The day the tanks in­vaded

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - GIL­LIAN WILLS

IN 1968, cel­list Jiri Barta was four years old and stay­ing in his par­ents’ hol­i­day house in Loben­dava, Cze­choslavakia near Dres­den on the Ger­man bor­der.

“It was the mid­dle of sum­mer,” he said.

“I vividly re­mem­ber the ter­ri­fy­ing sound of Rus­sian tanks rolling in. There was no tele­vi­sion in this hum­ble vil­lage. No one knew that Rus­sia had in­vaded.”

It would be an­other 20 years be­fore his fa­ther was able to travel again.

At nine, Barta stud­ied the cello. His un­cle was a pro­fes­sional cel­list.

His mother loved the in­stru­ment’s sound.

He stud­ied in Prague with Josef Chuchro, one of the world’s lead­ing cel­lists.

In Aus­tralia, cham­ber mu­sic fes­ti­vals are spring­ing up ev­ery­where in­spired by Townsville’s ex­am­ple – the Aus­tralian Fes­ti­val of Cham­ber Mu­sic.

Ac­cord­ing to Barta, af­fec­tion­ately nick­named “Man Bun” by Fes­ti­val en­thu­si­asts, this is not the case in Slo­vakia.

Yet in 2008, he founded the suc­cess­ful Kutna Hora In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber Mu­sic Fes­ti­val.

“This en­com­passes con­tem­po­rary and classi- cal mu­sic,” he said. “It’s not as big as the AFCM. There are around 10 play­ers. Con­certs take place in churches be­cause of their “sil­very res­o­nance”.

A mem­ber of the Eben Trio, Barta likes to cre­ate mean­ing­ful re­ward­ing pro­grams, some­thing he has in com­mon with AFCM artis­tic di­rec­tor Piers Lane who he met years ago at Amer­ica’s New­port Fes­ti­val.

Barta be­lieves the string quar­tet is ar­guably the purest cham­ber group.

“Com­posers, like Haydn, Schu­bert and Beethoven, poured in­ti­mate feel­ings into their mu­sic for the quar­tet,” he said.

“All voices are ex­posed. It takes years to achieve unity, to sing as one soul. The cello is the foun­da­tion and has to ex­press all the colours. Bring out its own voice when re­quired.”

Af­ter Townsville, Barta will go with his wife and chil­dren to that same house in Loben­dava he vis­ited as a child. “Phras­ing makes mu­sic mean­ing­ful,” he said.

“Sen­si­tive, tal­ented mu­si­cian are trea­sures be­cause of their nat­u­ral sen­si­tiv­ity. But, they need some­one to point out how to an­a­lyse and make de­ci­sions about shap­ing phrases. Ex­quis­ite phrases come from the brain as well as the heart.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.