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František Ignác Antonín Tůma (1704 - 1774)
Sinfonias, Partitas & Sonata


F1 0093  [8595017409325]  released 9/1999, remaster reissue 2006

play all Trio Sonatas - Antiquarius Consort Praga 69:11
I.Sonata in A minor - Vivace 1:54
I.Sonata in A minor - Largo 1:39
I.Sonata in A minor - Allegro 1:19
VIII.Partita in G major - Allegro 2:37
VIII.Partita in G major - Andante 3:59
VIII.Partita in G major - Menuet Trio 4:12
VIII.Partita in G major - Les Cloches 2:31
II.Partita in A minor - Allegretto 3:37
II.Partita in A minor - Andante 2:31
II.Partita in A minor - Allegro 1:24
II.Partita in A minor - Largo 2:29
II.Partita in A minor - Menuet 3:27
IX.Partita in F major - Allegro 3:27
IX.Partita in F major - Sarabanda 2:19
IX.Partita in F major - Menuet.Trio 3:27
IX.Partita in F major - Allegro 1:46
XI.Synfonia in B flat major - Adagio 3:25
XI.Synfonia in B flat major - Allegro 3:14
XI.Synfonia in B flat major - Andante 3:58
XI.Synfonia in B flat major - Allegretto 2:57
XII.Sinfonia in D major - Andante 1:34
XII.Sinfonia in D major - Allegro strepioso 3:29
XII.Sinfonia in D major - Sarabanda 2:08
XII.Sinfonia in D major - Menuet I.Menuet II 3:02
XII.Sinfonia in D major - La Bachante 2:16

František Tůma, an excellent player of the viola da gamba and theorbo, belongs with his work to the music of the Late Baroque. The polyphony of his composition predominates, but there are also homophonic movements with simpler harmonies foreshadowing the Classical music that was to come. Among instrumental works are his trio and quartet sonatas, symphonies, and partitas, mostly for string instruments and continuo, some of which, however, were also played by orchestras.

Václav Návrat - Baroque violin
Simona Pešková-Tydlitátová - Baroque violin
Petr Hejný - violoncello
Přemysl Vacek - archlute, Baroque guitar
Václav Luks - harpsichord

Goodbye to the Millennium. It feels like the end. The old technological world is slowly departing for the Absurd. There are thoughts of technological miracles, but the enthusiasm for change as been exhausted and things are now going back, back to the stagnant waters of the rule of nature, from whence the mountain-making processes of spiritual activity will again release them, like a fine foam of a new fabric of relations, like the fresh fragrance of concentration on the beauty of the world.
The new world will be a world of recycling and miniaturized structures. The energy shortage will force the human mind to make only effective decisions. Mankind will cease building megalomaniacal buildings and gigantic plans for machines that were meant to change the face of the Earth. It will no longer be possible to make enormous gestures with armies of moveable metal boxes. The senseless rat race will grind to a halt. There will no longer be any fuel.
But men and women will not become petrified. They will continue to eat and move — moving patiently and on foot (or on horseback). The speed of motion is relative. It depends only on the angle from which one sees things. When I turn my eyes not to the distance (to brave new worlds), but to the ground under my feet, I am amazed at the speed with which I'm walking through the grass. It's truly fascinating to watch a race of ants through their meadow rainorest or to follow a bomber dragonfly that's moving faster than the speed of sound over the bull-rushes. It's already all here. Breaking the laws of the natural world does not mean progress.
Man will certainly change. He must, otherwise he'll become extinct. He'll return to details, to enjoying things thoroughly, to choosing his own way through the world and to not being stuck in traffic jams in the dead world of concrete buildings.
The fundamental flora of biblical Paradise was the tree. The man of freedom will live amidst vegetation, and not amidst skyscrapers. The future of mankind is in the forest. And my vision of a perfect society is the Indian tribe.
It is interesting that technologically everything is heading in that direction. All machines and instruments are being miniaturized for personal use (just recall the term ‘personal computer', for instance). Man is externally linked to the internet by the mobile telephone. Through it, he will be able to communicate with anyone anywhere. Why, then, travel by aeroplane and with its jet engines burn up the Earth's ozone layer? Why conquer new territory, if the uniqueness of the personality can be accessible to anybody at any moment? Man's body will be connected with a place and draw from it strength that can spiritually be sent all over the world. What meaning will real physical contact with someone have, then, compared with indifferently passing by thousands of strangers behind the window of a bus or tram?
Only small things will be inexpensive, and only sensible things will be accessible. The wasteful person will become poor, and the spendthrift will die of cold or hunger. It will be a world of ‘skinflints', and a new art will come into being — the ‘art of recycling', which will be ever renewable. The idyllic world of the simple days gone by will soon no longer be such an ideal, because it is drawing near.
And that is also why the interpretation of early music is in crisis — the crisis of perfection. It is becoming modernistic, because it is being filled with the technology of the pride of being able to do everything, of having the full answer to everything, of being considered an expert on everything and one who has found the way to do it all, a man who exudes the certainty of being faultless.
This sound recording is a typical example. It abounds in ornamentation, stylization, detail, chords of basso continuo and special progressions. It is an extreme in the worked-out release of creative building blocks of ornamentation. It is perfect in the interplay of elements which are defined by the current trend of knowledge about the world of Baroque music.
The person who listens to it will be put into a genuinely positive frame of mind, because the music of Frantisek Ignac Antonin Tuma is genuinely beautiful, full of ideas and melodic invention, and imbued with associations of the many musical influences that came together in the spiritual world of post-Baroque Vienna. It is a sign of times that were pre-revolutionary (pre-Beethoven). Just like ours.
That is why listening to this recording ought to help one to meditate on the new world, on the meaning of the clash of old values and new hands, on the new piety, and sadness stemming from destruction, about reaching into the structure of things by perceiving them, about sensitivity, and about the limits of carving into the face of the Earth.
About the future. Who knows what we'll be playing next.

