Jozef Eliáš, Clarinet
Juraj Tomka, Violin I, Andrej Baran, Violin II
Veronika Prokešová, Viola
Pavol Mucha, Violoncello
Recorded August 31, 2016, at Studio 2, Slovak Radio, Bratislava
(Producer: David Hernando Rico - Balance Engineer: Martin Roller)
Copyright 2016 by Adriano Productions
Thoughts and Associations
With astonishing and, perhaps, even frightening autonomy, our thoughts tend to leap about apparently uncontrollably and at random - our minds making extraordinary, undisciplined Connections. We might, for instance, be reading a book, and suddenly we ‘spring’ out of its pages into a totally different place or dimension - or we may look through a window and instead of seeing trees, we might ‘see’ further and are reminded of a particular scene from a film. We recognize a person approaching from afar, and sense their fragrance even before she comes close to us. We might look at a photograph of a dear departed one and we could be suddenly transported to a mountain where we had hiked together many years previously, alternatively the same picture might remind us that his mother, ageing yet always-young-in-spirit, had enrolled on a Tango course.
This Clarinet Quintet’s thematic material is treated instinctively and emotionally. It has a short, recognizable, occasionally returning thematic cell. Hopefully, the composer’s development of his basic material through his unchecked imagination and free association will encourage his listeners to engage in flights of fancy of their own.
The clarinet’s task is not that of a principal ‘idea messenger’, even though it reminds us occasionally of that thematic cell. The string quartet (which is not just an ‘accompaniment’) fully collaborates in developing thoughts, or emphasizing different emotional atmospheres.
In the sixth movement I tried to recreate a scene (actually wit-nessed from my window) of blackbirds chasing a cat with their typically scary and percussive threats. Today I am more concerned about this movement’s rather weird and dissonant build-up - and its excessive length, compared to the remaining nine movements - and I feel more ‘abstract emotions’. As I was completing it, a telephone call brought me the news of the death of an old colleague - which perhaps justifies the elegiac atmosphere of the seventh movement. But I also just remembered that at that time I was reading Oliver Sacks’ ‘Musicophilia’.
A composer, in order to conceive, write down and elaborate musical ‘ideas’ (or ‘thoughts’) must also allow ‘associations’ of some or all of these notions to surface and develop in his consciousness. It is creatively beneficial that the ‘hard drive’ in his brain has so much of such uncontrollable material. The bits and pieces he occasionally hears and mentally sieves and assembles, lead him to experience tremendously affecting or illuminating moments, although listeners are not necessarily transported by his material in the same way. Perception is a very personal thing. But an honest composer knows how to reach his audiences and to move them emotionally; regardless of how literally they might chose to interpret the detail of the music. After all it’s for them he writes his music, otherwise he might just as well retain it on his brain’s ‘hard disk’.
This work was premiered at a Zürich Opera chamber matinee on May 2nd, 2008. It was heard again on February 9th, 2011, in the music-hall of Zürich’s Central Library; that concert was devoted to original works and arrangements of my own. The clarinetist on both occasions was Rita Karin Meier.
Adriano, June 2016 (edited by Ian Lace)