PRESS RELEASE Brno, 21. 1. 2022
Filharmonie Brno is releasing its third recording on its own label. It is an album featuring works by Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt. “Nekrolog, Symphony No. 3 and Lamentate provide a cross-section of his entire creative period. The first of these compositions is from his avant-garde period, the symphony is from the period he sought inspiration in mediaeval music, and Lamentate belongs to his later style,” says Filharmonie Brno Managing Director, Marie Kučerová.
The recording was produced under the guidance of Filharmonie Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Dennis Russell Davies, while pianist Maki Namewaka took on the solo part in Lamentate. “The idea of recording this album came about after performing Lamentate at a subscriber’s concert, and shortly afterwards performing Symphony No. 3 at the Janáček Brno festival. It was the evening prior to a lockdown being declared, and we knew that this was probably the last time we’d be performing in front of a live audience. The only option we had over many long months was streaming and recording. This album, then, is a tribute to this great contemporary composer, but also a memento of the difficult time in which it was produced, and which Pärt’s timeless music needs so much,” explains Filharmonie Brno Programme Director, Vítězslav Mikeš. He adds that the recording was made in November 2020 at Besední dům.
Chief Conductor Davies has enjoyed many years of friendship with Pärt, and as a result he is considered one of the best and most authentic interpreters of his orchestral work. He made use of this friendship, for example, to consult Pärt about parts in Nekrolog’s score that were unclear. Considering the fact that Pärt rarely goes back to his early compositions, the possibility of dialogue with him makes this recording all the more valuable. “Arvo Pärt’s emergence as much revered and beloved composer world wide is one of the most important and welcome aspects of contemporary musical life. That two of my closest composer friends – Arvo and Philip Glass – have over the years built a friendship based on mutual respect and musical values is for me personally especially satisfying. I owe the beginnings of an ever closer personal and musical relationship with Arvo to the pioneering spirit of Manfred Eicher, who through his ECM recordings made Arvo Pärt’s music available for the first time worldwide,” explains Davies.
The introductory single-movement dodecaphonic Nekrolog, written in 1960, ensured recognition for Pärt amongst his like-minded colleagues, but it also put him in disfavour with official bodies, so the piece was stored away in a safe for a number of years. In reality, it represents a necrology for the living, not for the dead.
His Symphony No. 3 is illustrative of the period in which he immersed himself in the study of mediaeval music, a period in which he hardly composed for a number of years and found “early music for the turn of the second and third millennia.” This three-movement piece is marked by a Gothic majesty, simplicity, diatonic scale and static nature inspired by Gregorian chants and early polyphony. All three movements follow on smoothly from one other.
Pärt uniquely returned to the larger form for symphony orchestra in 2022 with his Lamentate piano concerto. “It is not a piano concerto in the strict sense of the word, the solo instrument is entirely devoid of any technical brilliance, its virtuosity is of another order, and it is subject to the philosophical aspect of the work,” says Mikeš.
The piece is homage to Anish Kapoor’s giant sculpture, Marsyas. This hundred and fifty metre long deep red artefact is likely the largest sculpture ever to have been displayed indoors. The installation in London’s Tate Museum was designed so that the piece could not be viewed as a whole from any single place – holding on to its mystery and evoking both wonder and malaise in the viewer at the same time – the same feelings one gets when contemplating life and death.
Maki Namekawa took on the solo part in Lamentate. „Each time, I hear Arvo’s music, I am struck by the intense message behind each phrase, even tone. When performing this music,I can feel that the audience is with me, and it was very special for me that my first ‚concerto‘ appearance in the time of the pandemie is with this deeply moving piece. After every conversation with Arvo,by telephone or in person,his kind and perceptive remarks echo further in me, just like his music does. Keith Jarrett said once, „Music is the result of a process a musician goes through,” words that I understand more fully each time that I play Arvo’s music. “Lamentate“ has become a companion for life,“ says Namekawa.
Filharmonie Brno released two albums on its own label last year: Reicha’s oratorio Lenora, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 1 and Bagatelles in an arrangement by Chief Conductor Davies. All these albums, Lenora also in 2LP format, can be purchased at the orchestra’s concerts, from presales, from Filharmonie’s online store and also on Spotify and Apple Music and other platforms . The fourth album is planned for release next week with a recording of the symphony in its world premiere.
Media contact Kateřina Konečná, Head of PR and Marketing, Filharmonie Brno
+420 775 426 040 firstname.lastname@example.org