In 2021, Contempuls enters its second decade.
The 11th edition will take place in the popular and concentrated form of the mini-marathon, with three concerts in a single evening featuring four ensembles. In the spirit of the festival, we decided to present the most interesting music written by contemporary composers that has never been played in Prague before – and, of course, in the best possible interpretation. A world premiere will form an indelible part of the programme.
A new piece for the festival will be written by Czech composer Soňa Vetchá, whose work is justly receiving greater and greater attention. Her composition will be performed as part of a profile concert by the Meitar Ensemble, the most respected Israeli ensemble for contemporary music. In the DOX+ hall, its members will introduce an overview of their extensive repertoire, established through direct collaborations with the best composers working today, including Sarah Nemtsov, Philippe Leroux, and Ruben Seroussi.
The festival programme, however, will begin in the almost church-like acoustics of DOX’s Auditorium. fama Q, a quartet well known to new music audiences, will be joined by the Cappella Mariana vocal ensemble to perform ET LUX, an hour-long meditation on fragments of the Latin Requiem mass by the living classic of German music, Wolfgang Rihm.
The work of composer Kevin Volans is well known to regular festival attendees. The creative development of this Irish composer with roots in South Africa, who was a guest of the festival in 2016, is best observed in his oeuvre for string quartet. His String Quartet no. 1, “White Man Sleeps”, written in the second half of the 1980s for the Kronos Quartet, made the composer famous around the world thanks to its accessibility and attractive use of traditional African music. His newer works, however, are marked by a high degree of abstraction and a certain ungraspability. String Quartet no. 12 is based on an alternation of nervous pizzicato passages and long tones. Volans wrote it in 2016 for the Cologne-based Signum Quartett. And it will be this ensemble, which has collaborated with figures including György Kurtág, Alfred Brendel, and Jörg Widmann, that will introduce the work in Prague. For the conclusion of the festival, they will join forces with fama Q for a joint performance of Volans’s almost Zen-like String Quartet no. 6, which is based on the alternation of only a few simple chords among the ensembles.
We are looking forward to sharing this experience with you,
Your festival team