Three works for voices and ensemble by Vladimír Godár feature as part of Vlaams Radiokoor and il Gardellino’s Pietà programme, conducted by Bart Van Reyn and sung by Elly Aerden, which tours Belgium in March and April. The tour opens at Lier’s Jezuïtenkerk on 19 March, followed by appearances at Studio 4, Flagey (Brussels), St Quintinuskathedraal (Hasselt), Cultuurcentrum De Spil (Roeselare) and concluding on 20 April at the Bruges Concertgebouw – full details here.

Ecce puer (1997) is a 6-minute setting of a James Joyce poem for female voice and seven instruments – harp, harpsichord, chitarrone, and string quartet, with double bass in the place of cello. The seven-minute work, built on the gentle tread of a ground bass, recalls in both its form and instrumentation Godár’s rootedness in the sounds and traditions of baroque music.

Maykomashmalon (2006), a 4-minute work that frames Godár’s 60-minute cantata Mater (released to widespread acclaim on ECM Records), has the same baroque inflections in its scoring, written for alto solo, SATB chorus, chitarrone, harp and strings, but gaining an especially dark colouring from solo viola and the use of period strings and tuning; the solo voice sings a simple folk-like melody, setting Yiddish words from Jewish Belarusian poet Avrom Reyzen, over homophonic blocks of strings and wordless voices. Dormi, Jesu (2008/arr.2009), a 4-minute work for harp, solo soprano, and a small chorus of female voices, rarely rises above piano, with a rocking, lullaby-like melody passed back between solo soprano and female voices. It reflects the composer’s deep-rooted fascination for - and collection of - lullabies. A number of his works repeatedly explore the lullaby form, and he has even gone so far as to curate full-evening events of lullabies in his native Slovakia.

“It’s as if Janáček, Górecki and Monteverdi have settled on a universal language.”
(BBC Radio 3)