Josef Klíč & His One Man Cello Squad

3 February 2020, 1:00

Josef Klíč & His One Man Cello Squad

The cellist Josef Klíč, concert master of the Janáček Theatre in Brno, is close to classical music as well as underground, works together with poets and wrote several essential compositions exploring the border between contemporary and alternative music. His new solo album, Josef Klíč & His One Man Cello Squad, contains songs without words, which is, as Klíč pointed out in an interview last year for our server, a form that "existed already in the Renaissance times". And he explains: "A song without words is a composition that you can put your own lyrics into. It has a melody and you can sing the lyrics to it for yourself. Therefore, it must be a song with a powerful melody." 

At the very beginning of the album was the song Scarred Heart’s Grin, with which Klíč as the author was shortlisted for the finals of an international composers' competition. When asked what such success means to him, he said: "Most importantly, it is important to me that what I do is not entirely unnecessary, that someone else can notice it and that it can reach a larger mass of people. I always felt like I was on the edge of genres and this kicked me off a bit. I feel that the journey is not completely pointless." And this journey has now resulted in the composition of an additional six instrumental songs, most of which far exceed the normal length of, for example, a radio hit. Klíč works mostly with a "song" length of between six and eight minutes, allowing it to develop its melodic and sound ideas, while still retaining the listener's attention.

Although the album can be referred to as a solo recording and its title includes the phrase "one man", it is indeed a very colourfully arranged work. In doing so, most of the tones were acquired by Klíč by laying individual cello tracks over one another. Cello thus plays both the basic melodic and harmonic roles (thanks to the layering of tracks) and last but not least the rhythmic role in the compositions. Other sounds play a more mood-setting role, such as a chain in the composition Ku blankytu [To the Azure]  or a female voice or laughter (Tereza Lexová) in several compositions. Even here, however, it applies that the voice is not the carrier of meaning, but only one of the colours used. Incidentally, thanks to the use of different playing techniques and Klíč's interpretive mastery, the overlapping cello tracks do not sound here like a single multiplied instrument, but like a true chamber orchestra with different colours and shades.

And just like the artist works here with colours and with the development of the melody on their layout, he obviously also works with other core elements of the compositions – rhythm and tempo and dynamics. At the same time, he cruises through music genres that are close to him, whether it is a "squeaking" alternative in Ku blankytu, elements of theatre music or jazz in Asanace, or basically a pop melody in the closing song Matouš 28, which was created by remaking an older Klíč's song. It is remarkable with the work with the bass line in contrast to protracted higher tones. The previous Hliněná tabulka [A Clay Board]  could have a very successful cover version with electronic accompaniment – as if it were the form to which Klíč with his rhythmic pizzicato under the main melody heralded the way.

The songs from the album may not have lyrics, but the names suggest a lot and the style of play often gives the full hint. Varování noci [Warning of the Night], for example, is a very dramatic piece in which cellos evoke a horror atmosphere perhaps even more than the woman's cry and the imitation of clock ticking at the end. Boží lano[God's Rope]  then urges the story to be created exactly according to Klíč's instructions: "I do not want to impose on the audience what it is directly all about. People can put their own story in there, and the song title itself is a guideline."

Cello has been a relatively fashionable instrument in recent years. All around the world, and in this country as well, we know cello bands that play metal for example. Pavel Čadek, who accompanies himself on cello, is a great discovery on the singer-songwriters' scene here. Josef Klíč, however, came up with something different. With his solo album, arranged thoroughly to the last detail, on which he valorised his experience from classical music as well as from rock and underground and created an exceptionally high-quality basis for listeners' imagination. The songs are without words, however, they have powerful stories. Stories of every one of us.

Josef Klíč & His One Man Cello Squad; Indies Happy Trails 2019; 7 tracks; total playing  time: 43:19

Photo by Jiří Sláma

Comments

Reply

No comment added yet..

“Every theatre is a madhouse, but opera is the ward for the incurable,” claimed Franz von Dingelstedt, the first director of the Court Opera House in Vienna. And he was right, for once someone’s fallen in love with opera, that’s it. Opera’s a stepchild of the Renaissance, with a Baroque wet nurse: it was on the cusp between these two great eras that the idea of purely sung theatre saw the light of day. Step by step, composers taught the art of singing to classical gods and brave women, Christian heroes and pagan enchantresses, a Seville barber, a Babylonian king and the Czech Mařenka and Jeník. But it was only here in Brno, thanks to Leoš Janáček, that truly psychological musical drama was born, drama that sees into a person’s heart. Today the Brno opera company has its home in a theatre named after Janáček, mounts a major festival devoted to the city’s most famous composer every two years, and has set its sights very high. “The more opera is dead, the more it flourishes,” pronounced the philosopher Slavoj Žižek when speaking of this fanatically loved but just as fanatically rejected genre. By this measure, opera in Brno these days must have been dead at least a dozen times.  more

