Parallel Worlds Jitro Czech Girls Choir, Jiří Skopal
- Jan Jirásek (1955): Missa propria:
- 1Kyrie eleison07:18
- 2Gloria - Miserere - Gloria05:08
- 3Credo - Agnus Dei04:41
- Si, vis amari, ama:
- 4Omnia vincit amor01:28
- 5Quod me nutrit me destruit02:12
- 6Audentes fortuna iuvat01:13
- 7Si, vis amari, ama02:36
- Mondi paralleli:
- 9Benedictus - Baruch haba01:39
- 11Agnus Dei. Wheresoever You Look...01:44
- 12Miserere. Avinu malkenu02:26
- 13Te Deum laudamus. Om ah hum06:15
- 14Dona nobis pacem... Is the Face of God01:36
- 15King Lávra16:47
Info for Parallel Worlds
With „Parallel Worlds“, Czech composer Jan Jirásek provides a portal into his intricately textured and resonant choral music. These works are enhanced by Czech children’s choir JITRO, whose singers imbibe Jirásek’s delicate and earnest compositions with authority, maturity, and captivating grace.
A varied collection of Jirásek’s sacred and secular choral music, „Parallel Worlds“ reveals the composer’s affinity for non-traditional sounds, as well as vocal forms rooted in Renaissance and Medieval traditions. These subtle, period-based influences are most evident in the nuances of compositions such as works like Missa Propria that evoke the voice-leading techniques of Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo.
Most obvious of these subtleties is Jirásek’s contrast of polyphony and monophony in Missa Propria and Si, Vis, Amari, Ama, which use chant-like melodies scored for the entire choir. These moments strongly recall the structural role of Gregorian chant in Medieval, Renaissance, and even later musical settings of the mass text.
King Lávra presents a subtler allusion to earlier eras of choral music, as its dramatic scoring recalls the Medieval genre of the liturgical drama. This composition is also one of several works on this album to feature atypical sounds, including percussive vocal sounds ranging from spoken text to individual isolated consonants. Jirásek’s use of a pair of scissors as a percussion instrument on King Lávra is a brilliant and wholly unpredictable reinterpretation of a mundane object, and the clear, precise attack of the swiftly closing scissors works impressively well with the piano and vocal forces.
Throughout „Parallel Worlds“, Jirásek's creations are vibrant and profound, often suggesting the choir’s singing is filling an enormous venue. The composer constantly plays with layering fixed materials, and he often manipulates the density of these musical strata to pull the listener through his intricate compositional mazes.
Jitro Czech Girls Choir
Jiri Skopal, conductor
Michal Chrobák, piano
Jan Míšek, tambourine, scissors
Pavel Plašil, percussion
award-winning choir from the Czech Republic, was set up in 1973 by Josef Vratil. Since 1977, it has been directed by artistic director and chorusmaster Jiří Skopal. The choir tours regularly in many European, Asian and American countries, and takes part in international choral competitions. Jitro is a complex institution with a membership of around 350 young singers ranging between five and 19 years of age.
For 35 years Jitro has been admired all over the world for its tonal brilliance, superb intonation, distinctive rich blend of sound and energetic vitality. Jitro is today seen as one of the best children’s choirs anywhere in the world. Many golden awards and absolute victories have been bestowed on the choir by international juries. The list can begin with the prestigious European contests in Llangollen (Wales, United Kingdom, 1988), Nantes (France, 1989), Lecco (Italy, 1990) and Neerpelt (Netherlends, 1996) and finish with the recent World competitions.
In 2003, at the International Songs Festival in Olomouc, Czech Republic, the choir competed in six categories against 171 choruses from around the world and earned six Gold Medals and absolute victory (scoring even one hundred points - twice). The choir took part in the Fourth World Choir Games 2006 in Xiamen, China in July 2006 and competed with four hundred choirs from all over the world. Jitro received three gold medals and one silver medal, which attests to the continuing excellence by Jitro.
America’s love of Jitro was re-born when the choir was invited to sing at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in San Antonio, Texas in 1993. Standing ovations were given by thousands of professional American conductors in the auditorium. An official response from Dr. J. B. Haberlen, ACDA President, “Our ACDA members will long remember your concerts, as they were a major highlight of the 1993 convention.” The excitement in this select audience of choral conductors and their sustained applause attest to this fact. Professor Doreen Rao of Toronto University commented, “Are you aware that you have just changed forever the character and style of all American choral singing?”
Jitro Choir makes over 100 appearances annually and has sung with other renowned choruses, including the American Boys’ Choir. Jitro has performed with the Bavarian Symphonic Orchestra, the Milano Symphonic Orchestra and Pardubice Philharmonic. They have performed in prestigious concert halls in Prague, Chicago, Hale, Strasbourg, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington, Baltimore, Tokyo, Bern, Barcelona, Paris, Fukushima, Dortmund, Toulouse, Atlanta, Ithaca, Penn State University, Avignon, New York, San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Hong Kong, Basle, Hiroshima, Madison, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Naschville, Osaka, Xiamen and many many more.
Artistic director and conductor Professor Jiri Skopal, Ph.D. is associated with the the Czech Girls' Choir (Jitro) since 1977. In 1982, he also formed a boys' choir. Professor Skopal has been a teacher, professor and the head of the Department of Music at University of Hradec Kralove. He has also published essays and choir education textbooks. Professor Skopal is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including his selection by the American Biographical Institute as "Man of the Year" in 1993, honoring his outstanding musical accomplishments. In the year 2000, he was the very first person to be awarded the prestigious prize "Primus Inter Pares" by the City of Hradec Kralove for his outstanding contributions to the regional culture. Professor Skopal works with accompanist Michael Chrobak on many artistic activities for the choir, including the development of their repertoire.