Solamente Naturali

The early music ensemble

„Today, after decades of the worldwide Early Music boom, simply to perform on historical instruments, attempting to restore early music to its original “Zeitgeist” is no longer a sufficient goal in itself.“

The early music ensemble Solamente naturali was founded in 1995 by its artistic director, the violinist Miloš Valent. Conceived as a ensemble of artists of specialists wishing to focus on the interpretation of 17th and 18th century music on historical instruments, Solamente naturali is flexible: from a trio or septet, to a large baroque orchestra performing cantatas and oratorios with its own vocal ensemble SoLa. Openness of thought and the courage to bring new perspectives to the interpretation of music of the past has inspired many contemporary composers (such as V.Godár, M.Paľko and P.Zagar) to write new works for the ensemble, which have been performed at contemporary music festivals (Melos Etos) and concert series.
An ongoing focus on the young listener is the result of projects within established educational concert series (the programme “Marionettes from Lubeník” and “Strings are playing”) and the establishment of the Academia Solamente naturali, an ensemble that can create the performance space to bring its work closer to young students. There they can regularly participate in music workshops with teachers who are members of Solamente naturali either as performers or observers. Musical experiences for the youngest audience members has been developed from the work of Peter Vrbinčík, a member of Solamente naturali and founder and director of a private primary music school, operating in a rural setting since 2004.

Today, after decades of the worldwide Early Music boom, simply to perform on historical instruments, attempting to restore early music to its original “Zeitgeist” is no longer a sufficient goal in itself. The task already begun by Solamente naturali is now to seek a deeper inspiration from the historical documents of earlier centuries and to make them accessible to today’s listeners. This approach to the past brings it forth into the present as a living part of our cultural DNA, of the heritage and patriotism of our own time and place in history.

The driving force of Solamente naturali is grounded in the enthusiasm, creativity, and professional approach of its members, accompanied by a spontaneity of performance, found in an innate sense of music itself, and from of our very nature itself – as the name of the ensemble suggests. The ensemble’s wide recorded repertoire is to be found on some 30 CDs (on the ECM, Glossa, ORF, Pavian Records and Brilliant Classics labels). A large part of the ensemble’s recordings consists of a collection of music from Slovak archives, for which there have been many awards – Krištáľové krídlo (works by J.N.Hummel and N.Zmeškal), Tatra Banka Award (CD Musica Globus), Radio Ahead Awards Album of the Year (CD Anna Szirmay Keczer, CD Thesaurus of Jewish music), Zlatá platňa (CD Godár Mater). Such unknown and unique works of Slovak provenance offer a fine complement to the essential masterpieces of the Baroque also regularly recorded by the ensemble. Solamente naturali is also a regular guest at festivals in Europe, China and the USA.

Academia Solamente naturali

Solamente naturali otvára a sprístupňuje svet starej hudby pre študentov, mladých ľudí a ostatných milovníkov klasiky. Počas realizácie niektorého z projektov sa môžu účastníci akadémie zúčastniť procesu tvorby a nahrávania hudobného nosiča a detailne vniknúť do tajov interpretácie starej hudby.

Urbs Musicum Archivum

Idea edície nahrávok Urbs Musicum Archivum (UMA), v ktorej vám chceme postupne predstaviť históriu hudobného života v slovenských mestách, dozrievala počas tridsiatich rokov môjho prehlbujúceho sa vzťahu so starou hudbou. Kedysi pred rokmi sme v dome profesora Jána (Hansiho) Albrechta s priateľmi a neskôr kolegami zo súboru Musica aeterna s nadšením prehrávali rad za radom všetky noty z Hansiho skrine, diela známe i neznáme, medzi nimi aj skladby viažuce sa k našej histórii. Vtedy som ešte netušil, ako veľmi ma tieto neznáme zbierky a zabudnutí skladatelia začnú priťahovať; keď sa dnes pozriem na nahrávky Solamente naturali, musím skonštatovať, že väčšina z nich oživuje diela spojené s naším kultúrnym priestorom.

Je pre nás veľkým šťastím, že sa takmer v každom našom meste zachoval hudobný archív. V úzkej spolupráci so Slovenským národným múzeom -Hudobným múzeom a muzikológmi budeme tieto archívy postupne sprístupňovať na nahrávkach i koncertoch v rôznych mestách, práve tam, kde hudba z nich kedysi dávno znela.

Musel som si preto položiť otázku: Prečo? Odpoveď je určite subjektívna, pritom úprimná. Keď prechádzam Slovenskom, vnímam v každom meste tie starobylé budovy, kostoly, námestia, kaštiele, hradby a pozorujem, ako sa ľudkovia v nich pokojne prechádzajú netušiac, že pred tristo či štyristo rokmi tu takto kráčali mnohí z ich predkov … Vtedy začnem pociťovať túžbu zistiť, aká hudba znela v týchto starých domoch či kostoloch, vyniesť ju zo zaprášených archívov na svetlo a zahrať pre týchto ľudí tak, aby v nich krása a tajomstvo dávnej minulosti skryté v tónoch vyvolali pocit, že sa zastavil čas, a aby potom precitli s jemným úsmevom na tvári a myšlienkou: „Toto je hudba nášho mesta …“

Miloš Valent