Václav Návrat

Frantisek Ignac Antonin Tuma was born on 2 October 1704 in Kostelec nad Orlici. It was from his father, the organist in Kostelec, that he received his first training in music. Later, in Prague, he attended a Jesuit seminary, and sang in the choir of the Church of St James. It was under the choirmaster there, Bohuslav Matej Cernohorsky, that he received further musical training. At the premiere of the opera Costanza e Fortezza, by Johann Joseph Fux, performed for the coronation of Emperor Charles VI as King of Bohemia, Tuma played the theorbo with Silvius Leopold Weiss. In 1722 he moved to Vienna allegedly to become Kapellmeister in a church. Tuma's name, however, first appears in the local records only in April 1729, when his son was born. In 1731 he became Court Composer and Kapellmeister to Prince Ferdinand Kinsky, who enabled him to study counterpoint under Fux. The relations between Tuma and Kinsky were excellent; for instance, the Prince was the godfather to three of Tuma's children, and in 1734 he recommended Tuma to the position of Kapellmeister in the Cathedral of St Vitus, Prague. Unfortunately the recommendation was made too late, and Tuma remained in his service till Kinsky died in 1741. Later he became head of the orchestra of Emperor Charles VI's widow. After her death, in 1750, Tuma remained on a decent pension (which she had ensured for him), and was for the next eighteen years active as a composer and accomplished player of the viola da gamba and theorbo. The Imperial Court greatly appreciated his skills as an instrumentalist. The Empress Maria Theresa commissioned him to compose on the psalm Miserere mei, and as a token of her gratitude presented him with a hundred ducats. In 1768 Tuma divorced his wife Alzbeta (Elisabeth) in order to enter the Premonstratensian monastery in Geras, Lower Austria. Five years later he came down with a chronic lung ailment, and returned to Vienna, where he died in hospital on 30 April 1774.
Tuma's work belongs to the music of the Late Baroque. His instrumental compositions are known today thanks to a modern edition of his music, but his vocal compositions still await their re-introduction. Of a total of 224 compositions by Tuma only 48 are instrumental. He was chiefly a composer of church music, as is evident from his 65 masses, 25 motets, 29 vespers and psalms, 20 litanies, 13 Antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary, five Stabat Maters, hymns, a Magnificat, and responsorios. Some of his masses are written in a strictly contrapuntal style, under the influence of his teacher, Fux, whereas others are a capella; the more modern and interesting are closer in style to Antonio Caldara. Many of Tuma's church compositions were known by Hayden and Mozart. Among these instrumental works are his trio and quartet sonatas, symphonies, and partitas, mostly for string instruments and continuo, some of which, however, were also played by orchestras. The polyphony of the composition predominates, but there are also homophonic movements with simpler harmonies foreshadowing the Classical music that was to come.

Vítězslav Janda

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