia for the future." His Carolina Concerto was originally written for quintet and alto saxophone, and the new version was created for the Capitol Woodwind Quintet with oboist Kathleen Golding and flutist Alice Weinreb.
The nostalgia of its intentions is sincere, but its musical vision of the future has a decidely familar look. In fact, the most distinctive feature of the work is how atypical it is of current Polish music.
Throughout the concerto's two movements, the few surprises are rhythmic but never tonal. There is a sameness to the traditional colors used, and somewhere over that rainbow there is the ghost of Stravinsky. Still, the work often delighted in its predictable designs; and the craftsmanship was everywhere in evidence.
The second movement, andante-allegro, teased with a short but intriguing dialogue for flute and piccolo. There followed an oboe solo of stunning monotony. But oboist Golding handled that most nervous of all instruments with musicality and charm.
The program also included works by Danzi and Francaix, closing with Sapieyevski's own Mercury Concerto featuring the virtuoso trumpet of Armando Ghitalla.