Can’t you keep up? Then slow down. That’s the spirit of the 31st year of the Exposition of New Music, starting this Friday. “Sometimes you may feel that you can’t keep up at all, that nothing works out, that you simply won’t make it; but then you stop, take some time off and find that things can wait – that no one else will do your job anyway and there’s actually no rush,” said the programmer of the festival, Viktor Pantůček. For that reason, the Exposition this year returns to what we weren’t able to finish or what did not turn out well for some reason or other. Hence, after a year’s pause we again welcome to Brno Charlemagne Palestine and Christina Kubisch, and also commemorate Milan Adamčiak. “We want to find time to fit it all in, and we would like our audiences to make time too,” emphasised Pantůček. All of the festival’s projects, therefore, urge us to stop, relax and enjoy listening to music.
The Exposition has spring and autumn sections. The former starts this Friday at Špilberk castle. “Charlemagne Palestine is a world-renowned composer, organist, pianist and carillon player. We have commissioned him to write a work for the carillon and perform it in the Špilberk castle’s Great Courtyard. His CharleStummingMusic for Zvonkohra Brno will be a charming performance and a world premiere to boot,” noted Pantůček. The second half of the evening will feature a special Brno version of Hans W Koch’s sound installation, Bell + beast (glocke + trier) – version for Spilberk carillon. Tickets will be available at the venue for 50 Kč.
On Saturday, the Exposition continues with Christina Kubisch’s Electrical Walks. The composer will create her electrical walks from sounds generated by electromagnetic fields in various places in Brno. She will personally “guide” you through the city equipped with special headphones. This will allow you to hear Brno as you’ve never heard it before – it is a unique, irreproducible composition. Over the past 13 years, Kubisch has mapped many cities in this way, including the world’s metropolises, such as London, New York, Mexico City and Reykjavík. “Some sounds are similar everywhere, others are totally specific to a place. And the electromagnetic fields everywhere are much more melodic than many would expect,” explained Kubisch. The walks, for up to ten people, start in the foyer of Besední dům at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Admission fee is 50 Kč, payable at the start of the walk.
The inconspicuous project Hl´adaJ mA. MA, commemorating visits to Brno of the Slovak intermedia artist Milan Adamčiak, also makes a contribution to the Exposition. From the first day of summer, Adamčiak’s works will be hidden in eight places in Brno, at each of which those participating in the search will receive a stamp on a special card. The imprints of all eight stamps will create a remix of Adamčiak’s experimental poem, and those who collect all eight will be given free entry to the first complete performance of Adamčiak’s Requiem during the autumn section of the Exposition, on 12 October at the Red Church.
The autumn section will start the day before, on 11 October, with a concert by the soprano Lore Lixenberg, who will perform Giacinto Scelsi’s cycle of 20 songs, Canti del Capricorni, in its entirety. “The Italian aristocrat Giacinto Scelsi composed in a very idiosyncratic way. He would sit down, let time and his conscious mind dissolve away and sing his works to assistants who would write them down. It is as if his works came from a different world, where the laws of our hurried times do not apply,” explained Pantůček. Lore Lixenberg’s beautiful soprano will be supplemented with, in the first song, a gong, in the fourth, a double-bass, in the seventh, a saxophone, in the 15th and 19th, percussion, in the 16th, electronics, and in the last, a flute.
The festival will close with a performance by the Spanish Plural Ensemble, featuring the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. At Besední dům they will play works by Peter Maxwell Davies , Georg Friedrich Haas, Fabián Panisello and a new work by Ivo Medek.
The festival always gives an opportunity for top local musicians to perform, and this year as part of the accompanying programme the Divergent Connection Orchestra will seek the aural traces of Brno in its streets on 14 June. The autumn section will close with a concert by the Brno Contemporary Orchestra entitled The House of Fear, commemorating the legacy of Jan Zahradníček and music by Fausto Romitteli. The concert will take place on 17 October in the chapel of the former prison in Cejl street, where Zahradníček was imprisoned and wrote some of his poems.
The programming of the festival, which now enters into its fourth decade, is highly praised by experts and the general public alike. “It regularly appears high up in the rankings of the country’s small festivals,” noted Marie Kučerová, the director of the Brno Philharmonic, which organises the festival.
Kateřina Konečná, head of the PR and marketing department at the Brno Philharmonic
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