VARIATIONS ON A MOUSE THEME (Variace na myší téma)

Children should learn about the different styles of music. They have a textbook for that, but I think they should feel the styles themselves with their singing. I wrote them a story about Bach, how the mouse bit his organ bellows, and he drove it away with nothing but a fugue! I also use the mouse to introduce children to classical music, romance, and today’s music.



The painter could draw a picture with a lot of crayons, but he chose only two. I could write songs with five voices, for example, but I only chose two. It is said, “Less is sometimes more.”



Once again, less is more. When the whole choir sings, it’s beautiful, like a big bouquet. But it’s not a bad thing if three flowers are removed and displayed on their own.



There are a lot of songs about water, rain, rivers, and wells. I tried something new in mine. The solo song is accompanied by two groups of choirs. They both sing the same thing, but one seems to be late, then they spill into each other. Was it a mistake? Is it confusion?



I received a wish from a small German town to write a children’s mass. I hesitated—would the children be able to understand the deep meaning of the mass? Or would they be fascinated by its poetic mystery? The German town is called Kreuzweingarten—Vinice Kříže in Czech, Vinea Crucis in Latin. The song ends with Deo gratias—”thank God”—and so does the record. — Ilja Hurník (2008)



“Duets for children’s choir with piano accompaniment Ilja Hurník’s June Night caught Jitro as a sensitive performer of music by a familiar composer. Love folk lyrics (and a rhyme in the case of Vejr) are strung like contrasting beads into a seven-part cycle with a great opportunity for expressive contrast, full sound and remarkable solo parts. A total of five soloists, members of the choir, complemented the interpretive breadth and interest with new sound valeries, especially in The Moon in the Pond (no text), where the choir’s brumendo with two open vocals strongly evoked the enchantment of moonlight on the water surface.” — Stanislav Bohadlo. Hradec Králové Children’s Choir Jitro at the Prague Spring, Harmonie plus, 9.05.2014


“You are absolutely amazing and your gifts went to my heart, warmed my soul and made my life better. Maestro, you are extraordinary and I am honored to know you! Singers, I am your biggest fan! Thank you!” — Andrew Eisenmann


“A hugely enjoyable performance and great choice of repertoire! Your level of focus, rhythmic precision and intensity throughout your program was excellent.  I love that you are staging this kind of repertoire, it is so different from what we often hear from children’s choir... Well, an incredible performance.” — Dan Walker


Australian International Music Festival. The Sydney Opera House 7/5/2018, Choral Adjudication Sheets

 “The choir prove their musicianship over a much longer time frame, as part of a broader ensemble. The first and best-loved panel of Songs from the Czech Highlands (1955-59, four settings of folk-inspired poems by Miroslav Bureš), The Opening of the Wells is just a joy to listen to, a wonderful synthesis of the simplicity of folk song with a larger, semi-dramatic canvas. I spent two days listening to this wonderful disc and the broadest of smiles never left my face.”

— Guy Rickards, Review MARTINŮ Openings. GRAMOPHONE 07/2020


photo: JIŘÍ SKOPAL (left) and ILJA HURNÍK (right) at Hurník’s Jitro concert in Philharmonic Hall, Hradec Králové, Nov 27, 2008. Photo: Ctirad Špičan






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