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H.I.F.Biber: ROSARY SONATAS
Lucie Sedláková Hůlová, Jaroslav Tůma

 

F10256   [8595017425624]   released 12/2020

Lucie Sedláková Hůlová - Baroque violin (coyp by Dalibor Bzirský)
Jaroslav Tůma - organ by Tobias Fleck (1712) reconstructed by Vladimír Šlajch (2019)

Selected sound clips:

play album Rosenkranz-Sonaten 2:07:18
1. Sonata 1 Praeludium 2:19
2. Sonata 3 Courente 3:06
3. Sonata 5 Praeludium 1:16
4. Sonata 9 Sonata 2:21
5. Sonata 10 Praeludium 1:14
6. Sonata 11 Sonata 2:31
7. Sonata 12 Aria Tubicinum 1:27
8. Sonata 14 [...] Grave 2:30
9. Sonata 16 Canzon 2:13
10. Passagalia 9:09

About Catching Biber’s Roses
     The Rosary Sonatas by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber are considered an absolutely unique phenomenon in music history. This fact is shown by the following combination – the music itself, its dedication to the fifteen mysteries of the rosary and the technical requirements of both the violin itself and the interpreting violinist. 
     The work was written about 1676 in Salzburg and was dedicated to the Salzburg Duke
-Archbishop Maximilian Gandolph Count von Kuenburg who was at the head of the Archdiocesan See, from 1668 to 1687. The composition faded into oblivion later and was rediscovered only in 1905. Since that time, it is regarded not only as a pearl of music history, but also as an insurmountable challenge for the masters of the violin.
     Like the date of its composition, the concrete assignment of the work and its connection with the mysteries of the rosary are veiled in a certain amount of uncertainty, in all its dimensions, as if this piece of music would rise from the fog and would only gradually gain clear contours. In that sense, the small painting of the little angels throwing roses, as depicted on the CD cover, is pertinent as it is a detail of the altarpiece located in the church in Horní Police (Czech Republic), representing the Visitation of Our Lady and painted by Franz Hagen, about whom little is known. In his composition, Biber simply threw the roses of the individual sonatas and their parts to us, and what we succeed in catching is up to us. On the one hand, one can consider the certain mysteriousness of the whole project while, on the other hand, the listener may look forward never to be upset with having listened to the CD too many times because it is possible to find something new again and again in this work, to catch the rose thrown by the angel in just another way.
     The connection of Biber’s sonatas with the prayer of the rosary is to be derived both from the title “Mystery Sonatas” and from the copper engravings accompanying the original edition of the sonatas and depicting the fifteen mysteries of the rosary. The sixteenth copper engraving, which precedes the passacaglia for solo violin, represents the Guardian Angel. Moreover, these copper engravings were found in another context. A leaflet of the Brotherhood of the Rosary was discovered in the Archive of the Archdiocese of Salzburg, in 2008; the copper engravings are represented in the same manner as in the leaflet. Therefore, one can relate the composition of the Rosary Sonatas to this Brotherhood, founded in 1676, as well as to the increase in pilgrimages to the nearby pilgrim destination Maria Plain, where the above-mentioned Salzburg Archbishop consecrated a new church in 1674.
     Based on this information, the listener might expect that the Rosary Sonatas would be a sort of programmatic music in which the mysteries are to be heard. Nevertheless, the sonatas seem to emerge from the fog, also in this dimension, since they attain clear contours only gradually. Of course, it is possible that the listener will perceive the whizz of the angel’s wings in the quick passages in the first sonata, the beating of a whip in the repeated saraband figures in the seventh sonata, the blows of the hammer in staccato rhythms in the tenth sonata and the tearing of the veil in the sanctuary in Jerusalem in its fast sections. In the eleventh sonata, the echo of the Easter song allows us no suspicion that this piece of music deals with the Resurrection of Jesus. In the following sonata, its solemn key, the rhythm and the rising melody may simply evoke the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. However, there are a number of parts which clearly can be attributed to any of the mysteries of the rosary yet the message of the tones for that particular mystery seems to be hidden to us. The composition may sometimes be explicitly confusing. For instance, I have been convinced for a long time that the scordatura, with the crossed middle strings, should clearly recall the cross and the Crucifixion of Jesus and yet it is used in the following sonata related to the Resurrection of Jesus.
     Despite all this, we can try to find a certain illustration of the content of the mysteries of the rosary in the individual sonatas.

