On 11th January, SUPRAPHON released the album of i Flautisti –
The London Recorder Quartet titled Douce Dame Jolie. We asked Jitka Konečná, a
member of the ensemble, a couple of questions about the new release, about her
colleagues as well as about their plans for the future.
Could you introduce to us your ensemble, and reveal what prompted you
to make an album for Supraphon?
We formed i Flautisti – The London Recorder Quartet during our time at the
Royal College of Music. After completing our studies, we contemplated whether to
carry on, as we were invited to give more concerts. We duly decided to continue,
and this year we are celebrating ten years of our ensemble’s existence. The
new album is actually a musical commemoration of this anniversary.
How did you compile the repertoire for the CD?
In addition to early music, we also like performing contemporary pieces,
therefore we have collaborated with several present-day composers, who have
written for us a few “tailor-made” scores. We wanted to present these works
to a wider audience, so we decided to record four of them in world premiere. The
album also includes music of older eras – the Middle Ages, Renaissance and
Baroque. And we have recorded two Romanian folk dances, as arranged by Jan
The booklet lists almost 20 types of recorders. How do you decide
which member of your quartet will play the particular recorder?
Yes, we play many different types of recorder on the CD. When it comes to the
earliest repertoire, we use Adriana Breukink’s copies of Renaissance Bassano
consort recorders. We play Baroque pieces on instrument copies from Germany and
Austria, and use modern instruments from Herbert Paetzold’s workshop when
performing contemporary music. Even though we have not recently taken turns on
all the instruments, at concerts in particular, each of us is capable of playing
all the recorder types.
How popular is currently the recorder as an independent musical
The quality of playing the instrument in the Czech Republic has been markedly
rising, notwithstanding that for the time being the recorder can only be studied
here at secondary schools. Yet our colleagues abroad, with whom all of us have
been in close contact and whom we have frequently invited to come here, have
been very pleasantly surprised as to how high the local standard of playing the
recorder at primary and secondary art schools is.
How have contemporary composers’ works for your ensemble come into
In most cases, the composers attended our concerts and were intrigued by the
broad scale of timbres the recorder can generate. Although simple in
constructional terms, it is feasible for plenty of modern techniques – you
can play on certain parts of the recorder, create extraordinary
Could you introduce to us your colleagues from
Two of us are Czech, and we both work at conservatories. Ilona Veselovská
teaches in Teplice, and besides the recorder she also studied the Baroque
traverso, in the Hague. I teach at the conservatories in Olomouc and Ostrava.
Doris Kitzmantel studied the recorder and the piano in Linz and Vienna, she
works as an educator and is also a member of other chamber ensembles. Yu-Ching
Chao hails from Taiwan and studied the recorder at prestigious music academies
in Hamburg, Leuven, Amsterdam and elsewhere. Currently mainly living and working
in Hamburg, she has performed all over the world.
Did you invite any guests to join you when making the
We invited the percussionist Radek Tomášek, a member of the Brno Philharmonic
and teacher at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts. He performed
with us three pieces – in one of them he played the frame drum, in the other
two the darbuka and the riq.
Will you also be performing the compositions featured on your new
album at concerts?
Yes, the compositions included in the CD are among our favourites. That was one
of the reasons why we have recorded them. As regards the current season, we have
put together a programme of the same name as the album, Douce dame jolie, which
is also the title of one of the pieces. We will soon give two concerts in the
Czech Republic (Oslavany near Brno and Dolní Břežany), following which we are
scheduled to visit Austria and then tour Taiwan.
You have held workshops within some of your concerts – could you
Our workshops have met with a great deal of interest, and we are very happy
about it, of course. I am glad that this type of music is currently “en
vogue”. Many educators are eager to familiarise themselves with our
instruments. We strive to do everything in a manner that would be intriguing for
pupils and their teachers alike. There are a lot of instruments out there, as
are the performance styles, so it actually concerns lifelong work and
self-education. Within our workshops, we give a brief concert, present various
eras and musical styles, and then pursue a certain conception in an
There is no doubt that musicians have many dreams and projects they
would like to materialise. Could you tell us what you would like to include on
your next album?
We have been giving thought to combining early and contemporary music. We would
like to pay greater attention to J. S. Bach and put his works alongside pieces
by the minimalist composer Fulvio Caldini.