Poland, the country, has taken many forms over the centuries, as it was absorbed and expelled by various oppressors or liberators representing other cultures. But the spirit of the Polish people has never been constrained by geographic boundaries or political systems. Poland's great composer, Frederic Chopin, was self-exiled for much of his adult life but continued to use his great love for his homeland as musical inspiration; his Polonaise Héroique is a gorgeous and forceful declaration of nationalism and pride. Little wonder that upon his death, Chopin's sister had the composer's heart installed in a pillar of Warsaw's Holy Cross Church — the great Polish romantic at last brought home. David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra lay bare the fire and grace of the Polish spirit with Classical Detours: Polish Dances at 6:30 p.m. today at Powell Symphony Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.slso.org). In addition to Chopin, the music of Witold Lutoslawski and — if you're fortunate — a polka are on the schedule. Tickets are a mere $20 and include a social hour at 5:30 p.m.
Thu., Dec. 6, 2007