Comments in English


Ivo Bláha: BERGAMASCA - symphonic scherzo

    Reviewer Fredrick Zinos, 10th Aug 2003

Modern but easy to listen to. Maestro Blaha is one of the most original voices in Eastern Europe. Though his music is clearly influenced by other composers of his time and place (Lutoslawski comes to mind), the spare and angular writing is very original and very attractive. This piece can be easily grasped by any young composer wishing to extend hid musical vocabulary. Most impressive is structural clarity of the composition which makes the exotic nature of the sound comprehensible, even on a first hearing.

    Reviewer Michael Morse, 4th Jun 2003

Urgently Recommended.. especially to all younger composers interested in modern orchestral writing. Ivo Bláha is a master composer and orchestrator, with much to teach us all. MW Morse


Ivo Bláha: ORNAMENTS for piano and orchestra

     "The name Ornaments might people think of rococo music, music embellished with decorative ornamentation. But in this composition, ornament has much more basic meaning. The ornament becomes the elemental inspirational basis of the musical morphology, of the craftsmanship and of the structure as a whole. In a way, the composition has something in common with decorative embroidery or lace, in which the tiniest elements combine to create abstract shapes or stylized natural forms. However, primary thing it isn’t the principals of forms or shapes themselves, but it is the problem how to fill them up with living, musically arresting and emotively exciting contents. (Author to premiere 14.3.2004) 

    Reviewer Tony Matthews, 6th Dec 2003: 

Gripped This is a masterpiece. I was intrigued at the start and my attention was hekd ti the very last note. Very modern sounding and yet clearly identifiable themes that built in a magical way. The orchestration isn't bad either :-)

    Reviewer Jeffery Lague, 5th Dec 2003

Aural Enchantment The composer suggests that this work might recall "ornamental needlework or lace..where abstract figures grow out of the tiniest elements." And indeed the filigree piano writing and delicate orchestral sonorities weave a glittering web of aural enchantment. Here is composer whose credentials are impeccable and whose technique is consummate. Why on earth isn't his work better known?

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Dramaturg of Days of Bohuslav Martinů - Václav Riedlbauch - in programme booklet to concert 10.12.2016:


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Ivo Bláha: Ornaments for piano and orchestra - Festival B. Martinů – December 10th 2016

… It was followed by Ornaments, a single movement piece for piano and orchestra by Ivo Bláha, which had been commissioned and performed in 2004 during Professor Riedlbauch’s five-year tenure as managing director of the Czech Philharmonic. Daniel Wiesner, who had been the pianist in the premiere, proved himself extremely sensitive to the composer’s refined sound world in this fascinating piece, which held my attention throughout, being so full of fantasy and imaginative touches always somehow connected with nature. In his comments about the piece, the composer writes about “the tiniest of elements” joining to form “abstract shapes or stylised nature motifs” and at one point I sensed an almost ravelian evocation of daybreak. after the very successful performance, the shy and self-effacing Ivo Bláha took a bow and congratulated the players. I felt that a piece like this fully justified his appointment as composer-in-residence and I looked forward to encountering more of his music later on in the festival. 

Patrick Lambert, Martinů revue 1 2017 | 9 



Ivo Bláha: CYCLORAMA for symphonic orchestra

     "The term Cyclorama means a stage circular panoramic image which, if spun round, gives the impression of an unending sequence of scenes following one after the other. I gave the work the motto 'How the heavens opened, raining down strangely and persistently on the little stones'. This was how, at a very young age, my child once decided to solve the age-old dilemma and philosophical dispute on how life on Earth began. I tried to imagine the next stage in the development of this primeval beginning, all the way to somewhere in the unforseeably distant future, and to indicate it using a musical parallel. The work contains imitative and musically symbolic elements here and there, but, on the whole, this is not a superficial illustration of the action, and it would be a mistake to seek specific meanings in the general substance of the music. In any case, ideas outside the music itself tend to have sense more for the composer, as an impulse for musical inspiration." (Author to premiere by Czech Philharmonic 24. 3. 2006) 


Ivo Bláha: AIR THERAPY - Treatment by Breath for wind and percussion

     "In 1977 Ivo Bláha (*1936) wrote his Sinfonia "Per archi" , where the symphony orchestra was reduced to just the string section. His latest orchestral composition, Air Therapy – Treatment by Breath for wind and percussion, is the very reverse of that: the strings are absent in the orchestra while the other instruments – woodwinds, brass and percussion – remain on the podium. Those works, separated by thirty years, do not differ only in their instrumentation but above all in spirit of the music. While in the earlier work the music is more abstract and revolves around specific colour and magical sound of the strings, Air Therapy presents an altogether different kind of music. It is based on the wind instruments, whose sound is light, simple, with a distinctive charm in the lyrical, comic, mysterious and dramatic passages. The composer believes that wind instruments are able to stimulate and bring harmony to the human psyche, and thought them ideal for setting this composition apart from current trend for sombre music that not infrequently recalls an arrow pointing downwards. Air Therapy is then an attempt to turn that arrow upwards, at least a little." (Author in booklet to premiere 21.3.2009)


Ivo Bláha: PASSACAGLIA for violoncello and strings on the theme by J. S. Bach

     "The piece runs in uniform measure. Introductory quotation of Bach’s theme is followed by 12 variations with interludes which gradually pass all keys in a circle of fifths. Systematic alternation of two styles poses a pointed confrontation with history, as if we are looking back on our way, searching for certainty in contemporary chaos and decay of cultural values. It may be Bach’s work where we can find a message about the meaning of a common scheme of things and also about the sense of restrictions we can impose on ourselves to fill or even exceed of our own free will our delimited space." (Author's commentary to premiere 28.11.2011)


Ivo Bláha: ORBIS MUSICUS for three guitars and chamber orchestr

     "We marvel at nature around us, we are amazed at boundless variety of its forms with firm scheme of things. Only music has ability to create thus endlessly manifold world of images in human mind. It can lead us through unexplored land of colourful pictures, indescribable cosmos of musical imagination, generable just by our own fantasy. On this way through the space and time it’s possible to undergo dignified serenity even excitatory tension, beatific brightness even scary dark of the deep, here a monument springs up, elsewhere playful life of microworld or bizarre scene of enigmatic creatures... Of course, spontaneous flow of weird sound events needn't pose total chaos, if all those phenomena, like in the nature, are subjected to hidden support – natural laws.”  (Author to premiere 26.11.2012)