Francisextet and guitar virtuoso Pavel Steidl

Mezinárodní hudební festival Český Krumlov – Francisextet, Maškarní sál, foto: Libor Sváček;

Last Tuesday Francisextet presented a beautiful program consisting of compositions by authors of the 20th century such as Igor Stravinsky, Manuel de Falla, Joseph Jongen, Jean Francaix and Francis Poulenc. “Unfortunately, not many compositions have been written for our formation, for a sextet, so for our concerts we also select compositions which I adapt,” said the leader of the ensemble, pianist and musicologist Patrik Červák. “So the audience listened to, for example, an adaptation of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and the composition Danse rituelle du feu by Manuel de Falla. And because the repertoire for our ensemble is not too rich, we try to stimulate contemporary composers to write something directly for us,” added the young musician. The ensemble performed the composition Pour rien by Miloš Štědroň, which the author dedicated to the ensemble, as a world premiere. The program also included a composition by author Sylvie Bodorová, who was present during its performance in the full Masquerade Hall at the Český Krumlov Castle, dedicated to the ensemble. The audience was delighted by the program and the young musicians and rewarded them by a standing ovation.       




Mezinárodní hudební festival Český Krumlov – Pavel Steidl – kytara, Maškarní sál, foto: Libor Sváček;

On the first day of August, Czech guitar virtuoso Pavel Steidl, according to critics an unparalleled artist in Europe, performed at the Masquerade Hall. “I perceive the IMF Český Krumlov as a festival of high level and it is a great honour for me to join all those artists who perform at the festival. I love to perform at the Masquerade Hall as it is of exactly the right size for the guitar,” said Pavel Steidl. Steidl’s excellent play showed the immense possibilities the guitar offers. A curiosity in Steidl’s performances is the fact that he accompanies his play by overtone singing in some compositions, which adds an extra dimension, an extra timbre, to the compositions. The program of the concert included both older authors as well as contemporary ones, to which the finale of the concert belonged. Steidl adjusted his choice of instrument to the selection of music. For the first half of the program he chose Francisco Simplicio’s instrument from 1926. “When I play, my philosophy is that the player and his instrument should be ‘one body’. This instrument has amazing sonority, many timbres are hidden in it and when you know how to get them out of it, it is beautiful,” the guitarist described the qualities and secrets of his instrument. “This guitar is able to resonate with me. Its sound is almost rhetorical, it can narrate. When sound moves through the guitar, it is as if it broke into a spectrum of orchestral instruments and that is what I love about the guitar,” Steidl expressed his admiration for the instrument. In the second half of the program he replaced it by a younger, about three-year-old, guitar. The audience in the hall almost breathed with Steidl. The concert had a beautiful chamber and inner atmosphere. Steidl’s own compositions Eugenie and Lambada für Elise, inspired by Beethoven’s famous composition, were played as encores.          

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