Music for Olomouc from Brno

15 October 2018, 17:00
Music for Olomouc from Brno

The jubilee 25th year of Olomouc’s Autumn Festival of Sacred Music is drawing to a close. Before the finale with Verdi’s Requiem yesterday there was a concert from the Brno chamber group Ensemble Versus under Vladimír Maňas with an ensemble of renaissance wind instruments accompanied by the continuo provided by Capella Ornamentata under the artistic leadership of its founder Richard Šeda in Olomouc’s Church of the Annunciation (Kostel Zvěstování Páně). Both bodies are mainly concerned with the interpretation of the religious music of the 16th and 17th centuries and have engaged in many other joint projects. In 2017 this cooperation led to a CD of the works of the late renaissance composer Nicolaus Zangius, whose works were heard at Sunday’s concert.

The evening with the title Music for Bishop Stanislav Pavlovský (Hudba pro biskupa Stanislava Pavlovského) had a well thought-through programme. It was based on the works of the bishop’s Kapellmeister Jacob Handl-Gallus, whose famous motet Undique flammatis celebrated the election of the new bishop is today the first famous work by Handl. Aside from Handl – where the link between his music and Stanislav II Pavlovský is clear – there were also works by the above-mentioned German composer Nicolaus Zangius, who died in Olomouc in 1617. Moreover, as outlined in the concert programme, the beginning of the 17th century brought great stylistic changes and was the time when the early Baroque began to penetrate into Moravia. For this reason three works for two sopranos and basso continuo by the early Baroque composer Giacomo Finetti were selected for the concert. He was not chosen at random, since all three works are from the collection of the choir of the church of the diocesan town of Příbor. The concert thus offered pieces from a very specific period while at the same time still offering works that were colourful ad varied. Already before the beginning of the first composition, it was announced that the structure of the concert would resemble that of the mass, which was also indicated by the order of the individual parts of the ordinary of the mass.

Sacred music – while it undoubtedly belongs in church – sometimes has to fight the poor acoustics of church naves. However the Church of the Annunciation on Dolní náměstí offers an ideal balance between the fullness of sound and its clarity for this relatively small grouping (even though it is a combination of the Ensemble Versus and the Capella Ornamentata). It often happens that the long reverberations in churches prevent the rapid imitations often used in the music of this period from fully sinking in. In the worst cases the coherence of the performance is completely lost and all that sometimes survives from this polyphonic whirlwind is the final amen. In the Church of the Annunciation however all the voices could be distinguished and each entrance was clear and distinct and it was never the case that a solid mass of unidentifiable sounds hung in the air. The balance between the singers’ voices and the sounds of the instruments for the creation of a complex sound that was still attract to the listeners and allowed them to perceive the structure of the pieces.

The concert opened with an instrumental version of Zangius’ motet Exultate iusti, the choral version of which ended the entire programme. In this cycle, aside from the already-mentioned parts of the ordinary of the mass and individual motets there were also two choral chants. The musicians and choristers opened the concert with verve and conviction. In the first half the intonation was pure and rhythmically the choir held together. In particular the imitation in Gallus’ Undique flammatis was clear and compelling. Of course the musical instruments had a major influence on the overall sound colour, not only supporting some of the voices and making the resulting sound distinctive but also bringing out individual melodies in the counterpoint. The character of the music as well as the instruments used changed during compositions. While at times the church resounded to the tones of trombones, cornets, dulcians, violins and theorbos, at other times there was for example only violin and theorbo with a solo singer. Work with the space also influenced the music – the timbre and its perception changed in the course of the concert depending on the placing of the artists. In the second half however it seemed that both singers and instrumentalists ran out of steam: there were more imperfections in intonation and rhythm and the overall cohesion was lost. The entrances of individual singers were no longer so precise and the cornet player also appeared to be tired. Not that the result was no longer of quality but Ensemble Versus and Capella Ornamentata are capable of better and many times have shown this to their listeners.

