Monologue

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Released in co-production with Radioservis, a.s., a division of Czech Radio.
Recorded for Czech Radio at Martínek Studio, Prague, September 2009 and March 2010.

Recording director Milan Puklický (4), Igor Tausinger (1–3, 5–12) Recording engineer Jan Lžičař (4), Jaroslav Vašíček (1–3, 5–12)

Vydáno ve spolupráci se společností Radioservis a. s., vydavatelstvím Českého rozhlasu. Nahráno pro Český rozhlas ve studiu Martínek v Praze v září 2009 a březnu 2010.

Hudební režie Milan Puklický (4), Igor Tausinger (1–3, 5–12) Zvuková režie Jan Lžičař (4), Jaroslav Vašíček (1–3, 5–12)

Executive producer / výkonný producent Matouš Vlčinský

Pavel Bořkovec (1894–1972) studied at the Master School of Composition under the tutelage of Josef Suk. From the late 1920s he was one of the most distinct Czech musi- cal innovators, drawing from various sources of the prevalent modernism of the time: from Stravinsky’s Neo-Classicism, expressing the post-war longing for joy and playfulness, he attained a singular musical expression of Vítězslav Nezval’s poeticism, and soon in a highly individual manner linked up to Paul Hindemith’s musical idiom. This is strongly reflected in his Sonata for viola solo (1931). The three-movement composition, notewor- thy for its contrasting tempos and expressions, is imbued with a noble melodiousness: the first movement masculine, even heroically extreme, the second wistful and dreamy, the third, also permeated with impassioned passages, combatively determined. The piece was premiered on 18 May 1932 at a concert held by the Modern Music Society by Hin- demith’s Czech friend and virtuoso violist Ladislav Černý and was published in 1933 by the Hudební matice Umělecké besedy (Music Foundation of the Arts Society) in Prague.

Jan Klusák (1934), one of the most distinguished Czech composers of the present day, studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague with Jaroslav Řídký and Pavel Bořkovec. As a young artist, he garnered acclaim with pieces stylistically akin to Igor Stravinsky’s and Iša Krejčí’s Neo-Classicism, while in the late 1950s and early 1960s he pursued an individual path, with his works enriching Czech New Music. With deep philo- sophical reflection, he has often taken up ideational stimuli from the intellectual heritage of the distant and less-distant past. A case in point is the relatively extensive mono- logue for viola solo Ubi vult (1987). The composer wrote of it: The title is the second half of the famous saying “Spiritus flat, ubi vult”, loosely taken over from the Gospel of Saint John (3:8), meaning “The spirit blows where it will”. It aims to indicate the improvisa- tional nature of the composition, which, however, actually develops within a firm outline. This is not Klusák’s only piece for viola solo. Back at the time when he was enthralled by Neo-Classicism, he wrote the Partita for viola solo, containing three short, contrastive movements. Perhaps because the style of the fast first and the slow second movements in particular is authentically classical (similar to, for example, Max Reger’s solo string sonatas and suites, which helped this genre to gain popularity within 20th-century mu

sic), Jan Klusák did not even state it in the lists of his compositions. Only the “prickly” aggressive finale is insistently vehement, like some of the famous movements of the viola pieces by Paul Hindemith and Ladislav Vycpálek. Both works were premiered by Jitka Hosprová: Ubi vult at a concert within the Hudba bez obalu cycle held by Ateliér 90 on 1 June 2009 and Partita in December of the same year.

Ladislav Vycpálek (1882–1969) studied composition with Vítězslav Novák and went on to create a singular style abounding in polyphony, hymnically arched melody and magnificent architectonics. He primarily wrote vocal music and monumental vocal sym- phonic works but also composed several chamber and solo pieces for string instru- ments, the most frequently performed of which is the four-movement Suite for viola solo, Op. 21 (1929). The first movement develops in a motivically compact ascendant line, while the second has a wildly aggressive expression. Only in the slow third movement does the composer display his mastery of ardent melody. It takes the form of a dialogue with long vocatives, increasingly impassioned and fervent, while the answers are markedly colder, initially tersely reserved. According to Vycpálek, the music expresses a tragic dialogue between a man and a woman prior to separating. The finale, the suite’s longest movement, has three motivically interconnected parts. The work was premiered by Jiří Herold on 14 April 1930 at a concert of the Modern Music Society in Prague and it was published in the same year by the Hudební matice Umělecké besedy.

Jaroslav Smolka (1933) studied musicology at Charles University in Prague and compo- sition at the Academy of Performing Arts with Václav Dobiáš. He has published 14 musicology books, numerous essays, etc. After absorbing the influence of the interwar avantgarde in his youth, he composed pieces stylistically akin to New Music and also reconstructed works by older composers, which in some cases inspired his own composi- tions. Such is the fantasy for viola solo Mlha sklíčenosti (The Mist of Depression). It draws from the decipherable beginning of the music Bedřich Smetana inscribed in his last compositional sketch, bearing the title Viola als Muster. It is a musical poem about the artist’s persistent endeavour to create even amid the situation when the feverishly working consciousness is more filled with visions and phantasms than reality, when the capability of self-critical control disappears yet the desire to devise and write music still remains. Issue No. 4 of the Opus musicum magazine in 1985 published the autograph facsimile alongside the composer’s in-depth commentary. The work was premiered by Stanislav Svoboda on 15 December 1992 at a concert held by Ateliér 90 at the Emauzy monastery in Prague. Jitka Hosprová performed it for the first time on 17 March 1998 at a concert marking the composer’s 65th birthday at the Martinů Hall in Prague.

THE CZECH VIOLIST Jitka Hosprová has remarkable instrumental predispositions: a graceful figure, big hands, long fingers, as well as a sense for spiritual enjoyment con- nected with the viola timbres: sad and mysterious, vehemently passionate. From 1989 she studied at the conservatoire in Pilsen in the class of Jan Motlík and went on to fur- ther hone her technique at Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts with Jan Pěruška. She has won prestigious awards at competitions and has garnered acclaim both at home and abroad. In the international Junge Österreichische Philharmonie she headed the vi- ola section; in 1998 she joined the Bennewitz Quartet. In 2001 her first solo CD was re- leased, in 2005 she recorded an album of viola concertos. Several other CDs feature her as a chamber player. She has performed as a soloist at home and abroad, played with numerous chamber ensembles and leading orchestras. Czech and French radio stations have broadcast dozens of her live recordings. She has an extensive solo repertoire, with emphasis on 20th- and 21st-century music, not only owing to the fact that this epoch firmly re-established the viola as a solo instrument but also that it was the period of the origination of a large solo and concertante repertoire of such weight that every viola vir- tuoso has to devote to it. Jitka Hosprová also has a fine sense of the poeticism of mod- ern and post-modern music, thanks to which she creates mature and singular interpreta- tional conceptions of individual compositions. She consistently deals with significant Czech music of this type in particular. That is why she has included on this CD two works by composers of note for the Czech 20th-century viola repertoire (Ladislav Vycpálek, Pavel Bořkovec) alongside pieces by two representatives of the currently older genera- tion of composers (Jan Klusák, Jaroslav Smolka).

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