     The first five sonatas reflect on the five Joyful Mysteries. These mysteries have to do with the beginning of human salvation in Jesus Christ and with the events that occurred immediately before the birth of Jesus as well as episodes from his childhood.
     The first sonata, regarding the Annunciation, is composed in the key of D minor and has normal violin tuning. At the beginning we may perceive the arrival of the Angel and his words: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30). A quieter passage follows, evoking Mary’s humility. Afterwards we hear variations developed above the basso ostinato, which are full of both peace and disquiet. The conclusion of the sonata may be able to image both the Angel as he departs, and the words of the Holy Scripture related to the coming Messiah: “Of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:33). 
     The second sonata regards the mystery of the Visitation. The violin is tuned in fifths and octaves on the tones A, E1, A1 and E2. The key of A major creates for us an intimate and peaceful atmosphere, characteristic of the meeting of two women who communicate the joyful news to each another that they will become mothers. The allemande and the final presto express the delight radiating from the Magnificat: “Behold, from now on all ages will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:48-49).
     The Birth of Our Lord and the Adoration of the Shepherds are the topics of the third sonata in B minor. The violin is tuned in the scordatura B, F sharp1, B1 and D2. The sonata starts with a meditative passage followed by the solemn proclamation of the heavenly choirs: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Lk 2:14). A short presto follows, probably representing the shepherds hurrying to the crib. Afterwards the music returns to its original tempo. The dancing courante melody is sensitively and gradually embellished and may represent the adoration of the shepherds and their gifts brought to the new-born Child. The adagio brings the sonata to its end awakening a peaceful, humble but yet solemn air of adoration.
     The Presentation in the Temple is depicted in the fourth sonata in the key of D minor with the scordatura A, D1, A1 and D2. The sonata has only one part in the musical form of a chaconne in which the bass motif is repeated thirteen times. Over the bass motif the composer arranged diverse melodic and virtuoso variations for violin, as if the music represents Simeon holding the small Jesus in his arms and, at the same time, showing him to us, again and again, as the one who has become the fulfilment of his hopes: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation. A light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Lk 2:29-30.32).
     The fifth sonata in the key of A major and with the scordatura A, E1, A1 and C sharp2 is dedicated to the mystery of the rosary contemplating the Twelve-year old Jesus in the Temple. At the beginning of the sonata we hear a short, rhythmically precise motif reminding us of Jesus’ words pronounced in the Temple, which were clear and astonished the people present. The subsequent allemande may depict the strength of Jesus’ words and its perky feature may recall the ease of his argumentation. The gigue that follows evokes the same impression in the listener’s mind. The saraband leads us to adoration of this young man, whom we identify as the Son of God. The fast figures double concluding the sonata confirm our persuasion. Although the concern for the lost Jesus on his return from Jerusalem and a certain bewilderment after being found are usually a part of this rosary mystery, it seems that this motif is not to be found in the sonata. But, who knows.

