Prague Kaleidoscope
Martin BRUNNER (b.1983)
Quiet Talk [6:44]
Jan FREIDLIN (b.1944)
Prague Kaleidoscope [14:34]
Karel RŮŽIČKA (b.1940)
Bolero [5:59]
Lukáš HURNÍK (b.1967)
Conversations [12:10]
Ondřej KUKAL (b.1964)
Kytaroviolino, Op.41 [6:37]
Matej BENKO (b.1979)
Strangers [9:35]
Duo Teres (Lucia Fulka Kopsová (violin); Tomáš Honěk (guitar))
rec. September 2015, Sono Records, Czech Republic
ARCO DIVA UP0182 2131 [55:53]

Lucia Fulka Kopsová and Tomáš Honěk form a violin-and-guitar duo and they regularly seek new music from Czech composers. They are known as Duo Teres and have here corralled a sextet of works to construct a 56-minute programme.

Martin Brunner’s Quiet Talk is cast in two parts, the first romantic and lyrical – charming water’s edge kind of music, dappled and liquid – whilst the second is faster with a syncopated dialogue between the two instruments. It ends as it began - delightfully. The piece that lends its name to the album was written by Jan Freidlin and consists of five evocatively named movements. This is very approachable music, with a quietly insistent funeral march rubbing shoulders with more pop-attuned music, folk-like fiddling, and a firefly scherzo-like central piece called Night Lanterns’ Dance. A coiling ballad infuses Old Street Tune – not so far from John Williams – and there’s a finale that certainly doesn’t spurn opportunities for sheer good-natured fun, drawing on both instruments. Burnished Iberian music is the focus of Karel Růžička’s Bolero, with a meditative central section and a strong infusion of Piazzolla.

Lukáš Hurník’s Conversations is a cleverly intricate sequence of five movements that sees dialogue or monologue, with one instrument leading and then the other. Each of these movements is deftly characterised so that Doubts implies the halting, somewhat distracted nature of the writing and Confrontation and Résumé shows a gradual thawing toward an affecting amoroso. Rhythmic zest is the mark of Ondřej Kukal’s compact Kytaroviolino which approaches - but doesn’t quite embrace - jazzy territory. Its vibrancy however remains a lasting pleasure. Finally, there is the three-part Strangers by Matej Benko. Flamenco is enshrined here as well as a spot of soft-rocking with light jazz to cross-pollinate.

Each of the composers has written a paragraph or so in the booklet that explains or suggests their motivation for writing these commissioned pieces. Kukal’s is the shortest at thirty-five words. By far the most disarming is Benko’s contribution, which starts by admitting that ‘I do not consider myself a composer, rather a player with certain authorship potential.’

These largely light-hearted, genial, zesty works suit the violin-and-guitar medium well. They bring deft sonority and lyrical warmth.

Jonathan Woolf

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