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

Comments

Reply

No comment added yet..

Evenings of  the cycle named Music Stocktaking of the Brno-based orchestra Ensemble Opera Diversa regularly bring to light various half-forgotten works by Czech composers. This Tuesday's concert in the concert hall of the Convent of Merciful Brother [Konvent Milosrdných bratří] became a commemorative tribute to the anniversary of the tragic years 1939 and 1969. Violinist Milan Paľa and pianists Kristýna Znamenáčková and Lucie Pokorná performed alongside the orchestra. The performance was conducted by the permanent conductor of the orchestra Gabriela Tardonová.  more

Bára Zmeková is releasing her new album called LUNAVES these days. She will officially present it in Brno as well. The launch of the album will take place in the Kabinet múz on Tuesday 19 March.  more

The ensemble Šafrán from Moravian Slovakia is already a traditional organiser of the Brno “fašank“. This event, in the spirit of folk traditions, always takes place on Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and it marks the beginning of Christian fasting. Its roots go back to the pagan times, but it is now part of Christian feasts almost all over the world. Marches of masks in various regions of Moravia are called končiny, masopust, fašanek or, for example, šibřinky. Its  ensemble parallel in Brno tries to stick to the folk pattern. It begins with a parade in  Náměstí svobody Square. This year it continued through the Alfa Mall to the market building at the Cabbage Market. The end of the programme was performed by the ensemble Lučina, which showed the audience the so-called burial of a double bass. It is a custom consisting in a staged burial of this musical instrument, symbolising  the end of entertainment, calming down and preparing for Easter.  more

"In the past, old people used to be as old as we allegedly are today" sings Slávek Janoušek in his song Alzheimer and Parkinson. The songwriter, who celebrated his 65th birthday last September, found aging as an extremely powerful theme for his new album. Tohle je vzkaz [This Is a Message] is an album not only about incrementing years of age, but also about how we increasingly appreciate our families and our  roots as we “grow old“. Although we can find very strong moments in all Janoušek's albums, Tohle je vzkaz can be perceived as the third part of the trilogy of his most powerful recordings – Kdo  to zavinil [Whose Fault  Is It] (1988), Tancuj a zpívej [Dance and Sing] (1997) and Tohle je vzkaz [This Is a Message] (2018).  more

In the hall of Blahoslav House (the centre for the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren) yesterday evening there were performances of religious works from the late Renaissance and the early Baroque by the chamber choir Ensemble Versus and the period instruments ensemble Castello in Aria. Both bodies were conducted by the artistic director Vladimír Maňas. In yesterday’s programme there were both proven works and unknown ones by rarely performed European composers.  more

Yesterday Brno City Theatre gave the European premiere of the musical The Last Ship, written by the world-famous musician Sting. It is a mixture of his wonderful music drawn from British folk, a successfully and honestly told tale and also a strong acting performance, which should guarantee the production’s successful voyage to the audience.  more

The web portal Brno – Music Friendly City is celebrating its sixth birthday. As a symbolic present to our readers we are bringing you the first of our regular monthly contributions from the Brno dramatist, writer and screenwriter Milan Uhde. He will be sharing his memories and thoughts as well as descriptions of current events in the field of culture in Brno. His theme today is the Janáček Brno festival.  more

A concert organised for an exceptional event took place on Thursday at ZUŠ PhDr. Zbyňka Mrkose (a primary school specialising in music) in Brno’s Židenice district. The event was given the title Cimbálový kolaudační concert (A Cimbalom Commissioning Concert. What exactly was being commissioned? From the title it was evident the main star of the programme was a cimbalom. This big instrument with its velvet tones was not the centre of attention by accident. The item being commissioned was a new cimbalom for the musical inventory of the previously mentioned music school. The manufacturer of the instrument was the Brno company of Všianský. The actual maker Pavel Všianský, a famous musician, also personally took part, telling the participants something about the construction of this instrument.  more

