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Timbre, gesture, communication and musical meaning in some recent works by Ondřej Adámek

Carlo Benzi

Nuove Musiche Numero 7 - 2020, pagine: 7-30
DOI 10.12871/97888333972141 | @ Pisa University Press 2023
Pubblicato: 20 maggio 2023


The recent production of Adámek is characterized by a wide palette of stylistic elements, that could be summarized as follows: references from the compositional world of the last decades; theatrical elements form different traditions (European – in particular from Eastern Europe, Japanese, music theatre performances by Heiner Goebbels); visual and new technology elements integrated in the sound of the compositions; an inquiry about the relationship between body and soul (from the Indian traditional culture); gestural dimension of the instruments and of the voice and clear repetition/variation of the resulting figures, possibly according to a rhetoric idea of the music communicating emotions and meanings to the audience by the means of structures which belong also to the compositional context of the past and represent the multi-layered structure of our world.

Different aspects of Adámek’s musical language are similar to some of the “New Conceptualists”, in particular the presence of everyday sound noises, the new technologies and the quite direct, almost semantic relationship between the music and the world. Differently from the Conceptualists, however, for Adámek the realization of the musical idea is always very important. He strongly pays attention to it not only as composer, but also as conductor, in order to create exactly the sound he had imagined before.

In this sense the writing for Adámek represents an old, but always efficient way to fix the form of the piece on paper and to allow conductors and instrumentalists to perform his pieces also in an emotional impressive manner. The new technologies are present in his works, but they are not in the foreground; they can enrich the timbre, but they do not seem to determine the form of the pieces. Adámek invents a widely new sound world, but he does not forget an important dimension of the musical composition: without any strong ideology, as indeed many authors from the last decades did, and often in a joyful and funny (but also sarcastic and violent) way he communicates to the audience the necessity of representing our reality in all its dimensions.

Adámek’s aim is to contribute through music to the growing of human being grow in all his dimensions: spirituality, relationship with the body, social life, integration of many different world cultures. His aim is thus to bring the audience to a better understanding of our world.

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