     The second set of five sonatas is dedicated to the Sorrowful Mysteries, that is, to the passion of Jesus.
     The sixth sonata in the key of G minor with the scordatura A flat, E flat1, G1 and D2 recalls the Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is an incredibly expressive lamentation manifesting the suffering, the cry of the soul in the face of the dreaded agony, fear and trembling, but also a harmony evidencing the firm union with God. It is perhaps the most beautiful and the most impressive sonata. In the middle of the sonata there is a saraband bringing an air of consolation through its quiet rhythm. In the composition, in a minor key, there is sometimes a flash of a major chord or a short passage evoking the consoling acceptance of God’s will: “Yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42).
     The seventh sonata in the key F major with the scordatura C1, F1, A1 and C2 calls to mind the Scourging of Jesus. There are not very many tragic tones in this sonata. The atmosphere of the work points to the fact that Jesus has accepted his passion as a mission given to him by the Father and, with this assurance, he is capable of rising above the physical suffering. We may discern the scourging in the saraband, in the second half where, in a certain fashion, an abrupt and discontinuous rhythm is scored for the violin part. Nevertheless, we do not encounter hopelessness in this piece, if only occasionally in the next to last variation, to elicit the listener’s peaceful compassion.
     B flat major is the key of the eighth sonata meditating on Jesus Being Crowned with Thorns. The scordatura of this sonata is composed of tones D1, F1, B flat1 and D2. The adagio at the beginning shows the dignity of Jesus being humiliated. The following presto, with its roughness, represents the actual crowning with thorns, in all the brutality of that act. Afterwards, the composition returns to a compassionate tone. The gigue with both doubles is regarded as a certain coronation hymn responding to Pilate’s question: “Then you are a king?” with the words: “You say I am a king” (Jn 18:37).
     Christ Carrying the Cross to Golgotha represents the subject of the ninth sonata in the key of A minor and with the scordatura C1, E1, A1 and E2. The beginning of the sonata, with its slowly ascending and marching melody over the bass, evokes the ascent to Golgotha. The calm music is interrupted with wild passages, which probably depict the shouting, hateful crowd. At the end of the first part we may hear triplets which could symbolise Jesus’ exhaustion. The courante starts in a conciliatory manner and is probably a reflection on Simon of Cyrene helping Jesus to carry the cross. However, the quick changes depict Jesus’ exhausting climb up the hill. In this sonata some motifs appear that are heard in the first one, as if the composer wanted to emphasize that what was announced to Mary was fulfilled through the walk up to Golgotha. As if the phrase, often repeated by the evangelists in the Passion, resounds: “In order that the scripture might be fulfilled” (Jn 19:28). At the end of the sonata we hear triplets again, a sign of total exhaustion after having reached Calvary.
     The tenth sonata in the key of G minor with the scordatura G, D1, A1 and D2 concludes the sorrowful mysteries and deals with the Crucifixion of Jesus. The sonata begins with a vibrant chord followed by a staccato melody suggesting the nailing of Jesus to the cross and his cries of pain. The final chord of this part is marked with “piano” which might lead the listener from thoughts on suffering to those on the salvation of the human being. It is as if the melody of the aria that follows depicts the panorama and the questions posed by it, while the major chord at the end of the passage brings a ray of light and hope. The music offers a thought on the entrusting of the Mother of God to the disciple and on the entrusting of the disciple to the Mother of God. A certain decisiveness of this part underlines the courage of the people standing around the cross, Mary, John, Mary Magdalene and others. The end of the sonata, resembling a dance in ecstasy, sets one free from the grip of pain and suffering. The wild violin passages recall the fact that when Jesus died, “the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Mt 27:51-52). It is a symbol of the fact that death was conquered by death and that the last abyss between God and man was destroyed. We are free!

     The third group of five mysteries of the rosary is known as the Glorious Mysteries, dealing with the triumph of Jesus, the descent of the Holy Spirit and the glorification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
      The eleventh sonata in the key of G major with the extraordinary scordatura G, G1, D1 and D2, requiring the crossing of two middle strings, deals with the Resurrection of Jesus. The scordatura makes it possible to play very simply in octaves, a technique that is also used in the middle part of the sonata.  The sonata is a passacaglia on the theme of the hymn “Surrexit Christus hodiæ” which is of Polish origin and has appeared in numerous versions, especially in German speaking areas, since 1561. The melody is repeated in the bass five times and the violin gradually creates the canon counterpoint over the melody. A sixth time, the strain is reprised in octaves by the violin and the counterpoint prevails over the bass. Subsequently, the melody and the counterpoint alternate and in the end its repetition appears in unison in three octaves. Before this middle passage, there is an introduction using various unusual inversions, which represent the unique miracle of the Resurrection. The conclusion of the sonata suggests admiration and pious contemplation of this mystery: “He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Mt 28:6).
     The following sonata, the twelfth, composed in the key of C major with the scordatura C1, E1, G1 and C2, reflects on the Ascension of the Lord. The introduction, imitating fanfares of trumpets in the violin part, evokes this joyful event. The Tubicinium Aria follows, as a solemn passage with motifs consisting of a natural series of harmonic tones, which again imitate trumpets, whereas bass part sounds like the beat of the timpani. Accompanied by these solemn tones, Christ ascends into heaven. The subsequent allemande continues the reflection on the Ascension of Jesus, while the courante with double is a joyful dance which might illustrate the words of the liturgy: “The angels gazed in wonder. Mediator between God and man, judge of the world and Lord of hosts, he ascended, not to distance himself from our lowly state” (Preface of Ascension of the Lord I).   
     The key of the thirteenth sonata is D minor with the scordatura A, E1, C sharp2 and E2 and it deals with the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The initial piece is of a mysterious and, at the same time, solemn nature. The beginning, in a fine colour of tones, is alternated with forte and fortissimo, in a cascade of triplets and trills. This passage recalls the sound which came from heaven when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles gathered in the cenacle, according to the words of the Bible: “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:2.4). A noble gavotte follows, pointing out the fact that, at the same time, this event is full of mystery. The gigue similarly comes with fire. The sonata is concluded with the saraband, which is a baroque way of expressing the strong penetration of the Holy Spirit.
     The fourteenth sonata, composed in D major, narrates the Assumption of Our Lady and uses the scordatura A, E1, A1 and D2. The sonata starts with features we could notice already in the first, sixth and ninth sonatas. The subsequent piece of music is an aria in the form of 
a passacaglia. At the same time, it is an exhaustive and virtuoso glorification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The melody of the hymn “Seele, dein Heiland ist frei von den Banden” (Soul, your Saviour is free of the bonds) can be heard in the middle of this passage. At the end of the passacaglia, the violin enters after only two bars of the basso ostinato and remains in a two-beat delay. It is considered to be an expression of Mary’s departure from this world: “We celebrate the feast day in honour of the Virgin Mary, at whose Assumption the Angels rejoice” (Entrance Antiphon, Mass during the Day, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
     The fifteenth sonata presents the Crowning of Our Lady in Heaven. It is written in the key of C major and uses the scordatura G, C1, G1 and D2. The beginning of the sonata is solemn and is followed by the fugato, in a nearly orchestral notation. The composition continues with a sensitive aria, which is a point of departure for a series of three very diverse variations. The first of them is solemn and virtuoso, the second humble and soft, and the third one brilliant. The canzona follows and is composed in strict counterpoint based on the theme of the aria. The sonata ends with the saraband. This sonata concludes the whole cycle just as the mystery of the Crowning of Our Lady completes the prayer of the rosary and points to the final destiny of the human person, who is the crown of Creation.

