Navona Records proudly presents PRISMA VOL. 4, the fourth installment in the acclaimed PRISMA series showcasing the best of contemporary composition. This includes John Franek’s Mithridates, which epically closes the album with a punch of Dvořákian opulence.
Selected as one of the winning pieces of the Siberian Symphony’s Composition competition 2017, Mithridates portrays the disorder and turmoil which characterized the reign of Mithridates VI of Pontus. Within Mithridates, the listener may find a sonic portrayal of the vastly deep and intuitive expressions of human emotion within the perpetually chaotic process of civilization. Bound by infinite possibilities of natural and man-made disasters, the rise and fall of our civilizations and their obsessions over beauty and force seem to be more of a phenomenon each passing day.
Today, John is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to discover the one place in the world that John feels would best foster his creativity…
Who was your first favorite artist growing up?
In regards to composers of the Western Classical tradition, I will never forget the uniquely fascinating moment of realizing how there was a person and entire world behind the piece which I was performing. The first name I remember seeing and looking up on my own was Mozart, and it was truly in him which I found my passion ignited.
For other types of music, in retrospect, I probably enjoyed bands like Green Day, Three Days Grace and Disturbed a little too much. I have always listened to all kinds of music for as long as I can remember, so the list goes on and on!
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
The moment in my formative years where I felt I had discovered my voice through music occurred rather early in the stages of being introduced to the piano. I was not quite able to articulate my thoughts on that feeling at that age, but now having lived my life since in pursuit of this mode of expression it seems that at the age of 12 my emotional response to being able to perform resonated with me at the deepest level.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I am eagerly awaiting the chance to spend a greatly extended period of time in Japan. I feel the graciousness of the land and its inhabitants would provide a quality of life like no other.
If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?
Easy, the big hammer in Mahler’s Sixth Symphony.
What does this album mean to you personally?
This album resonates on a rather personal note with me as I feel Mithridates is a time capsule of sorts, representing my first true attempt at orchestral writing. This album, therefore, feels as though I have achieved the most ideal result from my earliest efforts, and importance which I feel will never fade for me personally.
Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?
The context behind the work is rather intense, so with Mithridates I truly hope that the angst, turmoil, pressure and struggle of the work’s inner conflicts and forward motion instill an intense listening experience within the audience.