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In May 2006 a new CD was released by the publishing house Pavian Records titled MATER featuring the most recent compositions by Vlado Godár performed by Iva Bittová, Solamente naturali ensemble led by the first violinist Miloš Valent, Choir of Bratislava Conservatory prepared by a choirmaster Dušan Bill and conducted by Marek Štryncl. The CD reflects the concert by the Solamente naturali ensemble with Iva Bittová on the Bratislava Music Festival 2003, however, the recording itself is not from the concert; it was realized at the end of summer 2005 in the St. George Church in Svätý Jur.
ECM, the world-known publishing house of Manfred Eicher released the Vladimír Godár's CD Mater on 20th October 2006. ECM will distribute the new CD through its distributing network excluding the Slovak and Czech territory, where it will be distributed by the Pavian Records as before. The ECM concert department supports the spreading of new releases by the concerts presenting the featured performers and released pieces. Therefore the complete CD Mater was performed at the great jazz festival Enjoy Jazz in Ludwigshafen on 8th November 2006, 7 p.m., in the Friedenskirche. Iva Bittová, Solamente naturali ensemble led by Miloš Valent, Choir of the Bratislava Conservatory with Dušan Bill as choirmaster and under the baton of Marek Štryncl – these all took part in the event. After one-hour silence lacking any clapping German listeners rewarded the musicians with longtime applause and whistling.
On the photos you can see the rehearsal, an ardent discussion of the conductor and the first violinist, instrumentalists, choir singers, the author with a humbly bowed head, the soloist and several photos from the concert. The smiling man at the penultimate picture is a Gray Eminence, the musician not present at the stage, but irreplaceable for the whole project – Mr. Choirmaster. The ultimate photo – Iva Bittová and Vlado Godár discussing with Manfred Eicher at the excellent gastronomic midnight supper.
A new tour of the Mater project was realized during April 1, 2, 3, 2007, when music from the CD sounded in Italian Bergamo and German Memmingen and Berlin. The end of the month April, 23.–26., 2007, offered the latest opportunity to see the Mater project live in the cities of the former Czecho-Slovakia – Ostrava, Bratislava, Brno, Praha – before the Iva Bittová's departure for her long-lasting US working stay.
More than one year later the whole group of instrumentalists and singers came together again to renew the project featuring the pieces from the CD Mater. The first concert took place in Prievidza on July 9, 2008 in a beautiful baroque Piarist Church possessing excellent acoustic characteristics. Iva Bittová returned from the U.S.A. in an admirable form, what was rewarded by her fans’ thunderous applause between the pieces, and sometimes even during them. Instrumentalists were in amazing shape, too. Although some of them met the Vladimír Godár’s pieces for the first time, the ensemble led by Stephen Stubbs made an impression of a cohesive group. Due to the work of the choirmaster Dušan Bill the Bratislava Conservatory Choir is in fact a choir of solo singers. They got their chance particularly in a sneak preview of a new Godár’s piece Dormi Jesu for soprano, choir and harp. The soprano was sang by the choir singer Hilda Gulyásová, Maxine Eilander played the harp. Hilda’s chiming voice floated over the church, enchanted all listeners and changed the little piece into a small prayer. Iva positively dominated the second part of the concert and it was her who enjoyed the final frenetic applause.
On July 11, 2008 the whole programme was repeated in Fribourg (Switzerland) on an International Festival of Sacral Music (www.fims-fribourg.ch). The church of St. Michael (Eglise du Collège Saint-Michel) offered the acoustics similar to that in Prievidza. The concert was entitled Le monde enchanté d’Arvo Pärt et Vladimir Godar (Enchanting World of Arvo Pärt and Vladimír Godár), therefore besides the Godár’s pieces also three compositions by Arvo Pärt sounded; two of them again gave an opportunity for the choir to present its mastery. Neither the premiere of the new piece Dormi Jesu failed. All the musicians contributed to the beautiful sound and atmosphere of humbleness, what resulted in a fact, that for long minutes the audience did not allow them to leave the stage. Entranced applause, bravo, thumping... As one Swiss of Slovak origin said: “I never experienced such a response in the reserved Switzerland.” The concert was broadcast live by the Radio Suisse Romande. It was a great success for all participating performers.
We would like to thank the photographer © Mr. Stefan Oldenburg, www.jazzentrix.de, for his kind permission to use the following beautiful photos from the concert in Ludwigshafen on our website.