A rich bouquet of songs by Jiří Plocek that never fade

9 December 2020, 1:00
A rich bouquet of songs by Jiří Plocek that never fade

The poetic title Květy nevadnoucí (Flowers Never Fading) hides the most recent publishing achievement of Jiří Plocek. This compilation CD celebrates a quarter of a century since the establishment of the Moravian folklore series in his GNOSIS BRNO publishing house, which released fourteen albums created between 1995 and 2005. And they are not just ordinary albums. Jiří Plocek's enthusiasm and feeling for song is indisputable, but there is much more coming from the recordings – for example, it is the enthusiasm of the singers themselves, which Jiří Plocek fuelled during the recording sessions, while letting them play and sing according to their own will and mood. I must also emphasise the choice of performers themselves. The names have really become iconic by now – František Okénka, Zdeněk Kašpar, Karel Rajmic, Vlasta Grycová, Jiřina Miklošková and many others. Unfortunately, some of them have already departed from this world. Others, which we hear on the album as gifted children, are already rising to become another generations of singers – which is the case of Tomáš Beníček. I'm intentionally mentioning the singers, but the album itself also has a high musical quality. However, all the songs are performed by exceptional performers. This also gives them uniqueness in the spirit of a living folk tradition.

I think that the advantage of Jiří Plocek is a certain supraregional nature. His roots lie in the Vysočina region and he has spent his life in Brno, where influences from all over Moravia and partly from Slovakia meet. Moreover, he did not grow up in a folklore environment. So his view is clear and uninfluenced by anything. I consider this an immense advantage in his publishing, editorial and musical work. Jiří Plocek simply intuitively went for the simple beauty of the song and discovered more or less hidden treasures. Namely, jewels from the districts of Valašsko, Horňácko, Kyjovsko, Uherskohradišťsko, Uherskobrodsko and Moravské Kopanice. In his publishing work, four albums have also been dedicated to archival recordings, as they were represented, for example, by phonographic cylinders from the collections of Leoš Janáček or a medallion of the first violinist Jožka Kubík. These digitally remastered recordings are extremely valuable. However, they are not part of the Květy nevadnoucí compilation. This selection contains songs from ten records made particularly for the release of the CD by the GNOSIS BRNO publishing house.

I know most of the ten albums well. They are usually profile albums of certain singers or musical ensembles, despite also being reflections of the musical tradition of entire regions. It is also interesting to watch the publisher's selection for the album Květy nevadnoucí. Some songs were an obvious choice, in some cases my suggestion would be completely different. In the case of such a comprehensive work, which Jiří Plocek created, however, this is also remarkable for me.

And if you want to indulge in the experience on even more levels, I recommend, in addition to the CD, that you read his recently published book Zápisky potulného lidopisce (Notes of a Wandering Ethnologist). It describes many events related to the recording of the albums. An example can be the memories of the exceptional personality of the head teacher František Okénka from Horňácko and others.

For works that are a valorisation of the author's many years of work, it is difficult to criticise anything. Finding mistakes on something that makes me happy is difficult or next to impossible.

Most of the albums that are the source of this compilation have been sold out for many years. But if you want to taste at least part of their atmosphere, wander through the Moravian mountains and valleys with a song on your lips, you will surely be pleased with the existence of Květy nevadnoucí. Just as I am.

Photo by Marie Hvozdecká

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Editorial

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