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Violin Solo 1 – Milan Paľa

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Violin solo in the creation of Slovak composers interpreted Slovak violin virtuoso Milan Paľa. This is the first part of the great complete.

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SKU: PA 0073-2/9
Tags: M. Paľa

Violin Solo in the works of slovak composers

DISC1 69.46

Ilja Zeljenka

Poem for violin solo
Monodrama for violin solo
Contrasts for violin solo
Bagattelli per violono solo
Symetries for violin solo
Sonata per violono solo
Sonatina for violin solo

DISC2 59.16

Sonata No. 2 for violin solo

Ladislav Burlas

Cadence for violin solo
Sonatina for violin solo
Cadence for violin solo No. 2
Sonata for violin solo
Sonata Concertante for violin solo

Here’s the first part of an extensive project to make all the works of Slovak artists for solo violin, which interprets the unique way the young violin virtuoso Milan Pala.


Ilja Zeljenka belongs to the most significant and remarkable Slovak composers whose great creative legacy includes hundreds of opuses. He went through dramatic compositional development accompanied by varied responses to his work, from the admiration to scandals. Shortly after graduating from The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava in 1956, his, for that time very progressively, post-Webern-like oriented Second Piano quintet (1958) caused a big sensation and strongly affected the development of Slovak music. In the 1960s Zeljenka adopted in his work various means of avant-garde music, which he creatively developed and innovated. They were different types of aleatoric, polymetric and poly-tempo organization, different types of voice expressions, sonic elements, etc. He experimented with electronic and electro-acoustic music and he also wrote film music (between 1957 and 1972 he wrote music for about a hundred films). His works were very demanded already in 1960s and they were performed at prominent European festivals of new music. In the 1970s Zeljenka reached the point of material reduction in his compositions and he discovered for himself a modal principle, based on working with four-tonal model, consisting of four-tone root and the combination of minor and major seconds that he named “the cell of the music organism”. All here presented compositions for solo violin; Poem, dedicated to Milan Rúfus (1988), Monodrama, dedicated to memory of Tadeáš Salva (1995), Contrasts (1997), Symetries for solo violin (2001), Bagattelli per violino solo (2001), Sonata per violino solo (2002), Sonata No. 2 for solo violin (2004) and Sonatina for solo violin (2004) are based on the principle of so-called cellular composition where the cell serves as a basis of the thematic work using the variation principle, transpositions and tone row permutations. Zeljenka dedicated ten years to the development and crystallization of the cell-principle based composing, which analogy he saw in physics and biology, and he remained devoted to it till the rest of his life. After the Velvet revolution in 1989 Zeljenka at first engaged upon the social life but already in December 1991 he voluntarily “retired” to his cabin in Harmony where he fully occupied himself with composing. Not only was he developing the cell-principle composition but he was also dealing with the problem of time in music. He was solving this mainly by metro-rhythmical and poly-metrical organization of the musical material. He created about 300 opuses in this period, which placed him among the most prolific and most frequently performed contemporary composers not only in Slovakia. Since the beginning of 1990s Zeljenka mostly composed stimulated by the musicians for whom he wrote mainly chamber and solo compositions. These have been performed not only in Slovakia but also in many other countries. Numerous organizers take it as an honour if any composition of this “genius” of Slovak music is to be performed on their festivals. With his productiveness and the creativity of his works Zeljenka could be compared to J. S. Bach. The mastership of the remarkable Slovak violinist Milan Paľa guarantees the great expressiveness, dynamic freshness and unforgettable experience from the performed masterpieces recorded on this CD.

In the personality of Ladislav Burlas are linked two professions, a musicologist and a composer. As a composer, Burlas was being formed in the 1950s during the predominating style orientation of so-called “Slovak national music creators”. He was one of those who not only theoretically criticized the mono-stylistic orientation of Slovak music but were also trying to overcome it practically with their work, enriching it by the inspiring elements of the progressive trend of the European music modernism of Bartok, Stravinsky, Hindemith and others. Burlas never belonged to the avant-garde group of composers. Then, and also in his later compositional development he followed the domestic and European musical tradition and from the avant-garde trends he carefully chose the latest technical expressive means. Violin and the strings are his favourite instruments (he also plays violin) and this close relationship is reflected in his numerous works for violin and strings: Metamorphosis of beauty for mixed choir with solo violin, Planctus for string orchestra, Music for violin and orchestra, and different compositions for solo violin and string quartets. Almost every work for solo violin recorded on this CD – Sonatina for solo violin (1968), Cadence for solo violin (1974), Sonata Concertante (1974), Sonata for solo violin (1975) was created within the seven years which is also reflected in their, very similar style. Only the Cadence for violin No. 2 was written in 1997. Burlas`s works for solo violin are at the beginning mostly filled by substantial expressive motif which undergoes the processing and transformation where the author uses the rich articulation, expressive alteration, accentuating the wide range of possibilities of this instrument. Dramatic zest of the works, excellent use of the possibilities of the instrument but mostly the opportunity to present the gift and abilities of the musician belong to the reasons why are Burlas`s compositions often included in the repertoire of the eminent violinists.

Zuzana Martináková
Translation: Jana Beňová

Milan Paľa (1982) was born in Prešov, Slovakia. He studied at the Conservatory of Ján Levoslav Bella in Banská Bystrica from 1996 to 2000 in the class of Mgr. Peter Strenáčik. After his graduation, he started to study at the Universltät fur Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien. Then he studied at Janáček´s Academy of Musical Arts in Brno, where he graduated in the class of Dr. František Novotný. Milan Paľa was awarded prizes at several international solo and chamber music competitions (Concourse Moderne Riga, Leos Janacek Competition Brno, Bohuslav Martinu Competition, etc.) He also took part in masterclasses, e.g. the master classes of Vladimir Spivakov in Zurich, of Jean Guillou as an interpreter of his Works and of Semion Yarosevic. As a soloist, he performed with orchestras, for example with the Philharmonie Orchestra of Brno, the Slovak Philharmonie Orchestra, with the Radio Orchestra Kyiv, the Congress Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the Philharmonie Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the Capella of St. Petersburg and with conductors such as Theodor Guschlbauer, Alexander Cernusenko, David Svee, Peter Gribanov and others. He performed in various European countries, including Switzerland, France, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Malta and others. Milan Paľa was awarded the Ľudovít Rajter prize in 2009 which is attributed to an extraordinary Slovak musician. Milan Paľa is only the second Ľudovít Rajter prizeholder since it was awarded for the first time in 2006. His extraordinary and riveting interpretation, unique attitude to music and great critical acclaim is drawing public attention worldwide. It is not surprising that Milan Paľa is becoming a symbol of Slovak national musical culture and leader of its interpretation.

Julián Veverica

Recorded digitaly at the Moštenica church, 2009 • Recording, Mastering (24 bit/192 kHz), Production and Distribution: PAVLÍK RECORDS • Producer: Leonard Vajdulák • Music Director: Milan Paľa • Sound Director: Rostislav Pavlík • Notes: © Zuzana Martináková, Julián Veverica • Translation: © Jana Beňová, Julián Veverica • Photo: © Julián Veverica, Rostislav Pavlík • Cover picture: © Jarmila Šimai-Divíšková • Graphic Design: © Martin Vojtek


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