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Janáček, Hindemtih, Tůma
Jaroslav Tůma – organ

 

F10147  [8595017414725]  released 5/2006   review

play album Janáček, Hindemith, Tůma - Jaroslav Tůma 79:50 149Kč
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1. Varhanní sólo z Glagolské mše 2:52 15Kč
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2. Sonate I -I.Massig schnell - Lebhaft 8:11 15Kč
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3. Sonate I - II.Sehr langsa-Phantasie,frei-Ruhig bewegt 13:12 15Kč
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4. Sonate II - I.Lebhaft 4:58 15Kč
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5. Sonate II - II.Ruhig bewegt 5:33 15Kč
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6. Sonate II - III.Fuge,Massig bewegt,heiter 3:19 15Kč
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7. Sonate III - I.Ach Gott,wem soll ich´s klagen 5:01 15Kč
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8. Sonate III - II.Wach auf, mein Hort 4:55 15Kč
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9. Sonate III - III.So wunsch ich ihr 2:43 15Kč
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10. Zarostlý chodníček Leoše Janáčka:Naše večery 6:03 15Kč
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11. Zarostlý chodníček Leoše Janáčka:V pláči 7:37 15Kč
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12. Zarostlý chodníček Leoše Janáčka:Sýček neodletěl 4:46 15Kč
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13. Zarostlý chodníček Leoše Janáčka:Po zarostlém chodníčku č.15 8:55 15Kč
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14. Ludgeřovické zvony 1:40 15Kč
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Jaroslav Tuma - Rieger organ (1931) at the church of St Nicholas, Ludgerovice (near Ostrava)

Twentieth-century organ music is rich both in the number of compositions and in the depth of the musical message. That is mainly thanks to organists who wrote remarkable, though often rather eclectic, compositions. Composers of organ music, even those as distinctive as Jehan Alain, Marcel Dupré, and perhaps also Max Reger, however, had little influence on other compositional genres. And few of the great composers of the last century were seriously involved in composing for organ. Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Debussy, and Ravel, for example, wrote practically nothing for the instrument; a larger number of other composers, like Honegger, Britten, Janáček, and Martinů, wrote only short or occasional compositions for it.
      Paul Hindemith (1895–1963) is in this respect a rare exception, and for that reason is all the more valuable. In addition to two organ concertos he composed three organ sonatas. Each is a gem, yet none has ever become a standard part of the organ repertoire. Perhaps these compositions are veiled in the legend that they are not always easy for the listener to understand. They are certainly not brimming with big sound and quick virtuoso runs. And they have somehow remained in the shadow of the great works of Reger and Messiaen, whose ravishing conclusions stun the listener with their power and directness.
      The peculiar and rather curt compositional thinking of Hindemith, a composer who used “Neue Sachlichkeit“ (New Objectivity or New Matter-of-Factness) to react to the bombastic Neo-Romanticism of his times, seems difficult to understand and, for the world of the organ, also difficult to master. Today’s interpreter of organ music tends therefore to think that the “correct” interpretation of Hindemith requires the use the latest trend of Hindemith’s day, an instrument built in the Neo-Baroque style. This notion is fostered also by the structure of Hindemith’s music, its predominantly polyphonic thinking and strict musical form.
      Our recording modifies this somewhat narrow view, since we have used an organ built by the Rieger company, which dates from 1931 and was restored in 2005 thanks to the people of Ludgeøovice and the Ponèa brothers, organ-makers in Krnov, north Moravia. Though the Ludgeøovice organ is extremely modern for its day and can handle the demands on the construction of the organ stoplist, including the rich selection of harmonics, the basis of the sound remains more or less Romantic. The pneumatic action and the louvered chest for the second manual also meet the requirements of traditions in the nineteenth-century spirit. Hindemith’s sonatas are thus played on the kind of instrument that was most common in Hindemith’s day, one that also perfectly meets a requirement that should probably not be completely overlooked in Hindemith’s sonatas – namely, the attempt to achieve variable dynamics and refined timbres.
      The organ solo from Janáček’s Glogolitic Mass is better known under its later, unofficial name Postludium. It holds the penultimate place in the mass. In terms of form, it is a stunning, freely conceived passacaglia, in other words, a variation form composed with a short ostinato motif.
      I played the organ improvisations recorded here on themes from Janáček’s collection of piano pieces called On an Overgrown Path, between 10 and 11 o’clock on the evening of 26 April 2006. They are dedicated to the memory of the late Czech documentary film-maker, a rare man, Pavel Koutecký (1956–2006).

