Theatre Pieces Vol. 1 is the first compilation of theatre music by the Czech composer and sound artist Jan Burian. For years, Jan’s name has been linked to theatre, particularly the Archa Theatre in Prague. He has worked with many theatre-makers (including Japanese dancer Min Tanaka or founder of Bread and Puppet Theatre Peter Schumann) and film-makers (Pavel Koutecký, Martin Mareček, Václav Švankmajer). He has worked with therapist Marie Nováková for over ten years and has composed the music for two of her books. In 2018, he composed music for the entire restored filmography of the Czech cinema pioneer Jan Kříženecký.
Jan has also developed his own teaching method, Art of Hearing, and he leads workshops in sound design and a creative approach to electronic musical instruments. He is a founding member of the avant hip-hop project Kyklos Galaktikos. In 2016, under the heading tyto alba, he released one of the most underrated albums of the previous decade. The sonically original tyto 1 alba represent a flourishing of Jan’s interest in unique experimental musical instruments, granular effects, analog filters, and synthesis. One of his last project are the Lemurian calliphonies, which he describes as “simple chords, prehistoric etudes and variations, an attempt to use autonomous electronic instruments to reach the roots of music.”
If there is something that connects of all Jan’s diverse projects, it is an endeavour to surprise both himself and his listeners, to break the borders of genre and continually discover new territories. It is a journey full of adventure, exploration, and discovery. And the same could be said about Theatre Pieces Vol. 1. On it, we find constantly developing and electronic textures which transform in unexpected ways (music for 20 000 pages by director Zuzana Burianová and Animalinside by choreographer Jaro Viňarský), multi-layered acoustic sculptures (the soundtrack for Zuzana Sýkorová’s dance performance Trója), and musique concrète for Halka Třešňáková’s In the Eye of the Rope, which explored the difficult topic of suicide.
Incidental music often unfairly stands at the edges, in the background, even though it was an important discipline for composers like Satie, Cage, Penderecki, or Glass. Burian’s Theatre Pieces stomps this myth of incidental music as a merely supportive atmospheric backdrop into the ground without mercy. What you have in your hands is a strong, confident, and uncompromising album that will stand its ground even without you knowing about the context of its creation.
released June 25, 2020
Tracks 01 – 09 form part of the music for the theatre show '20 000 pages' (2013), director: Zuzana Burianová
Track 10: forms part of the music for a site-specific dance piece in the gardens of the Trója Chateau (2015), choreographer: Zuzana Sýkorová
Tracks 11 – 13 form part of the music for the performance 'In the Eye of the Rope' (2016), director: Halka Třešňáková
Track 14 forms part of the music for the dance performance 'Animalinside' (2012), choreographer: Jaro Viňarský
All music composed and recorded by Jan Burian
Compositions selected and compiled by Tarnovski
Mastered by Federsel @ CSN, Prague
Artwork by Tereza Bartůňková
Translated by Ian Mikyska