Charles GunsaullusDate26th May 2005Absolutely Brilliant!!!If this has not yet been performed, then why the @#$! not?!?!?OK, enough with the histrionics. This is a simply brilliant work that definitely should be played in its entirety (forget the program notes). I think of Hindemith when I hear it, but I actually prefer the Bláha. It is a wonderful modern violin piece that should, if not already, find its way onto any recital.The technique involved is not prohibitive, but the work is not easy. Again, I would think this piece would fit nicely on any senior rectial, sandwitched in between some Bach, Brahms, and Kreisler. If I had known of it 15 years ago, I would have insisted on it for mine.Violinists, please consider this piece, as it will not alienate listeners at your recital. Rather, it will enhance your impression on them!!CGRays has nothing in common with sound description. It concerns rather internal characterization of the piece – ideal of bright expression, clear outline, simplicity and direct way of thinking. During my composition I had a vision of some concentrated force or constant natural relation, all elements around subordinate to it. The impact of that power is observable, but its source remains in distance beyond sight." (Author to premiere 27. 2. 1978)
Ivo Bláha: Senza arco (Missing bow) for string quartet
Reviewer Koen Dejonghe, 5th Dec 2003
Pizzicato festival. This wonderful piece for pizzicato string quartet is a pleasure to listen. I like the sound of his chords, the funny rhythms with the effects on instruments and the aristocrat efficiency of his material. It’s a simple ABA structure and he uses the lydian modus. After the end, it’s just like somebody was there without saying a word and disappears with all his secrets in the night. A great miniature!
Ivo Bláha: Quasi sonata per clavicembalo
I. Largo serioso - Opening movement of the four-part work should make an impression of a spectacular entrance of a dramatic scene. Harpsichord commences with monumental sound, like majestic organ. The music then gradually lightens and brightens till it fades away at ethereal height.
II. Animato - The character of this movement is a scenic tale with an exciting plot. The vivid storyline is dramatically escalated by the clashes of the contrasting musical characters – expressional opposite poles. In the course of the movement the sarcasm of the fast staccato sequences is confronted with the nostalgia of the static calm, terrifying mystery of deep darkness and lofty pathos.
III. Lento - The slow movement should remind of the typical speech of harpsichord known from history. The core of this seamless movement is a simple monophonic melody. This is gradually developed in polyphonic structures with imitating advancements and typical period idioms including symptomatic ornaments. The movement is concluded by the effect of resonating strings making an impression of total dispersion of the musical picture into silence.
IV. Allegro non serioso - At the finale the serious expressional shades of whole work are supplemented with lightweight fast music. After the pensive central part this passage returns again and optimistically concludes the whole work. (Author to premiere 24.2.1999)
Ivo Bláha: Imaginations for violin and piano
"In our own fancies we have unlimited freedom, nothing stops us from becoming the creator of our own ideal world, the kind of world we might occasionally yearn for in a romantic frame of mind. The single-movement work entitled Imaginations written in 1988 is probably a dream of this kind about something ideal, out of reach, something which exists only in feelings and which cannot be communicated in any other way except through music. The work is shaped into a gentle setting with secret lyricism, moving to animated playfulness, however, we also discern a hit of the fated memento of transience." (Author's comment from booklet of CD "KALEIDOSCOPE" – A view of contemporary Czech music for violin and piano – 1999 Triga)
Ivo Bláha: Macrocosm for piano
"The piece Macrocosm is framed as coherently developing compact area. Depicting of transparent sound picture with delicately ranked nuances is entrusted to piano – instrument for this role as if fated for its pure fragile expression. Sense of this music is not to urge by rough force or to demonstrate a blinding technique. It would rather tempt to emotive immerse in irrecoverably passing of time, mystique of universe even human soul. (Name Macrocosm intentionally remembers famous Bartok’s Microcosm, but don’t let us looking for other relations with it.)" (Author 8.11.1999)
Ivo Bláha: String Quartet No. 4 – Curriculum vitae
"The subtitle Curriculum vitae is meant universally, as a course of human live. Autobiographical allusions appear only sporadically, for example in the 2nd movement with plentiful quotation of motives from discovered musical world. Over the base of Bach’s Prelude there is flowing citations of Mozart, Smetana, Tchaikowski, Janáček, but also jazz evergreen and author’s own work." (Author to premiere 14.11.2001)
Ivo Bláha: Soliloquy with Marimba for marimba & player's voice
"Marimba is an instrument with a special charm. Whereas the sound of the piano is connected with the atmosphere of salons or concert halls, the sound of marimba evokes archetypal feelings that we have had since the prehistoric times. Long time ago, people tried to awaken nature material to sound. The sounds of wood would be certainly an inspiration for a spontaneous music creation. Similarly, the performance of Soliloquy with Marimba should not be just a usual player's concert production. Musician behaves freely as if he/she is alone, not on the stage, joyfully playing with the instrument, being absorbed in its magic. The music seems to be arising just at the moment the player is touching the wood of marimba. He/she indicates emotional attitude also by his/her voice – as a kind of soliloquy. The work is written for 5 octaves instrument." (Author to premiere 10.3.2002)
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About audio-visual work "SOLILOQUY WITH MARIMBA"
The work does not want to be a spectacular show. On the contrary it is intimate sight of a musician, who in solitude takes pleasure in juggling with his instrument – marimba – and lets himself to fall for its magical attraction. The music as if just originates under hands of the player, who in his emotive keenness spontaneously reacts even with his voice, as a soliloquy.
