Škampa Quartet and Iva Bittová: Setting Moravia to musicPrint
In March 2012, the Škampa Quartet’s ninth album was released by Supraphon (SU 4092-2). The new recording marks a return to the successful collaboration with Iva Bittová, with whom they have previously recorded two CDs. Most of the compositions were written by the quartet’s former first violin, Pavel Fischer.
For the new project, the genre-bending quartet invited Iva Bittová to participate as a composer on the new recording. Iva Bittová says in this regard: “Working with the Škampa Quartet is great on both a professional and human level. Even though the line-up has changed, it continues to be an amazing ensemble, one seeking profound interpretational quality and at the same time not afraid to try out new forms and means of expression. Every invitation to create a work together in the studio or appear at a concert with them is a great honour, as well as a joy, a musical feast for me.”
Most of the pieces on the new album were, however, written by Pavel Fischer, the ensemble’s former first violin, whose Moravian roots and years with the Škampa Quartet have borne fruit in the form of remarkable musical accomplishments. His compositions, inspired by Moravian, as well as Scottish, Balkan and Roma, folklore, have earned the quartet enthusiastic audience responses and critical acclaim worldwide. The “artful form” has not reduced the sheer emotion, joy, sorrow and nostalgia so purely contained in folk music an iota.
We asked the Škampa Quartet violinist Daniela Součková a few questions about how the album came to fruition.
The Škampa Quartet’s collaboration with Iva Bittová was amazing; we had worked together previously on the Janáček songs project. And Pavel Fischer’s compositions are very close to us. We’ve had the opportunity to perform his first string quartet, “Morava”, on a number of occasions at concerts at home and abroad. The tremendous audience responses we received only served to reassure us that recording a CD with such a theme would be a worthwhile undertaking. Pavel Fischer’s compositions have an extremely powerful emotional charge and are strongly inspired by folk music. At times, it was difficult to maintain the required energy, especially after several hours of recording. The greatest pleasure was our joint seeking of the right folk holds and phrasing. In the studio, we were directly inspired by Iva and Pavel, the co-operation with them was truly marvellous.
We’ll be going to England towards the end of the summer. In August we’ll be giving a concert and teaching at the summer music festival in the Lake District, in September we’ll be opening the new season at the Wigmore Hall with a Mozart and Schubert programme. Igor Františák has invited us to perform at the Saint Wenceslas Music Festival in the autumn, and there are also concert tours of Portugal and the Netherlands in store.