ARIA SOPRA LA BERGAMASCA (1642) soprano, soprano, bass
Marco Uccellini (c.1603-1680)
CANZONA soprano, alto, alto, tenor
Filip de Monte (1521-1603)
FANTASIA I alto, alto
Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)
PERO PIU FERM` OGN` HOR DI TEMPO (1584) soprano, alto, tenor, bass
Girolamo Dalla Casa "da Udine" (?-1601) after Cipriano de Rore (1515-6-1565)
BALLO DI MANTUA soprano in B, soprano in B
Giuseppe Giamberti (c.1600-1662-4)
CANZONA LA PADOVANA soprano, alto, tenor, bass + soprano, alto, tenor, bass
Ludovico Grossi da Viadana (1564-1645)
AS FAIR AS MORN soprano, alto, tenor
John Wilbye (1574-1638)
LA GIRANDOLA alto in G, alto in G
Thomas Morley (1557-1602)
PAVANE soprano, soprano, alto, bass
John Dowland (1563-1626)
FANTASIA II soprano, alto, tenor, bass
Orlando Gibbonns (1583-1625)
WHEN DAPHNE FROM FAIR PHOEBUS DID FLY soprano in B
Jacob Jan van Eyck (c.1590-1657) variations on anonymous
Jiří Stivín - recorders (multitrack recording - even 8 recorders at the same time)
Jiří Stivín is by nature a man of the renaissance. To him, ancient music is only one of many closely watched areas, he has already been involved in it for years, respected by connoisseurs of the genre. Perhaps he adds to it distinctive features of his play, his personality - but this can be revealed only by those who have observed his heterogenous playing activities for several years.
Where, in fact, is the beginning of the historical purity of current recordings of ancient music, and where its end? Can one speculate about such a thing in Jiří Stivín`s case - a man who plays renaissance music half on master copies of ancient instruments, half - without a shade of hesitation - on genuinely contemporary flutes?
"After we know all the music that came after remaissance until today, it`s not that easy to play as though we were musicians of those times - a thin layer of romantic or other dust always somehow gets stuck on you. Of course, I can`t - and don`t want to-go against the character of the music, but perfect authenticity never really interested me; in the end, the listeners of this CD don`t, as I suppose, come from the 16th century. Someone once fittingly said: `I will play historical music, but give me historical audience.`"
Ancient music, serious music... all these attributes are questioned by the universal musicality of Jiří Stivín - not a single tone sounds old and the often dancingly cheerful pieces are animated with dignity rather than seriousness. Perhaps it is precisely the abovementioned experience that helps the player to achieve a "sharper vision". Why, it is true not just in music that only by means of a varied and contrasting background one can recognize the specifics of the individual; logically then, a player with experience ranging from classical flute repertoire to New Music and, particularly, jazz, recognizes, when returning to any period, its uniquenesses with greater ease; and, moreover, in a healthily natural way. Sometimes it is called thorough education.
"I hardly realize I`m playing someone else`s music," says Keith Jarrett about his own present recordings of preludes by Shostakovich. Of course: jazz or, more generally speaking, improvised music of the moment, keeping its creator always on the alert, is the ideal springboard for the player. The one who is used to rush towards a certain destination along uncertain tracks, will appreciate a masterly outline of the course better than anyone else. Mind you - this, as such, is far different from an easy path. The task, the joy belongs to the player.
In the context of Jiří Stivín`s recordings, the album you are just holding in your hand has an extraordinary position: for the first time in all these years, Stivín came to the studio quite alone, for the first time he made a record without another musician`s co-operation. It is, in fact, very appropriate: in the many-sidedness of his doings, Stivín never surrounded himself by long-term co-workers. He himself feels every group as temporary, and thus keeps the back-door open: if any of the players cancels his participation at the last moment, it is always possible to find an alternative.
"These days, I don`t feel too inclined towards well-prepared projects. I`m always trying to surprise myself and find space for improvisation, which by co-incidence happened even with this recording: I came to the studio with a pack of sheet music and only at the place I found out what I felt like playing and what I would record."
Both Jiří Stivín and the producer Vítězslav Janda took care that the final shape was a varied one - in the spectre of moods as well as in the instrument range of the compositions. By the way, a number of jewels /esp. four-voiced ones/ did not fit into the recording. "At least something is left for next time," commented Jiří Stivín.