The audio-visual implementation of the musical composition followed clear intention: To lead the visual component in close unity with the musical action, however not by descriptive way, which would take the viewer’s focus off immersing in music. To take care of poetics and emotive effectiveness of the picture. To look for suitable setting on the frontier between reality and abstracts, where aesthetic impressiveness would contribute to integrate it with unreal content of the music into a unit of higher artistic order.
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Synopsis of the musical film "SOLILOQUY WITH MARIMBA"
Music is a common part of our life chiefly as a mass entertainment, produced in public on musical or theatrical stages etc. But there is also another type of musical activity: The intimate play with tones, exciting process of birth of the music intensively enjoyed by its creator oneself. The film Soliloquy with Marimba is not intended as a spectacular show. On the contrary, it is an intimate insight into privacy of a musician, who without any audience, entirely alone, plays with his instrument – marimba. He submits to its spellbinding sound, as an archetype carried over from prehistory. At that time music was arising spontaneously. Primeval man tried to sound various materials and the sounds of wood may have inspired him to elemental music creation. Similarly, in this movie the music is as if just originating under the hands of the musician. In the emotional captivation he reacts spontaneously also with his voice – like a kind of soliloquy.
This film is based on the composition “Soliloquy with Marimba for marimba & player's voice” by Ivo Bláha. Although the score is elaborated in detail, the result is supposed to look like an unprepared playing of the musician for his own pleasure. The optimal mode of presentation of such a specific intention is its adaptation for screen. Film can induce the needful intimate atmosphere; it allows the viewer to get near-hand close to the attractive instrument and to watch player’s admirable virtuosity. The audio-visual implementation of the musical composition followed a clear intention: To lead the visual component in close unity with the musician’s action, but not in a descriptive way, which would take the viewer’s focus off immersing in music. The poetic and emotive impact of the picture and its appropriate stylization on the edge of reality and abstractness are able to integrate it better with the unreal content of the music. In comparison with a standard TV recording of a concert, this way represents a higher level of artistic synthesis.
Ivo Bláha: Hádes – ancient picture for contrabassoon and piano
Mythic subterranean escapeless kingdom, where ghosts of those, who were once upon a time alive, waver evermore. Mournful underworld, whose gate is guarded by three-headed hound Kerberos and where god Hades domineers. His gloomy face lights up only by looking at graceful Persephone, whose he once kidnapped from earthly mead. Only once a year he let her go back and at this moment all countryside wakes up and comes into flowers under her lucent smile. This ancient Greek legend was inspirational impulse for creation of programme piece for contrabassoon and piano called Hades. (Author)
Ivo Bláha: Satyr's circle for clarinet solo
"Short one-movement virtuoso piece was inspired by admirable performances of young Czech clarinettists. It is based on two antithetic settings of clarinet: waggish, irrepressibly unrestrained display of contrasts with demoniacal seduction luring into cryptic traps." (Author to premiere 9.11.2004)
Ivo Bláha: Quadrille – dance fantasy for viola foursome
The main impulsion for the creation of this work was author’s awakened interest in peculiar sound appeal of violas with velvet timbre suggesting archaic origin of these instruments. Their specific expression steps up notably in case of plain colour without diverse instruments. Fanciful dance impression of the work is induced by distinct rhythmicity and expressional variety dreamily oscillating between scenes of carefree playfulness, exciting motion and tense calm. The trait of quadrille is indicated also by using four voices as two dance pairs situated at counter position.
