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Josef Klička (1855 – 1937)
Legends for Organ


F1 0151     [8595017415128]
TT- 68:24    released 6/2007

1 Legend, Op. 49 (D major)   10:11
2 Legend, Op. 54 (D minor)   7:54
3 Legend, Op. 98 (B minor)   12:12
   Sonata in F sharp minor
4 Maestoso con moto   10:37
5 Andante con moto   8:34
6 Toccata   6:33
7 [Maestoso, Passacaglia]   12:18

Petr Rajnoha - organ by Tuček-Voit (1912) at the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House, Prague

Smatana hall in Obecni dum, PrahaJosef Klička was one of the most important Czech organ composers of the era of Romanticism. Over his lifetime he produced a large quantity of pieces for organ, choir, chamber ensembles and solo instruments with piano accompaniment. Josef Klička was the first Czech composer to bring a deep feeling for orchestral music to his writing for organ. He had conducted in his youth and loved the sound of the orchestra. We therefore find him applying Late Romantic musical thinking reflecting the example not only of Smetana but also of Liszt and Wagner in his own music. At the organ school where Klička was accepted as a teacher in 1885, he taught not only organ but also orchestral instrumentation and play from scores. Earlier he had acquired practical experience conducting for Kramuel and Švanda's theatre companies and as second conductor of the orchestra at the Provisional Theatre. The building of an organ in the Rudolfinum was to be of fundamental importance for Klička's development as a composer and his orchestral orientation. He soon started to give concerts on the organ and compose, and so became our first organ composer-virtuoso to make a career in the concert hall. He was the first in Bohemia to perform not only his own compositions, but works by Liszt, Rheinberger, Bossi, Widor, Guilmant, Saint-Saëns and others. The orchestral style of his organ pieces is evident in his efforts to achieve a rich and strong sound, for example, the emotional excitement of his music, his violation of the long established hierarchy of heavy and light times, his long crescendo passages and shift of attention to upbeats.
     The Legends in D major and D minor were written immediately following Klička's performance of Saint-Saëns' Three Breton Rhapsodies in the Rudolfinum. It is reasonable to believe that the Rhapsodies inspired the Legends, since they have several features in common. The Legend in D major starts in the introduction with the principal melody in full chords, and thereafter the dynamics in the piece gradually diminish, so that in general it is soft and colour passage that predominate. The Legend in D minor grows out of the same calm in which the Legend in D major ends, but is suddenly transposed into a massive Tutti that creates an archaic impression. The basic melody is that of the folk song "Ej lásko, lásko" ["Oh love, love"]. The middle section of the piece develops in 5/4 time and also has the charming air of folk song. Just as with the preceding Legend in D major, however, the piece ends with by fading into nothingness and for the listener this may not seem a satisfactory conclusion. This suggests that Klička may have intended to write three legends on the model of Saint-Saëns' Three Breton Rhapsodies. The Fantasia on the chorale "Svatý Václave" ["St Wenceslas"] that he wrote six years later might in this context be regarded as his Third Legend. .
     The Legend in B minor was written in 1908 for a concert of the Sokol (Czech Sports and Physical Education society) branch in Vienna, where Josef Klička had been invited to perform. It therefore has no direct connection with the preceding Legends in D major and D minor, but is an independent piece. One point of interest is that Klička failed to finish it in time for the Vienna concert, and played it for the first time in the Municipal House in Prague almost four years after he had completed it. The Legend in B minor has a striking theme that appears immediately in the introduction in the trumpet register. It is structured around two massive crescendos, between which there are lyrical passages that are different in colour, the second being an exceptional harp stylisation.
     Klička's longest piece, and also the longest Czech organ piece ever written, is his Sonata in F sharp minor. It consists of four contrasting movements. The sonata was written in 1917 and premiered almost immediately by Klíčka's best pupil Bedřich Antonín Wiedermann in the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House. The first movement of the Sonata is structured in a sonata form reflecting Klička's earlier Concert Fantasia. The second movement is lyrical and we might discern in it a certain connection with the second movement of Klička's Concerto in D minor for organ and orchestra of 1909. The third movement - Toccata - is technically very difficult. Here Klička is beginning to change his established composing style and constructing the movement on the polyphonic development of the parts. Nonetheless, Romantic luxuriance gets the upper hand twice at the dramatic climaxes. The final movement has a massive introduction followed by a Passacaglia. Here too Klička's style is shifting towards Bachian-Regerian polyphony. This new dimension of rational musical expression deepens Klička's composition to the extent that even after practically forty minutes the sonata remains charged with musical meaning.

Petr Rajnoha  

Organ by "Tuček-Voit" (1912) organ by Tuček-Voit, 1912
in Smetana hall, Obecní dům, Praha

I. man.

Principál 16´
Bourdon 16´
Fagot 16´
Principál 8´
Tibia 8´
Gamba 8´
Kryt hrubý 8´
Roh kamzičí 8´
Flétna koncertní 8´
Dolce 8´
Trompeta 8´
Nasat 5 1/3´
Oktáva 4´
Fugara 4´
Flétna trubicová 4´
Kvinta šustivá 22/3´
Superoktáva 2´
Kornet 8´
Mixtura 2´
Akuta 1´
II. man.

Kryt líbezný 16´
Viola 16´
Principál 8´
Fugara 8´
Kryt 8´
Flétna vídeňská 8´
Salicionál 8´
Unda maris 8´
Flétna jemná 8´
Trompeta harmonica 8´
Hoboy 8´
Oktáva 4´
Flétna příčná 4´
Roh kamzičí 4´
Kvinta 22/3´
Flétna lesní 2´
Kornet 4´
Progressio harmonico 22/3´
III. man.

Kvintadena 16´
Principál houslový 8´
Flûte octaviante 8´
Kryt tichý 8´
Violino 8´
Roh noční 8´
Harfa Aeolova 8´
Voix céleste 8´
Klarinet 8´
Vox humana 8´
Tremolo pro Vox humana
Oktáva 4´
Flétna slaďounká 4´
Viola d´amour 4´
Flétna kvintová 22/3´
Flautino 2´
Harmonia Aetherea 22/3´

Podstav 32´
Grand Bombard 32´
Principálový bas 16´
Violonbas 16´
Subbas 16´
Gamba 16´
Harmonika 16´
Pozoun 16´
Bas kvintový 102/3´
Bas oktávový 8´
Violoncello 8´
Bas flétnový 8´
Bourdon 8´
Trompeta 8´
Clarino 8´
Superoktáva 2´
II/I, III/I, III/II, I/I 4´,
III/I 16´, III/I 4´, I/P, II/P, III/P

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