Alois Hába: Six Compositions for Sixth-tone Harmonium, op. 37
Ian Mikyska: In (world premiere)
+ The concert will be followed by a Q&A session about the sixth-tone harmonium with Ian Mikyska and Miroslav Beinhauer.
Miroslav Beinhauer – sixth-tone harmonium
Tomáš Morávek – light design
Composer Alois Hába (1893–1973) was one of the pioneers of microtonal music both in Europe and around the world. His activities included the development of special instruments in the quarter-tone and sixth-tone systems – pianos, clarinets, trumpets, flutes, or the sixth-tone harmonium. Of the three harmoniums in the collection of the National Museum – Czech Museum of Music, only the instrument made by August Förster in 1937 is in operable condition. Hába used the instrument in his sixth-tone opera Thy Kingdom Come, whose world premiere was prepared by the Ostrava Center for New Music in 2018 (which is where Miroslav Beinhauer first played the instrument) and wrote a single solo piece for it, Six Compositions for Sixth-tone Harmonium, op. 37 (1928), which will be performed in Prague for the first time at this concert.
A new piece by composer Ian Mikyska (*1994) will introduce the harmonium in an unexpectedly contemplative mood complemented by light design in the captivating space of the Convent of St. Agnes. "When hearing about a forty-minute piece for sixth-tone harmonium, many people probably imagine a demanding mathematical exercise. In, however, is more of a meditative experience. The title expresses the basic metaphor of the piece: the solo harmonium is located 'inside' the electronic part, which mostly consists of field recordings, as well as recordings of the harmonium, lithophones, the sounds of electromagnetism, or a ping-pong ball in a Tibetan singing ball. It is also the listener who is 'inside', however: inside harmonies, rhythms, melodies, times, environments," says composer Ian Mikyska. "Particularly in the case of such a unique instrument, it is fantastic that I had the opportunity to create the piece in direct, everyday contact with the instrument, thus making use not only of the tuning, which is relatively easy to apply theoretically, but also of the specific physical properties of the instrument. I visited the Czech Museum of Music daily during the summer, where me and Miroslav Beinhauer became two living exhibits: the composing composer and the practicing performer," he adds.
Miroslav Beinhauer (*1993) performs as a soloist on piano and, the only one in the world so far, the sixth-tone harmonium. He mostly focuses on 20th century, contemporary, and microtonal music. At the centre of his attention is Alois Hába and his keyboard works. He is a student in the doctoral programme at JAMU in Brno and also studied at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and the School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium. He has taken part in festivals in the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Poland. He has performed with the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava and the Hradec Králové Philharmonic and is a member of Ostravská Banda. He has also taken part in exceptional projects including a twenty-four-hour performance of Erik Satie's Vexations at the Moravian Autumn festival or the world premiere of Alois Hába's sixth-tone opera Thy Kingdom Come at the New Opera Days Ostrava festival, in which he performed the demanding sixth-tone harmonium part. He premiered and was the first to record Alois Hába's Six Compositions for Sixth-tone Harmonium, op. 37, the composer's only solo work for the instrument.