The latest opera production of the National Theatre in Brno is Don Carlos by the composer Giuseppe Verdi and the poet Friedrich Schiller. This work, directed by the director of this institution, Martin Glaser, had its premiere on Saturday 2 February 2019 in the Janáček Theatre. The stage set was designed by Pavel Borák and the costumes by Markéta Sládečková-Oslzlá. Lighting was the responsibility of Martin Špetlík. The performance was conducted by Jaroslav Kyzlink, who also produced the performance with the choir and orchestra of the Janáček Opera of the National Theatre in Brno. The main roles were filled by Luciano Mastro as Don Carlos and Federico Sacchi as King Philip II, Carlos’ father; Jiří Brückler is the friend of the title character and the confidant of the king, Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa. Linda Ballová took the part of the young queen and madly infatuated Elisabeth of Valois; the figure of the vengeful Princess Eboli, who secretly loves the king’s son was played by Veronika Hajnová-Fialová. The intimidating inquisitor was played by Ondrej Mráz. Also appearing were Andrea Široká, Martina Mádlová, Zdeněk Nečas and David Szendiuch.  more

The Brno singer and artist Dáša Ubrová has sung with a group, performs with a big-band and is close to chanson, jazz and rock. Her album, named simply after her, is important to her and not only because it is her solo debut. It is the first time she has written all the lyrics herself. The music is mainly created by her “court co-workers” and album producers, the pianist Vojtěch Svatoš and the guitarist Pavel Šmíd.  more

Yesterday in Besední dům classical music lovers had their very first chance to hear the new chief conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Dennis Russell Davies also in the role of piano soloist. Under Davies’ baton there was a performance of the Symphony in D major, Op. 23 by the Vamberk native Jan Václav Hugo Voříšek and the premiere of the orchestral arrangement of the chamber work by Antonín Dvořák Bagatelles, Op. 47 created by the chief conductor himself. Davies took his place at the piano to play the Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The chief conductor will also be performing as soloist in two upcoming recitals, playing for example works by Steve Reich, John Adams and Philip Glass.  more

We can often hear the works of contemporary composers connected to Brno in the performances of local ensembles. But it is not usual for them to reach a wider audience, and in that fashion, a relatively inconspicuous recital dedicated to the works of Brno composers took place yesterday at the Brothers of Charity Convent. A much greater level of attention should be raised by the interpreter Milan Paľa. He had, in his own words “decided to do something for Moravian music” and create in the coming years several CD’s mapping the repertoire for violin or viola by composers connected to Moravia. The Cantus Moraviae project already has its first double CD, which was christened at yesterday’s concert.  more

A sold out Fléda Club. Shoulder to shoulder. And yet, in this huge crowd you meet six classmates from the grammar school you went to in the first half of the nineties and a colleague with whom you later studied journalism. The band Dunaj (“Danube”) has returned to the stage after twenty years and its hometown was of course one of their first important stops.  more

Usually, we associate concerts of classical music with the evening hours, formal attire and in some cases even a glass of wine. Last Saturday showed us that the morning hours are not any less good a time for a musical production. In the Crystal Room of the Old Town Hall, an hour before noon, a a performance of cello sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy and Dmitri Shostakovich by the cellist Štěpán Filípek and the pianist Mark Pinzow took place. The concert was organised by the National Theatre Brno.  more

The Slovak group Kiero Grande, two Polish bands and the Brno musician Jan Fic with his solo project progressed from the competition Blues Aperitiv to the international festival Blues Alive in Šumperk. Jan, or Honza as he is informally called, who under the label Red Bird Instruments makes cigar box guitars and other instruments, is otherwise known as the frontman of The Weathermakers, playing their raw blues even at Porta. And in several festivals he appeared as leader of the mock country group The Honzíci. The interview that follows took place on the occasion of the release of the solo album Město (City), which Jan Fic together with the producer Martin Kyšperský officially presented on 17 December in Brno’s Stereo – Vinyl Culture Shop.  more

Editorial

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