Welcome to the on-line-store ARTA Music cz en

Jan Jirásek: Chamber Music


F10054   [8595017405426]   released 7/1994

Chamber Music - Jan Jirásek 67:45
Katharsis 10:31
Panem et circenses 12:54
Labyrint 15:04
Kyrie eleison 7:38
Zoe 8:10
Dilema 12:37

Quartetto con flauto – Václav Slivanský / flute, Ada Slivanská / violin, Lubomír Herza / cello, Renata Jelínková / harpsichord
Prague Percussion Project – Amy Lynn Barber / artistic director
Josef Fojta, Pavel Skála / soloists
Amy Lynn Barber, Ivan Hoznedr, Jaromír Kubíček, David Řehoř / percussions
Adam Klemens / conductor
Irmela Nolte / flute
Jan Jirásek / voice, / synthesizer
Jiří Strohner / programming
Boni Pueri / boys' choir
Jiří Skopal / conductor
Jaroslav Tůma / harpsichord
Marek Jerie / cello

THE OBSTACLES JUST HELPED ME ON MY WAY . . . was how Jan Jirásek (9. 1. 1955, Rychnov n. Kn., E. Bohemia) described his efforts to become a composer, the detours and short˝cuts of a path that led from schoolboy pieces at thirteen, private tuition from Miroslav Raichl during his studies at the Hradec Králové Pedagogical Faculty, persistent rejection of his egually persistent applications to study at the Prague Academy of Music ... From the local music school in Náchod he went to the Janáček Academy of Music in Brno (1981 - 85) and co˝operated with the Music Department of the Czechoslovak Radio in Hradec Králové and later in Prague.
     Since 1990, he has been programme director o the Audiostudio at the Czech Radio in Prague; his own works have been widely acclaimed abroad at concerts and festivals (Synth×se 90, Bourges; Elektromusik Festival, Stockholm; Les Colloques de Jeunes Compositeurs de Musique Electro-accoustique UNESCO, Paris; Internationale Orgelwoche, Nuremberg; Tschechische Nacht, Munich; Schleswig-Holstein Festival; Prague Spring; New York, Linz, Warsaw, San Francisco, Mannheim, Regensburg and elsewhere).
     Jan Jirásek follows no specific model in his technique nor is he influenced by others' inventions: As for taking a model, I am convinced that one can only express one's own self. In this respect I agree with the German poet Heinrich Heine who wrote that a dwarf standing on a giant's shoulder can see farther, but that doesn't give him a giant's heart. It is worthwhile striving for profound artistic experience. And the obstacles in my way helped me there.
     As a student at JAMU, Jirásek began to be interested in musical theory and evolved a remarkable concept of musical evolution. He based his theory of the primary musical quality of choice (height, length, colour, dynamics, apace and sonority) on the fact that changes in their inter-relations can lead to structural reactions and change the musical direction (treated in detail in his Changes in the relative significance of the primary musical qualities, and their possible use in electroacoustic music , Opus musicum, Brno 1988). At the creative workshop, which was part of the Brno International Music Festival, Jirásek spoke about Music and Ecology.
     His own work has a special quality of directness; demanding in their execution, their simplicity of expression allows us to glimpse the profound thought it clothes. Complexity of structure may sometimes conceal the composer's uncertainty and indecision. In my veiw, it takes real daring to express a simple, straightforward idea. His creative egoism is the hallmark of all honest art. I have to write music that in the first place satisfies myself. Unless I am sure that I have written the best I am capable of at the time, I can't hope to take my audience with me.
     The titles of Jirásek's works recorded here are worth noting: There is no need to look for hidden meanings in the titles - the music itself explains them. Each title will suggest a specific state of mind, an experience, a special world, to the sensitive perceptive listener. And if the listener's feelings or mood agree at least in part with that evoked by the title, I am quite satisfied.
     Since 1988, Jirásek has been invited to take part in international festival workshops (the Ost-West Dialog at the Linz Ars electronica Festival, four times), and has given lectured as well as TV and radio talks and interviews (Czech Radio; Czech TV; Free Europe Radio; Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne; Bayerischer Rundfunk; Hessischer Rundfunk; Spanish TV, Madrid; and elsewhere). In 1994, he gave several lectures to students in USA (New York, Pennsylvania). His coming in from outside was recognized in 1991, at last, when he was awarded a Czech Music Fund prize for his Labyrinth (for flute, untutored male voice, and electronic instruments). The video version of this work was shown on Czech TV (scenario and direction Petr Vrána); at the Dance Screen Festival, Frankfurt a. M.; the San Francisco Festival; and elsewhere. Among his recent works is the music for the international theatre project The Tower of Babel , directed by Josef Krofta, while his last composition Missa propria (for boys' voices) was given its first performance at the 1994 Prague Spring Festival. He is now working to complete Carl Orff's unfinished Passion according to St. Luke , commissioned by the Munich Philharmonic, to be given its first performance in June 1995.
     Critics abroad appreciate the broad range of Jirásek's means of expression, his penchant for an open, soaring sound , and his delightful music of the spheres . His work is alive with contrast, and despite the complexity of its demands on the performers, it reveals a basic simplicity. He obviously does not aim at confrontation, but on the contrary, he wants to open the listener's ears, not to scare him off. By clothing his ideas in this form, Jirásek leads his audience by the hand.

