Jaroslaw ADAMUS (b.1960)
Logos et Sentiment
Au commencement était la parole op. 6 (2005) [5:30]
Clair - obscur op. 3 (2004) [12:37]
Musique provisoire op. 14 no 1 (2011) [9:01]
Sixieme vanité pour violon in scordatura op. 1 no 6 (2002-03) [12:25]
Omne trinum perfectum op. 2 (2004) [8:32]
Eau. Pain. Amitié. Philosophie op. 13 (2007) [12:21]
Esquisses d'une musique définitive op. 14 no 2 (2007) [2:15]
Joyful Song op. 5 no 2 (2011) [6:31]
Ensemble Cello Fan; Ensemble Chromatica; Zespólim G.P. Telemanna
Delphine Georges (voice); Jaroslaw Adamus (violin); Hanna Holeska (piano)
rec. April 2011, Katowice, July 2011, Callian and Marseille
Polish composer Jaroslaw Adamus was born in 1960. His biography offers interesting details and insights into his concerns. He was trained as a violinist, spent eight years in a monastery, and then returned to music. All the works in this disc were composed either in Marseilles, where he now lives and taught the violin, or in Katowice. His music is rooted in new spirituality. It is intense, expressive, sometimes mystic, sometimes unsettling.
Au commencement était la parole is played here by solo cello and ten (originally four) supporting cellos. Villa-Lobos and his multi-cellos are certainly not evoked. Instead the writing is almost Pärt-like in its distinct sense of contemplative reach. Clair - obscur was written the preceding year for solo voice and string quartet. It's a minimalist lament with a wordless open 'o' vowel and intense string glissandi. A more recent work, Musique provisoire is composed for Adamus's own instrument, the violin, and piano. He is the soloist here. There are some pounding piano chords and some ethereally high and quite taxing violin writing: there are moments too of almost quasi-improvisational freedom in the violin's skittering figures. Adamus's concern for tuning and for pitch is explored in the scordatura for solo violin in the last of the Six Vanities. Where things are less accessible is due to the dry acoustic. This turns the string ensemble in Omne trinum perfectum op. 2 decidedly razory, and for all the work's piety, it's quite an early foray by Adamus and not wholly successful.
However the cleverness of Eau.Pain.Amitié.Philosophie resides in its generated tension between the way the strings and piano coalesce, and then drift apart, and the way in which the strings's more acerbic roles contrast with the piano’s often explicitly romanticised lines. Gesualdo is evoked alongside a tolling piano section. I tend to be resistant to phrases in the booklet notes such as: 'the dialectical principle is in evidence again: what was supposed to be definitive actually becomes provisional' - largely because I don't understand what it means. To me, the pitch fluctuations seem to evoke the shades of Ravel and Bartók, but as an anti-dialectical materialist I could be pitifully misinformed.
Maybe it's necessary fully to appreciate, indeed to grasp this music, to understand Adamus's invoking of the 'logos' and the 'logos-word-concept'. They are central to his philosophy of music. Speaking as one who spends his time, in MacNeice’s words, 'Loving the rain and the rainbow,/Considering philosophy alien', I find it all hard to follow but that doesn't affect one’s curiosity as to his music-making. The compositions themselves are certainly charged and sympathetic.
Jonathan Woolf
Rooted in new spirituality: intense, expressive, sometimes mystic, sometimes unsettling.

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