IMF Kutná Hora 2017

Thursday, June 9 / 8:00 p.m. / St. James’s Church

MYSTERY / BIBER / DUSAPIN

Pascal Dusapin: Iti for Violin Solo

Milan Pala – violin

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Rosenkranzsonate (Mysterien-Sonate) No. 1 “The Annunciation

Lenka Torgersen – violin, Michal Raitmajer – viola da gamba, Adam Viktora – organ

Pascal Dusapin: In Vivo II for Violin Solo

Milan Pala – violin

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Rosenkranzsonate (Mysterien-Sonate) No. 2 “The Visitation

Lenka Torgersen – violin, Michal Raitmajer – viola da gamba, Adam Viktora – organ

Pascal Dusapin: In Vivo III for Violin Solo

Milan Pala – violin

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Rosenkranzsonate (Mysterien-Sonate) No. 4 “The Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple” 

Lenka Torgersen – violin, Michal Raitmajer – viola da gamba, Adam Viktora – organ

Pascal  Dusapin: In Nomine II for Violin Solo

Milan Pala – violin

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Rosenkranzsonate (Mysterien-Sonate) No. 10 “The Crucifixion

Lenka Torgersen – violin, Michal Raitmajer – viola da gamba, Adam Viktora – organ

Pascal Dusapin: In Nomine III for Violin Solo

Milan Pala – violin

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Passacaglia “Guardian Angel

Lenka Torgersen – violin, Michal Raitmajer – viola da gamba, Adam Viktora – organ

 

Biber´s by now legendary Mystery Sonatas juxtaposed with mystical compositions of Dusapin. Three centuries of the violin solo mystery.

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A dialogue between old and new, confronting various types of music across styles and epochs, has been a characteristic feature of the Kutná Hora Festival. This time out, its art director, Jiří Bárta, invited two artists – specialist in modern music Milan Pala, and Baroque violin exponent Lenka Torgersen – to share the platform in their accounts of some of the finest works written for their instruments in the Baroque era and in our time.

The French composer, Pascal Dusapin (b. 1955), still lamentably fairly little known in this country, is a major European protagonist in the field of opera and symphonic music. His solo violin output has so enthralled Milan Pala that he made them the exclusive contents of his recent album. This project actually also led to the two artists becoming friends. Tonight´s programme features a composition from Dusapin´s early period entitled Iti, and two more recent pieces, In nomine, and In vivo. Milan Pala praises Dusapin´s compositions as phenomenally written. In them, the composer leaves the interpreter ample room for their own imagination which is provided with invigorating impulses in the scores. In terms of technique, Dusapin never spares the violin player, setting extreme parameters for sound value, finger positioning, and tempo. The “ritual” harmony and unparalleled palette of Dusapin´s universe will doubtless prove a great discovery for the Czech audience.

A voice belonging in a thoroughly different world – namely, that of Christian mysticism – comes to us from Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704). The German composer and violinist, a native of Bohemia, ranked in his time among the foremost violin players. He was active in the service of the Prince Karl von Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn, the Bishop of Olomouc, who had a stately residence built for himself in Kroměříž, and installed Biber at the helm of his orchestra. In late 1670, the musician left his post there to enter the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg where he rose to the position of first court kapellmeister. His fascinating series of Rosenkranzsonaten owes its unique place in the history of violin playing to its use of fourteen different violin scordatura tunings. In the work´s original printed edition, each sonata is prefaced by a medallion-shaped copperplate engraving depicting an event from the life of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.

The composer guides the listener´s imagination not just by these illustrative images but also by his employment of particular Baroque rhetoric figures. For instance, the Lamento in Sonata VI captures the situation shortly before the arrest of Jesus. Musically, the feeling of anxiety is conjured by descending chromatic scale, unusual harmonic steps, and a pleading vibrato of the bow. At the beginning of Sonata X, dotted rhythm denotes The Crucifixion, its urgency rising with three- and four-voice progressions. The uncompromising movement stops for only a moment signalled by a symbolic musical figure of the cross, with four tones of equal length.

Biber uses sharp contrasts as means of expression in the variations of Sonatas VII and X, The Flogging and The Crucifixion. The series does not end here, though, as this is still followed by a Passacaglia. It is prefaced in the autograph score by a pen drawing depicting a child being lifted up by an angel. In reference to the Rosary prayer, this obviously points to the comforting symbol of the guardian angel protecting humans and guiding them on their lifepaths.

                                                                                                                     sleeve-note: Dita Hradecká / translation: Ivan Vomáčka

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