Musical youth in Třeboň
Daniel Matejca - violin
Jan Schulmeister - piano
Fratres for violin and piano
Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 ("From the Street")
Premonition (Con moto)
Czech Rhapsody for violin and piano
Lento - Andante poco moderato - Moderato - Allegretto - Adagio - Allegro non troppo
Sonata for Violin Solo No. 2 in A minor, Op. 27 "À Jacques Thibaud"
Obsession (Prélude. Poco vivace)
Malinconia (Poco lento)
Danse Des Ombres (Sarabande. Lento)
Les furies (Allegro furioso)
Romance in D major for Violin and Piano Op. 3
Romanian Dances for Violin and Piano Sz. 56
Jocul cu bâta (Dance with a Stick)
Brâul (Round Dance)
Pe loc (Stomp)
Buciumeana (Dance from Bucia)
Poarga românesca (Romanian Polka)
Mânuntelul (Two fast dances)
The title Fratres is given to several pieces by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (*1935), or rather a group of pieces written in the late 1970s. In them, the composer fixed only pitch and rhythm by notation. The instrumentation, dynamics and tempo are the performer's, who thus becomes, in a way, the co-author of the work. The original version from 1977 was subtitled 'three-part music for new or old instruments'. There is thus a version for cello, string orchestra and percussion ensembles or for cello solo. In the version for violin and piano, Fratres was performed by Gidon Kremer. The tonal material is based on the interval of pure fifths, with a melodic scheme varying in irregular rhythms in the time periods. Tension is achieved by constantly varying the duration of these sections in time and by increasing dynamics; after reaching a peak, the dynamics subside again and the tension fades.
The creation of the only piano sonata by Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was prompted by a tragic event during the struggle for the Czech University in the then predominantly German-speaking Brno. On 1 October 1905, a congress (Volkstag) of representatives of Germans from Bohemia, Moravia and Austria was convened in Brno, to which the Czech population responded with a demonstration during which the two camps clashed. The riots spilled over into the next day, the army intervened and František Pavlík, a carpenter's helper, was mortally wounded in front of the entrance to the Besední Dom. His funeral on 4 October became another manifestation of Czech national sentiment. Janáček took part in the demonstration on 1 October and the event was a strong impulse for him. The sonata originally had three movements, and extra-musical impulse guided him in the formal construction of the work, but he was not convinced of the result and destroyed the third movement - the funeral march - before the first performance at the Club of Friends of Art in Brno on 27 January 1906. At the premiere, the two remaining movements were performed under the titles "Premonition" and "Elegy" and the work was collectively titled Z ulice 1. října 1905. When the performance in Prague came later, Janáček, in a sudden fit of self-criticism, condemned these two movements as well; according to his own statement, he threw them into the Vltava River. Fortunately, they were preserved in the copy by the first performer, the pianist Ludmila Tučková. It was only on the occasion of his seventieth birthday in 1924 that Janáček agreed to publish the composition in the publishing house of the Music Matrix of the Artistic Beseda and added his own motto and dedication to it. Here a simple worker František Pavlík is kneeling, covered in blood. He came only to burn for high learning and was beaten by brutal murderers. To the memory of the worker stabbed during the demonstrations for the university in Brno." The first sentence illustrates the atmosphere, charged with growing tension, created by a stubborn rhythm and an insistent figuration, acting as a lingering image. The second movement opens with a renewed motif of the first movement as a contrast of dead silence. Alternating eruptive bursts and halts as if in awe give way to a final silent reverie.
Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) completed the Czech Rhapsody for violin and piano in July 1945 in South Orleans in the United States. It was then that Martinů met the violin virtuoso Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), whom the world had admired since the composer's childhood. In the composition, two memories come together - Kreisler's fame and the memory of his youth and home, supported by the memory of another artist of bygone times, the Czech violinist František Ondříček and his composition Czech Rhapsody, based on František Škroup's melody "Kde domov můj". Martinů used the title Czech Rhapsody for his 1918 cantata, a composition associated with the end of the First World War. Now the whole world was awaiting the end of the second, the full horrors of which were yet to be revealed. The Czech Rhapsody for violin and piano is a one-sentence free fantasy in which four sections are recognisable. After the opening movement comes a dance section, followed by a slow, lyrical section and a spirited climax.
The Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931) was one of the most renowned artists of his generation. At the age of seven, he was admitted to the conservatory in his native Liege, and went on to the Brussels Conservatory, where he became a pupil of Henryk Wieniawski and was supported by another virtuoso, Henri Vieuxtemps. Like many performing artists of his generation, Ysaÿe was also a composer, developing the possibilities of violin playing in his compositions. He contributed to a renewal of bowing that allowed players to further develop technique, expression, and fullness of tone. He began as concertmaster of the orchestra founded by Kapellmeister Benjamin Bilse (Bilse'sche Kapelle), which later grew into the core of the Berlin Philharmonic. Eugène Ysaÿe's solo career dates from 1885, when, after great success in Paris, he undertook a concert tour of Europe and the United States. He taught for a number of years at the Brussels Conservatoire and founded his own string quartet, the Quatuor Ysaÿe. From 1894 he organised the Société des Concerts Ysaÿe concert series in Brussels. In 1903 he appeared in Prague at a concert of the Czech Unity for Orchestral Music under the direction of Oskar Nedbal as soloist in Max Bruch's Violin Concerto in D minor. The critics admired his perfectly elastic, unusually long and light bowing, the pathos of his delivery, the soft grip of the strings and his balanced sound. He spent World War I in the United States as conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He continued to conduct and organize after health problems ended his solo career. He dedicated each of his Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27 of 1924 to one of his similarly renowned colleagues. He attributed the second of these, in which he quotes a motif from Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita in E major (BWV 1006), to the French violinist Jacques Thibaud (1880-1953).