Ivo Bláha: ZOOLESSONS - 11 miniatures for harpsichord
"The cycle of eleven miniatures Zoolessons for harpsichord (2005) was arranged by author from original version of his piece for guitar solo. For concert rendering there is recommended a selection of the cycle. The stated registering can be modified. Author’s idea of the work: The old-time clock just strikes five; it’s the time for evening pleasure: lighting a candle and browsing the ancient illustrated book about fauna. The animal’s world wakes up in mind and transmutes into music - each chapter into another musical image. However, the night is too short, the cockcrow dawns and the home zoology lessons ends." (Author to premiere 18. 5. 2006)
Ivo Bláha: Alter ego per violino e viola
"An Inspiration to creating the duo for violin and viola comes from general principle of biuniqueness. This alter ego is a shadow, a mirror, a partner and also an antagonist. Both figures alternately identify with each other, diverge and get together, but all the time they remain as if they were the only body." (Author to premiere 29.3.2007)
Ivo Bláha: Piano Trio No. 1 for violin, cello and piano
"The work has one-piece form and classical cast of piano trios. It comes out from traditional elements, but it heads to modern sense expression oscillating among spheres of light mysteriousness, frailly lyricism, expressive energy and even gentle humour." (Author to premiere 1.4.2008)
Ivo Bláha: Homage to Horns for four French horns
I. Entrata - Allegro assai, II. Nenia - Andante, III. Finale - Vivace.
"The three-movement work Homage to Horns is built in line of arch with top reversed down. It starts by Entrata with exultant expression which gradually fades away, till it comes to the second part meditative Nenia. In the final movement the music again increases in energy, as if it aimed at the view of open horizon. The work is dedicated in memoriam to prof. Alois Čoček. The texture of the composition is rather unusual, musical elements transfer from voice to voice. It can slightly suggest distant historic practice in proverbial Russian horn band called "rogovaja muzika". But that changing of instruments had another reason: The natural horn did not allow playing in whole chromatic scale. That’s why in those band there were instruments with various fundamental tuning whose single tones could be combined as needed." (Author)
Ivo Bláha: Piano trio No. 2 for violin, violoncello and piano
I. Sostenuto, II. Animato
"Piano trio No. 2. was written to 120th jubilee of Czech Chamber Music Society in Prague. It is music work with no concrete programme. But in the course of the work there is possible to notice procedures, which we can call musical actions. The organization of syntactic elements of the piece as if submits to the logic of natural order based on general psychological relations, on an archetype carried over from old ages of mankind and also on personally seen life events. The phenomena of music, anchored to parameter of time, as if it was specially predestined for modelling of dynamic processes similar to natural actions, changeable emotional states – all which occur inside and outside us. Similar music actions can thus seem familiar, somehow intimate to us." (Author)
Ivo Bláha: Levitation for violin solo
"Levitation – it means poising of some object in the air by repressiveness of gravitational force. To lift off, to fly, there is age-old desire of mankind. Technically it can oppose to gravitation by utilization of magnetic, aerodynamic, optic even acoustic principle. Illusionists or spiritualists practise the levitation like old favourite trick. Nevertheless, some exceptional persons supposedly truly had ability to levitate with the aid of strong will and mental concentration through godly trance. We others, whose lack such abilities, yet have wonderful possibility to live out in our dreams fantastic feeling of a dematerialization of own body and flying in space. And such vision sometime can serve as creative inspiration." (Author)
Ivo Bláha: Fantasia per pianoforte
"Fantasia" is not a programme music, but no boundless ramble. There are specific musical story being in motion in compliance with one's own system. Powerful inspiration at searching of effective emotional music content was the singularity of sound means of expression ability of piano. (Author - to premiere 21.6.2016)
13 December 2016 - Bohuslav Martinů Days
Premiere of Ivo Bláha’s Fair Play: Concertino for flute, clarinet, French horn, bassoon and piano.
The intention here was to treat each individual instrument in an even-handed manner, hence the title. A native of Litomyšl and a former pupil of Jaroslav Řídký and Vladimír Sommer at AMU, Bláha composes in a loosely tonal style, without applying any strict system but simply following his poetic fantasy to the last detail. One could well apply here Goethe’s description “exact fantasy”. Since the 1970s, he has shown a penchant for chamber music, often writing for single instruments. I recall his Two Inventions for solo flute as being among the more interesting compositions presented at the Week of new Works which I attended back in 1975, and before writing this review I listened again to the live recording issued by Supraphon shortly afterwards. Judging from this new composition, his music has shown remarkable stylistic consistency, demonstrating a fine feeling for instrumental characterisation, with filigree attention to detail. This was subtle, civilised and positive music of the kind that Martinů himself would surely have admired and it was a pleasure to have been drawn into the composer’s imaginative world.
Patrick Lambert – Martinů revue 1 2017 |10
Ivo Bláha: VÁBENÍ pro klarinet / CALLS for clarinet
"The feeling of desire to explore the magic powers of nature, to follow the tempting calling of the unknown, was the incentive for the creation of this single-movement composition in which mysterious and slightly playful music is intertwined." (Author)
Ivo Bláha: SCHERZINO per flauto solo
"When working on this diminutive flute creation I was attracted by imaginations of something pure, playful, liberating, able to overcome dreary thoughts of the hopeless state of the surrounding world. The musical expression of this little piece is a spontaneous, personal testimony of the author; perhaps it may resonate with the listener´s soul as well." (Author)