Adámek, who grew up in Prague and currently lives in Berlin, developed an interest for the music and instruments of other cultures at an early stage. He seized his various stays in France, Africa, Spain, Japan, India, Italy and Germany to explore the specific musical and cultural phenomena of these respective places and let his impressions and experiences inspire his compositions. Bernd Künzig, author of the CD’s booklet, thus calls Adámek’s compositional style a sort of linguistic and musical “bricolage”: “Virtually his entire output is pervaded by hybrid forms in which the natural is confronted with the artificial and mechanical, rituals with abstraction, and conflicting languages (including musical languages) with each other, all for the purpose of producing his own distinctive blend.”
Language, especially its phonetic and noisy qualities, plays a key role in many of Adámek’s works. In the three choral pieces of the portrait CD "Polednice", "Körper und Seele" and "Kameny" the underlying languages are used both in a semantic sense and to create a rhythmical structure. Here Adámek draws special inspiration from the texts and poems of Icelandic artist Sjón, whom he met during his residency with the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin program.
Apart from the linguistic bricolage, Adámek continuously searches for new sounds which go beyond the possibilities of standard instruments. For his piece Körper und Seele he spent several years experimenting and developing the so-called Airmachine, an apparatus built of gloves, kazoos, claxon horns and fifes that functions in a purely technical way, but astoundingly generates noises that sound almost human. The DVD demonstrates in two videos the functionality and the tonal possibilities of the Airmachine, a second version of which has meanwhile been built.
The two "Japanese" pieces on the portrait CD, "Nôise" and "Karakuri – Poupée mécanique" draw their inspiration from elements of the traditional nō theatre, the puppet theatre bunraku as well as from the sutras chanted by the monks in the temples of Kyoto, where Adámek spent several months at the Villa Kujoyama.
The interpreters, including the Ensemble intercontemporain, the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart und the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, are nearly always supposed to exceed the boundaries of their own instruments or their voice: In the choral works the chorus not only has to sing, it must also generate sounds with whistles, kazoos, sirens and percussion instruments, whereas in "Dusty Rusty Hush" the orchestra itself turns into a huge machine, pounding, groaning, screeching and thus resurrecting the abandoned steel plant in Brandenburg that constitutes the inspirational starting point of this piece.
CD: productions: CD Accord Music Edition and International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn (1), IRCAM-Centre Pompidou (2), co-production: Deutschlandradio Kultur, roc Berlin and Deutscher Musikrat gemeinnützige Projektgesellschaft mbH (3), Schweizer Radio and Fernsehen (4) / DVD: co-production: Norddeutscher Rundfunks and Deutscher Musikrat gemeinnützige Projektgesellschaft mbH (1), Lionel Escama and Ensemble intercontemporain (2), ZKM Karlsruhe (3), Südwestrundfunk (4), Ondřej Adámek (5)
Nôise for ensemble (2009)
Dusty Rusty Hush for orchestra (2006/07)
Endless Steps for orchestra (2006-08)
Karakuri – Poupée mécanique for voice and ensemble (2011)
Kameny for 24 voices and 16 instruments; text: Sjón (2012)
Luft-Inszenierung for airmachine 1 (2013)
Körper und Seele for airmachine 1, choir and orchester; text: Sjón (2014)
Conséquences particulièrement blanches ou noires for airmachine 2 (2016)
In its renowned Contemporary Music Edition the German Music Council set itself the task of creating a basic listening library of contemporary composition in Germany. The edition is distinguished by the high quality of the performances and of the accompanying texts. It includes recordings by renowned interpreters and ensembles, often under the direction of the composer; the carefully edited booklets present the composers and musicologists in analyses of the works and in aesthetic commentaries. For more information on the composers within the Contemporary Music Edition (including biographies, lists of works and audio samples), please click here.