Tomáš Klement records Sadie Harrison’s ‘..sláva hvězd..’ for Czech Radio 3
..sláva hvězd.. (composed 2018) takes its name from a fictional description of ancient Prague by Alois Jirásek in his Old Czech Legends (1894), translated as ‘I see a great city, touched by the glory of stars..’ The four movements take inspiration from well known Bohemian and Czech pieces from the eleventh to nineteenth centuries, with overt, if fragmentary quotations woven into the music.
I Hospodine pomiluj ny is the oldest known Czech hymn which can be traced back to the Slavonic Church. It is first mentioned in 1055 when it was sung during the election of Duke Spytihněv II of Bohemia. The hymn is an equivalent of the Latin Kyrie Eleison - Lord, have mercy on us, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us…Lord, give to all of us life and peace in our land.
II Old World’s Ghost starts with a reference to the Largo movement from Dvořák’s Z nového světa (New World Symphony). As well as containing perhaps the most recognizable of all Czech melodies, it has a personal significance - I live in Shaftesbury at the top of the hill used in the 1970s Hovis advert!
III Zahrajte si krásné cikány is popular throughout central Europe, also known as Black Gypsies and often performed by solo accordion in the style of a slow tango. The tango feel can be felt throughout my interpretation, with the central section entitled ‘A deep lament for the lost’, referencing the Romové (Czech Roma gypsies) who were a main target of Nazi extermination programmes and the subject of forced relocation during the Communist era.
IV Spi mé malé poupě is a traditional lullaby first published in 1630 in Informatorium maternum by Iohannes Amos Comenius. Its title translates as Sleep, my little rosebud and the first verse continues Sleep little pigeon, Sleep for a good while, An hour, three, four, Baby, hence my English title. The music is fast and quirky, an unpredictable pigeon dance rather than a lilting lullaby.
Tomáš Klement is a soloist and a chamber musician who has performed concerts in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, and the USA, and has formed regular partnerships with players from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Bergen Philharmonic.
He has appeared numerous times as a soloist with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, and several of his performances have been broadcast on Czech Television and Czech Radio 3, for which he made several recordings. In 2014, he released a critically acclaimed debut solo album, Contemplation of Life, under the EITO Music label.
He studied at the Janáček Conservatoire (Czech Republic) and the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was the recepient of the Sterndale-Benett scholarship to study with Ian Fountain. During his studies, he won prizes in national and international piano competitions including the Oxford Music Festival Piano Competition, Lagny-sur-Marne International Piano Competition (France), the National Intercollegiate Competition of Czech Conservatories, the International Beethoven and the International Smetana Piano Competitions (Czech Republic).
(29 Apr 2019)