Unlikely Combination: Czech, Spanish, Quechuan … Glass
As part of its “Music Visions” series, Ensemble Inégal links 18th-century Baroque music from the Czech lands and Spain, with South American cultures and Philip Glass’ Symphony No 3, at Prague’s Divadlo Archa at 8 pm Nov 3.
The Ensemble’s series, now in its 8th season, speaks to a diverse audience, and tries to connect apparently unrelated music, art, and theatre works, Adam Viktora tells us. The ensemble’s founder and conductor, he explains, “Therefore we chose Glass, as he seems to be a perfect link between Baroque and contemporary music.”He reveals an intriguing discovery he made. “About 12 years ago we started to discover the work of an unknown Czech Baroque composer, Jan Josef Ignác Brentner [1689-1742]. We began to work on the first CD of his music, and we were immensely surprised that one of his compositions had been already recorded a few years before us, in Bolivia! This piece was preserved from the Jesuit mission there in the first half of the 18th century.
“Since that time we have been attracted to Czech and other European Baroque music found among Native Americans.”
How much time did Mr Viktora spend preparing for this “Americano” concert? “It took me altogether 11 years,” he tells Opus Osm.
‘New Contemporary Baroque’
“Imagine that the music of a man born in Dobřany near Plzeň was in his lifetime played by Incas,” Mr Viktora enthuses about Brentner. “This is definitely unbelievable.”
The concert also features compositions by Spanish Baroque composers including Mateo Flecha the Elder, with a work published by his nephew who at one time served Rudolf II, King of Bohemia, in Prague.
Philip Glass’ Symphony No 3 is said to be his most traditional piece. “Phil Glass’ music has fascinated me for many years,” the Ensemble conductor admits, adding that he was charmed right away by this symphony. “And with its 19 stringed instruments it fits in to our repertoire brilliantly. If I exaggerate it with a dose of fantasy a bit,” he reveals, “his music is in a way new contemporary Baroque music. I find this event an ideal opportunity to match his music, and its repetitive composition themes, with Baroque music very often based on similar principles.”
So how do the Ensemble Inégal musicians perceive the change from their more usual, mainly Baroque repertoire?“Always when I bring in something like this, my colleagues usually cannot hide their doubts and surprise, as they are not used to something like this in other Baroque ensembles,” Mr Viktora admits. “But I definitely would not be very happy to play only Baroque music!
“And in the end they are overwhelmed. It is fantastic when you move the boundaries and do things that no one else thought of before, or was not courageous enough.” – oo
‘Americano’ is presented by Ensemble Inégal at 8 pm Mon, Nov 3 at Divadlo Archa.
– Hana Blažková, Opus Osm writer
Photo Credits: Top: Bamse, Wikipedia; all others, Ensemble Inégal