     Far from being a simple appendix, the passacaglia (passagalia is written in the manuscript) for solo violin called “Guardian Angel” is added to the series of fifteen sonatas composed on the motifs of the mysteries of the rosary. It is possible that the members of the Rosary Brotherhood recited the prayer in honour of the Guardian Angel after having said the rosary. This work is written in the key of G minor and has normal violin tuning, meaning without the scordatura. The theme of the passacaglia occurs sixty-five times in the composition. Its constant and unchanging presence may have a symbolic meaning, namely, regardless of how the word changes, the messenger of God, always at our disposal, is ready to help us, not only in the moments of our varied and constantly changing life situations, but also in the fundamental direction of our existence, that is, on the journey to God. Precisely therefore, the Guardian Angel, who is depicted in the copper engraving preceding the composition, holds the child entrusted to him with one hand, while with the other hand he points toward heaven. “For God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways” (Ps 91:11).
     The preceding commentary does not constitute an exhaustive analysis of this unique series of compositions, but it should represent just a short introduction to a continuously new meditation on the mysteries of God’s action in history, both on a grand scale and on our personal level. Let us catch Biber’s roses persistently, again and again, being thrown to us by the angels, as depicted on the cover of this CD, through the magnificent music interpreted by Lucie Sedláková Hůlová and Jaroslav Tůma.

Stanislav Přibyl

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber of Bibern (1644–1704) was born in the small town of Wartenberg, known today as Stráž pod Ralskem (Czech Republic). He obtained his musical education at the Jesuit secondary grammar school in Opava. There he met Pavel Josef Vejvanovský and from 1668, at the latest, he played with him in the ensemble of Bishop Karel II of Lichtenstein-Kastelkorn (1624–1695) in Olomouc and Kroměříž. However, he did not stay in the service of this bishop for a long time. He went on a business trip from which did not return and, in 1670, he was employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg Maximilian Gandolph Count von Kuenburg (1622–1687). There he became vice-choirmaster of the Archbishop’s ensemble, in 1678, and was appointed as conductor, in 1684. He married in 1672 and with his wife Mary he had eleven children. Three of his sons became musicians and two of his daughters entered religious life. Biber was appreciated both as a composer and a celebrated violin virtuoso. On account of his compositions Emperor Leopold I raised him to the rank of an aristocrat, in 1690. In 1692, he was appointed as major-domo of Archbishop Johann Ernst Count von Thun-Hohenstein (1643–1709). He died in Salzburg, on May 3, 1704, and was buried in Petersfriedhof cemetery.
     His work is characterised by his preference for special harmonic progressions, which were fully employed later on, especially in the compositions written by Johann Pachelbel and Johann Sebastian Bach. As for his pieces of music for violin solo, he often specifies an unconventional tuning of the instrument, the so-called scordatura. 
 

