Prague Philharmonia (Pražská komorní filharmonie), conducted by Miroslav Pudlák (3)
I. violin - Martin Bialas, Alexandra Kadlecová, Dmitrij Samojlov, Jana Svobodová, Miloslav Vrba, Hana Vrbová, Ivana Ferová, Radek Trupl, II. violin - Jan Adam, Lukáš Kroft, Alena Miřácká, Ondřej Skopový, Zöe Vobořilová, Lada Ševčíková, viola - Kusama Sayaka, Ludmila Sovadinová, Zdeněk Suchý, Stanislav Svoboda, cello - Libor Mašek, Lukáš Pospíšil, Petra Pospíšilová, double-bass - Radim Otépka, Pavel Klčka, flute - Jiří Ševčík, oboe - Vladislav Borovka, Lenka Filová, clarinet - Vojtěch Nýdl, bassoon - Jiří Jech, French horn - Jan Vobořil, Zdeněk Vašina
I'm Flying... for seven instruments (1985) is introverted, quiet music for sleepers. It was inspired by a dream - the metamorphosis of the dream, the recollection of it, remembering, and forgetting. And also being awakened from it and sweetly going back to sleep. The musical motifs return in distorted variations, as if they had been hard to remember, had escaped us, and metamorphosed before our very eyes (as when music appears in our sleep, beyond our will, and our sub-conscience offers variations). The composition was made while I was serving in the army, when sleep was and wasn't something rare and could come at any time of the day, even unexpected. The instructions in the score say that during the performance the musicians should not move during the pauses and should remain in frozen positions till they are to resume playing; they sit with their backs to each other, and play without mutual contact, self-absorbed. That helps them to concentrate on the musical expression, and is meant to have a hypnotic effect on the audience. The composition is wide open, full of silence and long resonance. The instruments rarely play together; they tend instead to alternate in solos interrupted by the string section. The composition was written for the then just-established ensemble Agon, which performed it at many concerts. The studio recording was made years later with the Mondschein ensemble.
The Last Word, for flute, cello, and piano (1993). For the programme of its premiere I wrote the following about this piece: 'Irritation and nostalgia are two fundamental planes of expression, evoked by the very title, which itself is ambiguous. The sequence of musical gestures, always of the character of a coda and with the frenetic pounding of motor-like eighth-notes, instruments in rhythmic unison, and elements of rock - all that constitutes resoluteness, absence of dialogue (counterpoint), and deafness (the cruelty of the world). The references to musical minimalism (which perhaps has not yet uttered its "last word") tend to sound nostalgic, but ultimately fit in well with the wild musical mélange in which anything goes.' The premiere was in the hands of Clara Novakova and her all-woman ensemble Trio Salome.
A Winged Creature (1994) for orchestra. The title evokes a vision I had in a dream, namely, the appearance of some indefinite winged creature that was both lofty and dreadful. The dream came after reading a passage in the Bible about the antediluvian demigods, the Nephilim (in the King James Version translated from the Hebrew as 'giants', but, apparently, they should correctly be 'the fallen ones' or 'the fellers'), which were alleged to be human descendants of fallen angels. The form of the composition is a sequence of five parts that have the working titles: Invocation, Flight, Song, Dance, and Processions. One of the elements that ties it all together is the variously formed musical gesture, reminiscent of the beating of wings. The introduction contains a quotation from Stravinsky's Firebird (harmonics on the D strings). The composition was commissioned by the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which premiered it with me conducting, in St Elizabeth Hall, on 9 November 1995. It was later performed several times, in 1998, thanks to the Jupiter Orchestra, London, and at the ISCM Festival, Luxembourg, in 2000.
Khandra, for clarinet, cello, and piano (1995), is another composition with an ambiguous appellation. Khandra was a moon daemon of the female sex, but is also the Russian for 'ennui', 'drunken melancholy', and a 'suicidal or homicidal mood'. In the composition two expressive passages alternate with each other, followed by quasi-lounge music with a touch of nostalgia. It premiered at the Music Today Festival, Eugene, Oregon, in 1995, performed by a trio formed for the occasion, comprising Kamil Doležal, Jiří Bárta, and Patricia Goodson.
OM-Age for seven instruments (1998). The title can be read as both the 'Age of Om' and 'Homage'. The composition is my own version of music for meditation and also my homage to Nature (ecological music). Many of the elements of its rhythm and form are derived from Nature (such as the flight of birds, waves, and the beating of the heart). These extra-musical associations accompany the notation in the score and help the interpreters to achieve a unique irregularity, which is otherwise difficult to note down. The finale includes the sound of a magnetic tape, with a tape-loop created from one bar of the Firebird (the same quotation as in 'Winged Creature'); the natural harmonic tones on a D note act as an unexpected glimpse at real aural Nature, whereas the preceding music seems to imitate Nature. The composition was made to measure for Mondschein, so that the composer himself could play the easy keyboard part.
This recording was made possible through the assistence of the OSA`s Music Foundation and the Foundation Czech Musical Fund.