The penultimate concert of the Autumn Festival of Sacred Music offered music from the 16th and 17th centuries in authentic interpretation with a well-planned programme and exemplary work with space. The internal tempo of the concert created an experience with not only the rich sound of the wind instruments, cornet and dulcian, but also choral singing, ensemble playing and solos. And all of it took place in the ideal acoustic conditions of the Church of the Annunciation where the efforts off both ensembles paid off. It was only a pity that towards the end of the concert occasionally some of the interpreters ran out of puff. Despite this we still experience a quality and an informed interpretation of music which is not often found on concert programmes.

Ensemble Versus
Capella Ornamentata Vladimír Maňas and Richard Šeda – artistic directors
Nicolaus Zangius: Exultate iusti à 6 (instrumental)
Jacobus Handl Gallus: Undique flammatis à 7
Gaudeamus omnes in Domino (choral)
Jacobus Handl Gallus: Missa Super Undique Kyrie, Gloria à 7
Giacomo Finetti: Ecce tu pulchra es à 6
Nicolaus Zangius: Tota pulchra es à 6
Jacobus Handl Gallus: Missa Super Undique Credo à 7
Giacomo Finetti: Ab initio et ante saecula creata sum à 2
Nicolaus Zangius: Jesu dulcis memoria à 6
Nicolaus Zangius: Deus misereatur nostri à 8
Ave Maria (choral)
Jacobus Handl Gallus: Missa Super Undique Sanctus à 7
Giacomo Finetti: Laudate pueri Dominum à 6
Nicolaus Zangius: Ego flos campi à 6
Jacobus Handl Gallus: Missa Super Undique Agnus à 8
Nicolaus Zangius: Exultate justi in Domino à 6
Sunday 14 October 2018, Church of the Annunciation (Kostel Zvěstová



No comment added yet..

On Friday 19 October the big band Cotatcha Orchestra performed in HaDivadlo with an important foreign guest: the trombonist, composer and arranger Ilja Reijngoud. After the review of the concert we are now also bringing you an interview with this Dutch jazzman, holder of a Latin Grammy and other significant awards. Reijngoud answered our questions shortly before the Brno concert.  more

The promising developing contemporary Czech jazz scene, which includes well-functioning festivals and two universities with the teaching of jazz (in Brno and in Prague), is creating the background not just for little ensembles, but also for large orchestras. In Prague there is the excellent Concept Art Orchestra, which under the leadership of the trumpeter Štěpánka Balcarová focuses on the work of contemporary Czech authors in the middle and younger generation (the so-called Prague Six). In Brno the B-Side Band, led by the trumpeter Josef Buchta, sells out big halls and plays at major festivals, cooperating with the popular Vojtěch Dyk, but has not given up on its original jazz repertoire and also cooperates with foreign stars of the calibre of Kurt Elling. Another Brno big band, the Cotatcha Orchestra, under the leadership of (yet another trumpeter) Jiří Kotač, has not yet met with such great success. Despite this the ensemble, put together from students and teachers of the jazz department at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts, is fiercely and healthily making progress in our scene and given the quality of the musicians it has at its centre, I believe that it will in the coming years win a unique place for itself.  more

The jubilee 25th year of Olomouc’s Autumn Festival of Sacred Music is drawing to a close. Before the finale with Verdi’s Requiem yesterday there was a concert from the Brno chamber group Ensemble Versus under Vladimír Maňas with an ensemble of renaissance wind instruments accompanied by the continuo provided by Capella Ornamentata under the artistic leadership of its founder Richard Šeda in Olomouc’s Church of the Annunciation (Kostel Zvěstování Páně). Both bodies are mainly concerned with the interpretation of the religious music of the 16th and 17th centuries and have engaged in many other joint projects. In 2017 this cooperation led to a CD of the works of the late renaissance composer Nicolaus Zangius, whose works were heard at Sunday’s concert.  more

The Exposition of New Music festival has been confronting Brno listeners with contemporary Czech and world music for thirty-one years. Over this time, the festival’s concerts have gained a devoted audience wishing to experience the non-traditional musical works and experiments themselves. The autumn part of this years’ festival begun yesterday with the vocal cycle Canti del Capricorno by the Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, performed by solo soprano Lore Lixenberg.  more