Thanks for Biber’s Roses…
     At present Biber’s Rosary Sonatas are my favourite violin repertoire from the baroque era. Nevertheless, when I was given the chance to play five of them in a concert seven years ago, 
I wanted to refuse because Biber specifies a different tuning of the violin strings, the so-called scordatura, for each sonata. It is a special technique, commonly used in the baroque, of retuning the strings to reach a particular colour of tones and the possibility of unusual harmonic chords. It seemed unreal to me to retune the strings five times during one concert and to be completely able to play the notes according to the notation when using the usual finger placements, since the tones being performed on retuned strings sound totally different. However, my curiosity did not leave me in peace and so I started to play gradually what Biber wrote and specified. 
     I realised soon enough that the retuning of the strings for each sonata is not without purpose and that, at the same time, it is not possible in some way to avoid it. Or more precisely, it is, but if so, the composition does not sound like it was meant to sound. A special case is the sonata number 11 for which is it necessary to cross two middle strings (behind the bridge and before the nut, that is, in the peg box of the scroll) and thanks to that crossing one can play chords which are commonly unable to be performed.
     After having played the sonatas (however, always only some of them) in numerous concerts, I do not now regret, at all, that I dared to discover this unique work despite all the complexities. It is a never-ending process since each performance is specific and one has to adjust to all conditions. The organ in a church may be tuned in differently, with a different stop-list. The acoustics and the place itself play their role when it comes to the appropriate sound effect of these sonatas. Last but not least, is the personality of the organist, who decisively contributes to the final interpretation. Biber scored the violin part of the Rosary Sonatas quite in detail, including the improvisational parts. On the other hand, the part of the accompanying harmonic instrument disposes of one line with only the figured bass notation. It is an instruction indicating which chords are to be used in which parts. However, an experienced player can finalise and embellish his/her part within the given harmony. In that respect it is my great pleasure that it has been possible for me to collaborate with Jaroslav Tůma, both in this recording and in numerous concerts, because his spontaneous musicality is catching, and his musical inventiveness is inspirational.
     The place for the recording was not chosen accidentally. We wanted to record in a church and to play a baroque violin with catgut strings and in the basic tuning A = 415 Hz. It was necessary to find a suitable organ fitting these requirements. Such an ideal organ is situated in a significant Marian place of pilgrimage, in the church dedicated to the Visitation of Our Lady in Horní Police (Česká Lípa Disctrict). Moreover, it is only 35 km from Stráž pod Ralskem where Biber was born. We considered it symbolic that Biber’s work will “be revived” in his native region where otherwise his precious music legacy is nearly forgotten.
     When thinking about recording this CD, the place of pilgrimage in Horní Police, including the organ, was close to its reopening after near total restoration. When we were able to see, in July 2020, whether or not our choice was fortunate, we were pleasantly surprised to what extent the organ and the space itself were appropriate for this project. It is probable that Biber intended also to achieve the fine colourful progression of the individual keys, by means of the specified scordaturas. In combination with the mean-tone temperament of the organ in Horní Police, I had to adjust both the tuning of the violin and the finger positions in order to perform sound effects that were unrepeatable. As a consequence, the individual sonatas became even more original.
     Initially, I wanted to record the whole cycle playing one violin. Due to the demanding retuning within the time we had at our disposal, this idea proved to be too risky. Therefore, the violin maker Dalibor Bzirský, a copy of whose baroque violin I play, lent me another one. An important aspect consisted also in the fact that I decided to use another kind of catgut strings than I had been used to, up to then. I placed an order with an American manufacturer in May 2020 to have enough time to test them. As a consequence of the limited overseas air transport during the coronavirus epidemic, however, the strings were delivered only one week before recording. Despite the shortage of time, they acquitted themselves well.
     I had hesitated for a long time, if it makes sense nowadays, to record and issue a CD. When I stayed at home in the spring 2020 for a number of weeks, due to the worldwide isolation caused by the coronavirus, and I had been playing the violin without the prospective of a concert or a social event, I realised that it is exactly a CD which is resistant and durable, to withstand all viruses and restrictions. Moreover, the isolation helped me to meditate on the individual mysteries of the rosary in a more profound way. In the end I was convinced that, in fact, it was an appropriate time to record a CD. It is said: “He who sings prays twice.” I feel this is valid also for playing a musical instrument… Thanks to the CD you have in your hands, I believe that you will be touched by the symbiosis of the space, the music, the instruments, the spirituality and the creative and friendly atmosphere which we felt, both during the recording and the subsequent preparations for issuing the CD.
     I thank everyone who helped me to fulfil my dream, especially Jaroslav Tůma, Vítězslav Janda, Stanislav Přibyl and my family.