To write a guide to music in Brno in the past and present means digging deep into one’s own recollections and those of others as well as into sources with varying degrees of reliability, and as far as possible not believing anything automatically but always asking “Did this really happen just like that?” And in doing so, to be very, very suspicious of one’s own memory. Two basic questions that cropped up in connection with almost every sentence were “What is it about this band or that event that makes them special? Would someone who’s never been to Brno and has no ties with the city find it interesting?”  more

Trumpet player Jiří Kotača is the leader of a young, but very interesting and healthily ambitious big band named Cotatcha Orchestra. While this Brno-based orchestra is still waiting for its first album, Kotača recently released a CD with his smaller ensemble – the international Alf Carlsson/Jiří Kotača Quartet. The album is entitled Journeysmore

Due to the impact of extraordinary measures taken because of the Covid-19 pandemic on stakeholders of the cultural and creative industries in Brno, Brno leaders and the Department of Culture of the Brno City Municipality are working intensively on a set of precautions for minimizing the damages. At the same time, communication is conducted on all levels of public administration, predominantly in collaboration with the Institut umění – Divadelní ústav [Arts and Theatre Institute], which is  mapping the situation on the nationwide level. Until 22 March 2020 you can help assess the current situation by means of an online survey (the link is provided below). Further steps will be taken according to the results of the survey.  more

The fourth subscription evening prepared by the Brno Philharmonic for the chief conductor's series called Philharmonic at Stadion and Janáček Theatre is an exceptional dramaturgical feat. The programme entitled "Pictures at an Exhibition", based on Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky's initial composition, combines additional works originated in and inspired by painting: The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca by Bohuslav Martinů, and Mathis der Maler, a symphony by Paul Hindemith. Sounding painting is accompanied by unique, music-illustrated visualisations of Cori O’Lan in collaboration with Ars Electronica. This week's difficult situation, not only for cultural institutions, was managed by the Brno Philharmonic promptly and with a great acclaim. Much like Cirk La Putyka on the day before, the Philharmonic decided not to cancel the performance at the Janáček Theatre and to broadcast the music and visualisations on 12 March from the Besední dům live on the web and on social networks.  more

The story of fateful love of the beautiful courtesan Marguerite and her sweetheart Armand, as we know it from the autobiographical prose The Lady of the Camellias by Alexander Dumas Jr., need not be largely introduced. One of the most famous novels of the 19th century has already been subject to a number of remakes, and now the National Theatre Brno ballet ensemble also came up with a new modern concept of this story of pain, passion and self-sacrifice.  more

Last year, after several years of stagnation, Brno's folklore enthusiasts woke up again and began organizing gatherings with dulcimer music, folklore parties, etc. at several different venues. This is certainly gratifying. However, motivation, experiences and concepts differ. One of them is We <3 folklore in the Metro music bar.  more

Spontaneous joy of dancing is hiding behind the mysterious cry Šej-Haj-Hop! That is why the new school of Slovak folk dance in Brno chose it as its name. There are three friends behind it – Michal Janšto, Edita Borščová and Ondrej Mišík, who all met a few years ago at VSĽPT Poľana.  more

We know several singing cello players from the domestic music scene: Olin Nejezchleba, who recorded his first solo album at the age of fifty; Tara Fuki, which even consists of two singing cellists; and Natálie Velšmídová, who shone out bright with her folk song remakes at the end of the millennium. However, Pavel Čadek is the only true singer-songwriter in the sense that he writes his own songs and uses cello as his main (or even the only) accompanying instrument. Moreover, thanks to his classical music training and his past with The Eclipse, a harder cello group, he is able to work with the cello freshly and, above all, in a non-folk manner, and that is why his instrument sometimes plays more than just an accompanying role. Although his debut album would be sufficiently varied even with cello only, Pavel decided to work with more sophisticated arrangements and invited accordionist Ondřej Zámečník, cajon player Jakub Špiřík and some other guests in episode roles to the studio.  more

The singer Lizz Wright was born in 1980 to the family of a pastor. From childhood, gospel music was close to her, she used to sing in a choir and later began to adore additional originally Afro-American genres, such as soul, blues and jazz. In November 2019 at the Blues Alive festival in Šumperk she performed with her own band, but in Brno she will be accompanied by the Brno Philharmonic along with a trio of Prague jazz performers (David Dorůžka – guitar, Tomáš Baroš – double bass, Daniel Šoltis – drums). The concert will take place on 3 May in the Janáček Theatre as part of the JAZZFESTBRNO 2020 festival.  more

