On searching for the “contemporary” in composing. An Evening at the occasion of Petr Bakla’s CD release.
The composer doesn’t create the sounds—he or she codes the instructions for them for someone else. Composing is a special kind of making music—one of many possible kinds, with a history, a present and probably a future. It offers unprecedented possibilities and confronts the one who uses it with an arsenal of pitfalls. To be heard, a composer needs other people equipped with special skills, he needs infrastructure, institutions, and ultimately a certain type of perception. All this is subject to constant change. In all art forms—and perhaps in the visual arts in particular—asking about such transformations and their implications for what is now has long since become part of the “work of the artist”. There is no avoiding it! Asking the question “are we contemporary?” is just a differently phrased concern that we are anachronistic. Should we care about that? Is asking for the true present any different than worrying about how the past will be interpreted in the future? Are we bringing depression or immortality upon ourselves? Neither? Both? We shall see…
The evening programme follows the release of Petr Bakla’s album in our online publishers Octopus Press.
Petr Bakla (born in 1980 in Prague) composes written (notated) music for acoustic instruments. The character of his compositions is defined by conceptual rigour and sound purism, and he often uses basic, schematized musical formations in his compositions. He is interested in situations and contexts in which this spare material acquires an unmistakable expressiveness and energy. Another common feature of Bakla’s compositions is the simultaneous progression of two layers of sound which, although usually dynamically distinct in the manner of “figure and background”, are not in a relationship of mutual subordination—they are equally important and together generate a specific tension and sense of ambiguity. Bakla’s compositions have been performed in the Czech Republic and abroad, often by renowned performers and commissioned by them. Bakla’s cooperation with the Ostrava Centre for New Music is of particular importance. In October 2021, Bakla’s album Usableness of the list / Portfolio was released by Octopus Press, a PLATO label.