Lucie Sedláková Hůlová

The violinist Lucie Sedláková Hůlová studied at the Conservatory and at the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts, both in Prague. She participated in many master courses and won a number of prizes in international competitions. She has performed numerous successful solo concerts with orchestras, and she is frequently requested to play chamber music. Moreover, she is committed to pedagogical activities. Together with her husband, cellist Martin Sedlák, she is a member of the Czech String Duo and, with their two children, as the Sedlák Virtuosi, they give occasional concerts. In 1998 she and her husband founded the piano trio, known as Kinsky Trio Prague, which currently includes pianist Veronika Böhmová. Lucie often gives concerts with her father, violinist Pavel Hůla. She is a soloist and a member of the Praga Camerata chamber orchestra. She has devoted herself to the authentic interpretation of ancient music. In this area she collaborates with famous ensembles (for instance Capella Regia, Musica Florea, Capella Ornamentata) and soloists. As a soloist she is committed to the interpretation of Biber’s Rosary Sonatas with their original scordaturas. For a few seasons she played in youth orchestras (Orchestra of the European Union, UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra) and she collaborated with world renowned conductors and soloists. Together with all these ensembles, also as a soloist, she has already given hundreds of concerts in various festivals and in the most famous concert halls all over the world. On this CD she plays a copy of a baroque violin made by Dalibor Bzirský according to the model of Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù "Leduc", 1745.

www.lucie.kinskytrio.cz

Violin I:  op. 157, Praga anno 2012 (Sonatas 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16)
Violin II: op. 252, Praga anno 2020 (Sonatas 3, 7, 8, 9, 12)
www.bzirsky-violin.cz

Strings by Damian Dlugolecki www.damianstrings.com
Bow by Peter Richtárik www.bowmaker.sk
 

Jaroslav Tůma is a concert organist and professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He gives concerts playing, in addition, the harpsichord, the clavichord, the fortepiano and other keyboard musical instruments. He is heavily involved in compositional and publishing activities. He studied at the Prague Conservatory with Professor Jaroslav Vodrážka (organ) and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under Professors Milan Šlechta (organ) and Zuzana Růžičková (harpsichord). He is the winner of improvisation competitions in Nuremberg, Germany (1980) and Haarlem, the Netherlands (1986). Furthermore, he has won 
a number of organ competitions in interpretation: Anton Bruckner in Linz (1978), Prague Spring (1979) and Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig (1980). He regularly performs on stage both in the Czech Republic and abroad. He is often invited to international music competitions either as the president or a member of the jury. He teaches at international organ master courses and seminars. His repertoire includes the most important compositions by both Czech and world-renowned composers, with a wide range of styles, from the Renaissance to the 21st century. Jaroslav Tůma is also dedicated to organ improvisation. His discography comprises more than sixty solo CDs, for the most part released by Arta Music, since 2001. He composed the musical score for the documentary film Proměny Pražského hradu (Changes at Prague Castle) by Pavel Koutecký. He wrote two anthologies containing organ compositions on themes by Adam Václav Michna: Svaté lásky labirynth aneb Česká mariánská muzika (The Labyrinth of Sacred Love or Bohemian Marian Music) (2014) and Loutna česká (The Bohemian Lute) (2016). He is the author of the following expert publications: O interpretaci varhanní hudby s přihlédnutím k jiným klávesovým nástrojům (On Interpreting Organ Music with regard to Other Keyboard Musical Instruments) (2016), K vybraným varhanním skladbám Petra Ebena (On Selected Organ Compositions by Petr Eben) (2019), Klavichord - téměř zapomenutý nástroj (The Clavichord: A Nearly Forgotten Instrument) (2019).

www.jaroslavtuma.cz


You can also listen to Lucia Sedláková Hůlová on the recording of the Czech String Duo. Jaroslav Tůma can be heard on many CDs from the Arta catalog - here is the selection:

   

© Studio Svengali, April 2021
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