Piano Quartet, Op. 66 "Communicatio intima"
Marta Jiráčková first studied composition at the Prague Conservatory with Emil Hlobil, then privately with Alois Hába in the 1960s, and during her postgraduate studies at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno with Ctirad Kohoutek and Alois Piňos in the 1970s. At that time she entered Czech musical life with her work. Her thorough and versatile education and many years of editorial work in Czechoslovak Radio enriched the sonic component of her compositions, while the tragic death of her husband, conductor Václav Jiráček (in 1966), and her close relationship with the composer Sláva Vorlová deepened the overall philosophical subtext of her oeuvre. It encompasses most types and genres of music, including incidental music for radio and television. Many of Jiráčková’s compositions contain her typical vocal component, using the human voice as a musical instrument; she likes to be inspired by unusual stimuli. Her work has also been influenced, i.a., by dodecaphony and experimental approaches to contemporary music. Jiráčková has also successfully devoted herself to electroacoustic music. Her compositions have received recognition both at home and abroad. Her electroacoustic composition The Ship of Fools was awarded the Annual Prize of the Czech Music Fund in 1992, and Pura sub nocte came second in the Musica Nova international competition in 1998 (first prize was not awarded). On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the OSA Copyright Protection Association, Jiráčková received an award for her contribution to Czech culture together with other representatives of Czech music.
The composition Communicatio intima, Op. 66 was written in 2015 and today’s interpreters, to whom it is dedicated, have successfully performed it both at home and abroad. They premiered it on 9 April 2015 in Prague and recorded it for Czech Radio – but in a purely musical form, without the verses of Jan Skácel (this February we celebrated the 100th anniversary of his birth). “The composition was written for my friend Miroslav in 2015. I also present it under the Czech title Důvěrná sdělení [Confidential Communication]. It is really a kind of taking stock of ‘confidential messages’ from childhood to this day. The first time I experienced it at the age of five, when my parents sent me to a pre-school summer camp, where another girl and I whispered our five-year-old confidences to each other on a single pillow before falling asleep, and became inseparable friends for the time being. As life went on, inevitably bringing about both good and bad, more confidences were added, some of which had the necessary therapeutic effects in critical situations. ‘Confidentiality’ is derived from the word ‘confidence’, so confidential communication is only possible between people who trust, respect, or even love each other. And this does not always have to be in harmony because there are sharper moments in life... but let us strive for harmony, all life.”
The composition was commissioned by the Josef Suk Piano Quartet. Its first violinist Radim Kresta says, “From the very beginning we were enchanted by the beautiful poetic character of this composition, and so in 2020 I came up with the idea of adapting it into a combination of music and recitation of poems by Jan Skácel (1922–1989). The composer, Mrs. Jiráčková, was not against it, and so in collaboration with her and one of our prominent Czech actresses, Taťjana Medvecká (who has already had a lot of experience with the combination of music and words), a second version of Communicatio intima was created in symbiosis with the intimate nature of the music and the poetic atmosphere of Skácel’s verses.” The verses that will accompany Jiráčková’s music today come from Skácel’s poetry collections Incantation in the Time Before Last, Who Can Fit on the Violin, Love Again and How Many Chances the Rose Has.