Jaroslav Tuma

It may come as a surprise to many to learn that Moravská Ostrava was not only a rugged region of hard work, but also one in which beautiful and, for its day, often boldly modern music was heard. Over the years the Ostrava region has experienced some dramatic events. On the one hand there is its rebirth, literally overnight, into an important industrial region of Austria-Hungary. On the other there is the struggle for Czech schools and the arts, a struggle carried on in the Silesian borderlands for decades after the declaration of an independent Czechoslovakia in October 1918. And the sphere of music is full of the unexpected too. In 1921 concerts of symphony and chamber orchestras began to be held regularly in Ostrava, with, for example, evenings on a single theme, works by Vítězslav Novák, Zdeněk Fibich, Antonín Dvořák, Josef Bohuslav Foerster, evenings of Russian music and of Yugoslav music. In addition to artists from Ostrava who began to appear at these concerts, there were also interpreters and chamber ensembles from Prague and Brno (for example, Karel Hoffmann, Jan Heřman, the Ševčík Quartet, the Bohemian Quartet, the Moravian Quartet) and from abroad as well. The most important guests were the composers Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, and Paul Hindemith. The then head of the Ostrava Opera, Jaroslav Vogel, recalls Hindemith’s first guest appearance as follows:
      “The 1931/32 season is memorable especially because it was on 6 November that a leader of modern German music, Paul Hindemith, only 36 years old at the time, first performed at our concerts. The composer Josef Schreiber (1900–1981), the driving force of musical life in Ostrava, and I decided to invite to Ostrava, the coal city, even leading international representatives of modern music who – like Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Hindemith – knew how to play something, and to ‘employ’ them at our concerts. Even to the broader-minded residents of Ostrava this plan – as Hans Sachs said – must have seemed sheer delusion! In any event it was clear that personal appearances by these master musicians would be the most effective thing not only for them but also for contemporary music in general, which we had, however, begun to perform even by ourselves in the meantime. It began with the ‘violist’ Hindemith, who was the youngest composer and, if it turned out to be a flop, he was the one least like, relatively speaking, to weigh on our consciences. After I found out his Berlin address, Hindemith and I easily came to an agreement regarding his fee, the date (6 November 1931), and the pieces he would play (Concerto music for viola and chamber orchestra and Berlioz’s Harold in Italy), and on 4 November I welcomed him at the Přívoz railway station in Ostrava.
      The concert was superbly attended and, what’s more, it was broadcast (and therefore financially ‘supported’) by Czechoslovak Radio. This blunted attacks on my ‘extravagant’ projects (which were in fact extravagant).
      After the success of the first concert with Hindemith, I did not hesitate to organize another one for 6 December of the following year (with Vivaldi’s Concerto for Viola d’amour and Hindemith’s own Sonata No. 2 for Viola Solo). The day before the concert, the Classical Music Society organized a more intimate evening in the Arts Centre, at which, after my talk on Hindemith (before which he whimsically disappeared, apparently to avoid being the target of scathing glances, before I began to ‘tear him apart’), his song cycle Op. 8, Violin Sonata in D and Piano Suite from 1922 were performed. It was typical of Hindemith that after declaring, ‘since everybody plays so beautifully, I’ll play too,’ he then went off to his hotel to fetch his instrument and then gave an extra performance of Reger’s Suite for Viola.” Vogel thus established the tradition of presenting Hindemith’s work in Ostrava, a tradition that continues to this day.
      Hindemith’s first visit was in 1931, the year a new organ was installed in the Church of St Nicholas, in the village of Ludgeřovice, near Moravská Ostrava. According to memoirs and other records, Hindemith on this visit became very friendly with some musicians, composers, and organizers of musical life in Ostrava, which he was very interested in. Quite possibly he also had a look at, and listened to, the new Ludgeřovice organ, which was a real gem in its day. The relationship that Hindemith developed with the musicians and also the audience is demonstrated by the fact that he visited Ostrava again the next year.
      The first written record of Ludgeřovice is from January 1303, which is the official date that the village was established. It is an interesting history too. Thanks to its position in Silesia near the frontier with Poland and the considerable German influence, Ludgeřovice has experienced many a dramatic moment over the centuries.
      Today’s Church of St Nicholas is not the original one. The first church, dedicated to the same saint, dated from the early sixteenth century, and was made of wood. In 1795 construction began on a new church, which was now of stone masonry and was, which is the most important difference, bigger. It was completed three years later, and ceremoniously dedicated on 28 October 1798. Less than a hundred years went by and the people of Ludgeřovice asked permission, in 1887, to build a new church. In April 1906 all the terms and conditions had been met and the building of the new church was approved. On 25 June work began. By 18 November of the following year the lovely Neo-Gothic building of fired red brick was already finished, and on that day was dedicated by the assistant bishop of Olomouc, Monsignor Karel Wisnar. The Church of St Nicholas constitutes the main landmark of Ludgeřovice to this day. The present recording also includes the sounds of the church bells: Nicholas, dating from 1840, with a diameter of 35 cm, Jesus of Nazareth from 1887, with a diameter of 70 cm, Urban (whose date of origin is unknown) with a diameter of 82 cm, and Nicholas from 1907, with a diameter of 63 cm. The fifth bell, Alois, was given to the church by Father Alois Bitta (1867–1939).
      With the same attention that the inhabitants of Ludgeřovice devoted to the church that they had built in record time, they also devoted to the organ. It is almost unbelievable that in the social troubles and nationalist tensions of the early 1930s they found not only the time but also the money to build an original new organ. For this task, they chose the renowned organ-maker Rieger in Krnov

Jaromir Javurek

"Tuma's performance of the Organ Solo from the Glagolitic Mass is brisk and full of energy"
"Anyone who is used to Hindemith on neo-baroque organs, should take a listen to Tuma's readings"
"The way Tuma gets into the skin of Janacek is impressive. Just these four improvisations make this disc a worthy buy"

Joost van Beek, orgelnieuws.nl 12/2009


Further recordings by Jaroslav Tůma:

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