This week in Prague and Brno the English singer Chris Norman, founding and long-time member of the popular band Smokie, will be performing. His concert in the Brno DRFG Arena will be on Saturday 6 October and he will perform at the Prague Forum Karlín two days earlier.  more

“Beránci a vlci (“Lambs and wolves”) is my personal vision of Moravian world music,” says Marian Friedl, who is a brilliant player both on his handmade folk flutes and on the jazz bass. It was his experience with different genres, ranging from folk to free jazz, together with the cooperation with style-wise similarly open Jitka Šuranská, that led to the creation of an extraordinary kind of music with roots in the performance Z kořenů k world music (“From roots to world music”) at the Folk Holidays in Náměšť nad Oslavou. Thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Culture, the album Beránci a vlci had the participation of four musical formations of different styles (together comprising of more than twenty musicians and singers) and deservedly won the Anděl prize in the Folk category (newly including the genre of world music). In the meantime, the concert premiere of Beránci a vlci took place in the summer of 2017, again in Náměšť nad Oslavou (with the participation of album publisher Milan Páleš dressed as the sheep grandmother) and other festival performances followed – at the Hradecký slunovrat in Hradec nad Moravicí and at Colours of Ostrava. It was a small dream of Marian Friedl and all his lambs and wolves to bring this music into the aurally clean space of the Brno Sono centre, which was made possible thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign. The roughly hour-long concert was not only merely the performing of the EP, but mainly a huge celebration and maybe even a new start for the project – a new direction towards greater and greater halls.  more

The buildings of the Brno spa on Rašínova street were filled on Sunday with the new project of the Hausopera art society, which has the target of bringing new and quality productions to places in daily use that wouldn’t have much to do with music and especially opera otherwise. The forerunner is the short opera Poslední pólo (“The Final Polo”) by the composer - conductor Marek Ivanović and the librettist – opera singer Josef Škarka about two friends, a secret love and a guilty conscience. The work was directed by Petr Hašek, the stage set was designed by Ján Tereba and the lighting design was made by Pavla Beranová, Michal Hór and Zuzana Bottová. The main characters were played by Tomáš Krejčí, Aleš Procházka and Andrea Široká. The accordion was played by Žaneta Vítová, the vibraphone and drums by Kristýna Švihálková. It was presented by Lenka Sedláčková.  more

The Jazz Groove Brno festival will take place in several venues in Brno from 2 October to 5 December 2018. With its director Josef Buchta we talk not just about this year’s programme but primarily about the new name and the new content of the event, which you can learn more about at  more

“I play contemporary folk, without other adjectives – raging and gentle, with and without humour,” says singer-songwriter Šimon Peták of himself. He was born at the very beginning of the nineties, “a year after the old times ended” as he puts it. He comes from South Bohemia, but grew up by the Berounka, lived a short time in Prague, which apparently turned sour for him, and finally settled in Brno. “I became a dramaturge here, trained as a chimney sweep,” he continues in his verse biography, which you can find in his profile on the server It is there that you can also not just listen to but also legally download for free Šimon’s songs from the album Homo Habitusmore

In the somewhat untraditional environment of Brno’s Metro Music Bar there was a performance by the musical ensemble with the name Musica Folklorica, a group that needs little introduction for folk fans. These excellent musicians perform mainly their own arrangements of folk songs especially from Horňácko, Myjava and also Romania. They came to Brno to christen what is now their eleventh album.  more

It is a pity to only read an interview with Marta Kovářová, leader of the groups Budoár staré dámy. Marta is such a personality as a speaker that it is better to hear her. Or also to watch her. But on the other hand, as you will learn from the interview, which took place on the occasion of the 20th birthday of the group, a good song should be able to stand up without a pictorial accompaniment. And perhaps a good narrative will still interest us in written form.  more

From 30 August to 10 September the blues guitarist from Texas Jonn Del Toro Richardson will be touring the Czech Republic. One of his performances will take place in South Moravia – 2 September in the Strážničan House of Culture in Strážnice. Further concerts will take place for example on 30 August in Valašské Meziříčí, and 7 and 10 September in Ostrava. Jonn Del Toro Richardson has so far released only one solo album (a second is in preparation for 2019), but as a much sought after studio and concert guitarist he has worked with many of the top blues performers.  more