Catharsis (1990) Our life up to now has accustomed us to accept lies as being normal. We knew what was required of us, and we knew that the way we talked at home was not the way to talk at school. We got used to this dichotomy in our lives, but it warped us. Even now, when we can all speak the truth, that mentality persists. Catharsis is a purification, clearing out the filth inside us. Like everybody else, I had to take those exams in Marx-Leninism, and like everybody else, I felt soiled by it, I needed to get it out of my system. For the future. Both the flute and the harpsichord are suitable instruments for that, endowed with a great capacity for intimacy...

Panem et circenses (1992) Six percussion instruments was the set condition for what was meant to be the final work performed at the Munich Biennale. It is above all a scenic work, the six players also having a visual function, especially in duo, but there are intimate passages to provide contrast. The unusual combination of swishing, whistling and human voices is achieved by four of the players whirling electricians' goose-necks above their heads.

Labyrinth (1986) I cannot say what moved me to compose this work, but I do know what I did not have in mind: that no composition for flute and untutored voice yet existed and therefore... It was partly my personal life that year (1986), when I was depressed, feeling that I would never be a composer, while the powers-that-were in musical life allowed suspect individuals to climb to the top with suspect works . I also wanted to try out my qualities theory, that space and sonority, as they change, can convey new information. Delay changes with repetition. But I did not think, then, that I was writing the vocal part for myself.

Kyrie eleison (1991), originally a separate work dedicated to Professor J. Skopal and the Hradec boys' choir Boni Pueri, was added by the composer to his freely-arranged Missa propria (1994). It expresses my attitude to the spiritual world. We are really in the Protestant tradition, but ritual is evocative for us, too, although I have not mastered it. For me, every word is a symbol, an expression of faith. The medieval Catholic turned Kyrie into kirmiss , didn't he? These are matters where one can only speak for oneself, if one is honest. If one is lucky, perhaps one can speak for others as well...

Zoe (1990) in Greek philosophy meant the fount of wisdom. This is an intimate work. The path to knowledge. There are things you have to work out for yourself, usually the everyday things. Because the mystery we seek does not lie in being different at all cost; it is all around us. Everywhere. What we are seeking, travelling miles to find, is around or within us all the time.

Dilemma (1987) This was written at a time when I felt professional opportunity slipping away from me. My work was not performed and I was out of the accepted mainstream. If only somebody had listened to my work and said it was good or bad! It was humiliating even to consider begging for attention, or trying to get official support.

Stanislav Bohadlo

© Studio Svengali, January 2022
coded by rhaken.net