On Friday 14 February, the Sono Centre in Brno hosted a genre-diversified festival, which was also a celebration of three decades of activity of three publishing branches, which we associate with the original simple name Indies Records. Over the years, Indies Records has divided itself into three separate labels with three distinct edition catalogues – Indies MG, Indies Scope and Indies Happy Trails, which are operated by the personalities of Miloš Gruber, Milan Páleš and Jaromír Kratochvíl.  more

A fateful comedy, the third part of a musical trilogy or a fantasy musical. These attributes define Paradise, a new authorial piece from the workshop of Zdenek Merta and Stanislav Moša. Their ninth joint work in the field of music theatre was premiered yesterday on the big stage of the Brno City Theatre. The result is embarrassing.  more

Director, librettist and stage designer David Radok and composer, but also chief conductor of the opera ensemble Marko Ivanović created the authorial work for the opera ensemble of the National Theatre Brno. The opera The Monument, which was premiered yesterday, tells the story of sculptor Otakar Švec (1892–1955), whose design in 1955 was a portent of Stalin's monument at Letná. The title roles in the Janáček Theatre were performed by: Stanislav Sem (Sculptor), Markéta Cukrová (Wife), Roman Hoza (Colleague) and Ondřej Koplík (Minister of Culture). The solo parts were complemented by the Opera Choir, the Czech Academic Choir and the Brno Children's Choir. The Janáček Opera Orchestra was directed by the author of the music Marko Ivanović.  more

The cellist Josef Klíč, concert master of the Janáček Theatre in Brno, is close to classical music as well as underground, works together with poets and wrote several essential compositions exploring the border between contemporary and alternative music. His new solo album, Josef Klíč & His One Man Cello Squad, contains songs without words, which is, as Klíč pointed out in an interview last year for our server, a form that "existed already in the Renaissance times". And he explains: "A song without words is a composition that you can put your own lyrics into. It has a melody and you can sing the lyrics to it for yourself. Therefore, it must be a song with a powerful melody."   more

On the next day after the powerful experience I had gotten from the performance of Requiem by the Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian, I had the opportunity to meet its creator. The fragile, gentle and sincere music thus foreshadowed me of its author, with whom I spent a few precious moments in the director's lounge of the Besední dům in Brno in a very friendly conversation.  more

Editorial

Czech Ensemble Baroque again organizes Summer School of Baroque Music in Holešov Chateau. The eighteenth season carries the theme of Spiritual vs. Secular in the works of J. S. Bach. Singers and instrumentalists who are already experienced in the interpretation of early music and new entrants are welcome. This year's lecturers are countertenor Andreas Scholl and his wife, harpsichordist Tamar Halperin.  more

A new broadcasting studio has been set up in the premises of the former penitentiary on Cejl Street, nowadays called Káznice, which will broadcast live concerts, theatre performances, lectures, discussions and even religious masses. The premiere broadcast has been announced for this evening, featuring Tomáš Vtípil.  more

The Cotatcha Orchestra big band members have just released the single A Very Old Lady Driving a Ferrari. Given the current situation, they did not make the recording in a studio. Everyone recorded their part at home.  more

TIC Brno responds to the current state of society and culture by launching an online project entitled (ni)KAM v Brně [(no)WHERE TO in Brno], which follows on the printed KAM (WHERE TO) magazine. The portal will gather and promote cultural activities in Brno so that supporters of culture can stay together even during this quarantine period.  more

As soon as this Sunday, the Czech Radio Brno will release a programme named Sedmikrásky na nebi (Daisies in the Sky), featuring live commenting of the sky. The show is developing as a result of collaboration with the Brno Observatory and Planetarium, and Jiří Dušek, director of Brno Observatory and Planetarium, will appear as a guest.  more

Městské divadlo Brno [MdB, Brno City Theatre] presented the titles it is preparing for the 2020/2021 season. The Music Scene is anticipating musicals such as Pretty Woman, Jane Eyre and a fairy tale Sněhurka a já [Snow White and I].  more

Singer Eva Pilarová, a native of Brno, died today 14 March 2020. She was 80 years old.  more

This Thursday and Friday, Brno Philharmonic will present a programme entitled Pictures at an Exhibition, which will feature three great music pieces accompanied by visualisations of Cori O´Lan. These were created  in collaboration with Ars Electronica, an organisation focusing on the use of latest technologies in art. The concerts will be conducted by  Dennis Russell Davies.  more

The National Security Council today decided to cancel all sporting, cultural and religious events for  more than  100 participants with effect from tonight,  10 March 2020.  more

The Ondráš Military Art Ensemble is hiring a dancer for the professional section of its ensemble. Expected start of employment is 3 February 2020.  more