The first few notes of the first and last songs tell us the most important things about the new album from the group Poletíme? Beginning with sharp guitars, a rock roar and lyrics about how “we sat with the boys backstage” and “we’re good, so we probably need a hit”. At the end a waltz with accordion, sloppy vocals and words about a disgruntled band, of homelessness and of a car “that carries sheep”. Songs full of rock energy of course are part of Poletíme? and this group has a whole range of hits. Nonetheless the move from sharp rock and roll to a comfortable little waltz shows the band with Rudolf Brančovský exactly how I see them after these years: Despite all their efforts to be tough guys they are at their best when telling an ordinary story, with interesting observed details (like that of the sheep in the car) and in an ordinary song. And it is also about the humour which again abounds on the new album. And I have the feeling that this time more than before Rudolf has managed to keep the balance outside the area of awkwardness.  more

In the course of four days the Brno Music Marathon offered some 150 concerts with more than 500 participants. The festival brought together local artists and guests from abroad. The Jazz Evening in the Sono Centre opened with Brno’s Marek Kotača Trio, followed by Yaron Herman from Israel and Kenny Garrett from the USA, while on the stage at Špilberk Castle the local hip-hop legends Chaozz and the crossover and world music Dog Eat Dog got the audience moving. The Adicts from England together with the Prague group The Fialky took care of the rock evening at Fléda, while in the Sono Centre it was the Dutch Physical Graffiti paying tribute to Led Zeppelin. Brno was full of rock, with the British alt-J also performing on Sunday evening.  more

After reconstruction the building of Czech Radio Brno has a new studio. Studio VII was figuratively baptised with the concert Living Notes from the series of folk concerts On a Moravian Note on Czech Radio Brno and Zlin. The musical dedication was made by the Horňácko group of Petr Mička, whose bandmaster is also one of the radio station’s editors. As guests they introduced the very talented young singers Anička Mičková and Janíček Pavlík and the Horňácko folk legend Martin Hrbáč. You can see the whole more than hour-long programme on the Czech Radio YouTube channel.  more


Jakub Hrůša will become the fifth Chief Conductor and the musical director of the prominent German orchestra the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra Players – the Bavarian State Philharmonic Orchestra (Bamberger Symphoniker – Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie) in the 2016/2017 season. It was announced today during the morning ceremony, which was attended by Jakub Hrůša himself, by Bavaria’ Minister of Culture Dr. Ludwig Spaenle together with Marcus Rudolf Axt, Chief Executive.  more

The choir at VUT in Brno is seeking new vocal talent. The audition will take place next week.  more

The 21st edition of this competition is being organized by the Musical faculty of the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno. The competition focusing on young artists playing the violin and on string quartets is being held in cooperation with the Leoš Janáček Foundation.  more

The club, which is starting its 25th concert season, has been reconstructed and is now reopening to jazz musicians from both the domestic and foreign scene. The season will introduce bands as well as individuals such as Ostrich Quartet, Ambrose Akinmusire, Robert Balzar Trio, Vilém Spilka Quartet or Nuf Said.  more

The current 17th year of the festival is divided into two parts. The first part, called Intake of Breath, will take place during October and it will be the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Filigrán dance ensemble. The other part, called Exhalation, will introduce international guests and dance themed movies in November.  more

Old buildings are seemingly silent, but they resonate with memories and lives vanished long ago; this is where they get their distinctive atmosphere from. Watch the video recording of a concert in the former MEZ factory hall in Židenice.  more

The winner of the solo violin category is Amalia Hall from New Zealand while the winner of the string quartet category is a Slovak ensemble called the Mucha Quartet.  more

The new operetta Studio Brno presents the operetta The Cousin from Batavia by Eduard Künneke for the first time.  more

The Brno vocal group Megafon has recorded a debut album full of successful hits and authorial compositions.  more

The Makropulos Affair opera record directed by David Radok and with music production by Marek Ivanovič won two awards at the International Television Festival Golden Prague which took place last night. The recordings won the Foundation VIZE 97 prize and a prize in the category of Performing Arts. The premiere of the opera was on 21 November 2014 during the Janáček Brno festival.  more