What’s special about this Album for you? Your first album…
Evidently the first solo CD is something quite important in the life of a musician. It was a long-desired one, since I’ve really wanted to record since my early twenties.
It took 10 years to finally have it done. It’s easy to understand: you have to feel ready and I was not until a few years ago. And when you feel ready you’ve got to feel safe in a studio environment. It means you have to meet the right people in the right time at the right place. It took me 2 years to choose with whom and where I wanted to record, and taking my time about this was the right thing to do for me.
We put together a great team (with recording producer Radek Šalša and recording engineer Ondřej Urban), in a good environment where I feel comfortable enough to be emotionally naked which is required even more in front of microphones than in front of an audience. But I won’t wait another ten years to go in studio. I’m already a studio junkie and planned the next sessions.
Finally, I served as Executive Producer too for this first album, and that was very special for me. I was in charge of the entire project and supervised/participated in everything from funding to production, distribution and promotion. I absolutely needed this experience to understand how this recording industry works and have a better approach of who does what.
Preparing the album…
Well, I had a really great time preparing, recording and editing this CD. It was really fun and the whole experience made me grow as an artist. I still have a lot to learn and am looking forward to the next recording sessions.
The production itself took roughly one year and a half. I first negotiated with different labels until I realized that these labels were pushing me in a different direction than the one I wanted. So I decided to stop negotiating and follow my own (overgrown!) path, even if it was a tremendous amount of work. I started to work on the production in Spring last year and never stopped since then. It’s unbelievable all the things you have to do and think about, the number of people involved, even in this small scale production. I strongly recommend this experience, it was for me amazing.
Why choose composers Maurice Ravel and Leoš Janáček?
I have wanted to pair up Janáček and Ravel for a whole program for many years. I realized how difficult it was to put into practice within the framework of a live performance but found it was really a good fit for a solo recording project.
When I begun to draft programs for this first studio album, I set two essential rules to build associations between works and composers: it has to show my personality and influences within this period and works as well as composers have to be strongly connected musically and aesthetically speaking.
From a personal point of view, the choice among composers was obvious: Ravel and Janáček have always been part of my core repertoire and a French-Czech program was perfectly reflecting the cultural duality of my education.
But more than this, the multiple and deep links between the two composers are fascinating. They shared an appreciation for the Russian school, especially for Mussorgsky, both expressed negative opinions on German neo-classicism. They were also influenced by their respective birth region folk music and, on a more compositional level, developed their own language on the basis of extended tonality and modality. And these are just a few examples.
On the other hand, contrasts between the works and authors is another glue to this program. The selection of shorter pieces in small forms by Janáček as opposed to Ravel’s set of 3 movements organized in a sonata-like cycle reinforces the stylistic contrasts between the composers: Janáček’s “utter elimination of the unnecessary” (Milan Kundera) versus Ravel’s volubility for example.