Martin Erdmann

(…) Among the concerts with music by Slovak composers, the one given by the ensemble Požoň sentimentál was of particular interest. Consisting of five players – flute, violin, cello, accordion, piano – the ensemble deals with the „multi-ethnic“ tradition of Bratislava and looks back to the time when Slovaks, Czechs, Germans, and Hungarians were living together in this city until Hitler put an end to that situation. (Požoň is the Slovakized version of the Hungarian name of Bratislava, i.e. „Pozsony,“ being the capital of Hungary from 1536 to 1783).

Founded on the initiative of composer Marek Piaček, Požoň sentimentál plays music from the turn of the century in special arrangements for its instrumental forces, and new compositions which use light music or pseudo-folkloric material from the first half of the century to a great extent. The ironic treatment of this material proves that the ensemble does not intend to idolize the old days; this material serves the ensemble as a sort of model for gaining or re-gaining the identity of the city…“

As a composer, Piaček himself is gifted with an infallible sense of instrumentation and counterpoint. His music owes a lot to popular music (he often writes musicthat at first sounds like pure entertainment), although he is capable of composing sudden changes of mood, giving the music an atmosphere of deep sorrow, or of using repetitive elements in such a waythat the music turns from being entertaining into being parodistic. This was the case in his bossa nova Bohatá a šťastná z Engerau which was premičred during the festival. The cynism of the title – „the rich and happy lady from Engerau“ – can only be appreciated when one knows that Engerau is the old German name for a part of Bratislava that has become one of the biggest accumulations of ugly multi-storeyed buildings so typical of socialist architecture.