The composer Reinhold Glier (1875-1956) came from Kiev, where his violin teacher was Otakar Ševčík, and another Czech violinist Jan Hřímalý taught him at the Moscow Conservatory. Glier (who later used the French form of the name Glière) later became a successful teacher himself, his pupils including Sergei Prokofiev. Using folk inspirations, he continued the tradition of the Russian national school, and was successful as a composer of ballets, operas, songs, chamber music for various ensembles, and film music. Romance for violin and piano Op. 3 was composed in 1902. Less than five minutes long, it is a characteristic work of the late Romantic style; the melancholic reverie and passionate uplift and the singing melodicism, sensitively supported by the largely chordal writing of the piano accompaniment, give the violinist space to develop his tone in great melodic arcs.
During the 19th century, elements of folklore became a popular part of musical compositions as an expression of romantic admiration for folk culture. They can be found in a highly stylized form in the works of Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák, George Enescu and other composers, and of course also in the works of Béla Bartók (1881-1945). Bartók was an ethnomusicologist and collector for many years, and the folk element aroused his historical and creative interest. He became scientifically interested in folk music in 1905. It was then that he also began to arrange folk songs for concert use. In the summer of 1909, Bartók went to Transylvania (then part of Hungary), where he collected folk songs and made an anthology of them. The trip resulted not only in the recording of authentic folklore, but also in inspiration for his own dance stylisations. In 1915 he composed a suite of Romanian dances for piano, later reworking them for orchestra, followed by arrangements for violin and piano. The opening male cane dance comes from the Turda area of Cluj County, and dance number 2 is from Toronto. The third "stomp" is a couple dance also from Toronto, and line dance #4 is from the Buciumi area. The Romanian polka is actually a dance with alternating meter. The series concludes with two fast dances from the regions of Bihor and Turda. Despite the artistic stylisation, Bartók has preserved the earthy, rustic character of the original dances.
Daniel Matejča (born in 2005) began studying with Ivan Štraus at the age of five. The young violinist's achievements include first prizes at the International Violin Competition of Master Josef Muzika in 2013-2017, absolute victory at the ZUŠ competition in 2017, first prize at the Kocian International Competition in 2016 and 2018, and in 2019 he became its laureate. In the same year, he took 1st place at the Jugend Musiziert competition in Halle, and with the Liberec Symphony Orchestra that year he performed Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in his native Liberec. In 2020, he won 1st prize at the George Phillip Telemann International Violin Competition in Poznan, Poland, and 2nd prize at the Concertino Praga International Violin Competition in the same year; in the final he played Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 in the Rudolfinum accompanied by the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, which he recorded with the Pardubice Philharmonic Orchestra in 2021. In 2021 he passed the entrance exam to the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where he continues his studies with Ivan Straus. He participated in masterclasses under the direction of Jiří Vodička and Christian Tetzlaff, organised by the Czech Philharmonic, courses at the Academy in Imola, where he worked with Maurizio Scirarretta and Boris Belkin, the Liberec International Violin Academy, the International Music Academy Orpheus in Vienna. During these courses he also works with foreign professors such as Stephen Schipps, Simon James and Michael Frischenschlager. In 2022 he won the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians in Montpellier. Daniel Matejča has performed in France, Italy, Poland, Germany, Austria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and other countries. He has recorded Eugène Ysaÿe's sonatas for the Supraphon label.
Jan Schulmeister (born in 2006) has been playing the piano since the age of five, and is currently a first-year student at the P. J. Vejvanovský Conservatory in Kroměříž, where he is also gaining experience by participating in master classes. Since the age of seven he has been regularly participating in national and international piano competitions. He has won prizes from almost thirty prestigious competitions, including the César Franck Piano Competition (Switzerland), Piano Talents (Italy), Manhattan International Competition (USA), Virtuosi per musica di pianoforte, Amadeus, Beethoven's Teplice and others. He considers one of his greatest achievements to be his participation in the finals of the International Radio Competition Concertino Praga in 2020 (Honorable Mention 1st Prize and 1st Prize of the European Union of Music Competitions for Youth) and 2021 (2nd Prize, Audience Award and Best Czech Participant Award). His competition successes have opened the way for him to collaborate with major orchestras and conductors. As the absolute winner of the Amadeus International Competition, he performed with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies. He also played under the baton of Tomáš Netopil with the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra Zlín in the project "Little Big Philharmonics". During the final nights of Concertina Praga he performed with the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra under Jiří Rozná and Vahan Mardirossian.
He regularly performs with the Wihan Quartet. As a soloist, he has performed in Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, North Macedonia, and at the Dvořák Prague Festival, Prague Spring Festival, Smetana Litomyšl Festival, Music in the Gardens and Castle Kroměříž, and the Chopin Festival in Mariánské Lázně. In 2018 he became the youngest member of the PETROF Art Family. Despite his youth, he has already released three CDs for PETROF and ArcoDiva.