Vladimír Hirsch (born July 3, 1954) is a Czech composer, instrumentalist, and sound experimenter, integrating industrial and dark ambient music with modern classical composition with a genre overlap conception. His compositional style is characterized by polymodal architectonics, polymictrotonality and the usage of digital technique to enhance sonic means of expression, where modern classical elements fuse within experimental soundscapes. Besides creating solo works, he is the co-founder of band Skrol, the duo Aghiatrias and various other projects (e.g. Zygote, Luminar Ax, Subpop Squeeze or Tiria). His music is marked by a dark, tense and tempestuous atmosphere. Between 1986 and 1995 he was member of experimental post-punk group Der Marabu.
Hirsch has been composing since he was a teenager, when as a pianist and organ player, he started to write romantic and classicist pieces with elements of experimental rock. However, he abandoned these compositions for some time and delved into experimental jazz and rock music up until 1986, when he joined the post-punk band Der Marabu. Simultaneously he also started to apply modern classical forms to electronic and analog music resulting in a more transgressive industrial style in his solo works. During this time, Der Marabu also changed their direction to a darker and more aggressive style with some Slavic classical music undertones. After many personal changes the band finished its activity in 1996, when Hirsch established the band Skrol. Its creative principle was based on modern classical concepts with a congregation of martial industrial. Severe militant rhythms along with obstinate instrumental loops as a counterpoint to the melodic calmness are typical features of that period of Hirsch's style. Throughout their existence, Skrol recorded 5 albums, that were released between 1998 and 2009, though their public appearance was interrupted from 2002 to 2011. With a similar but more abstract sprouting of this integrated style, aiming more towards dark ambient, is Hirsch's project, Aghiatrias, founded in 1999. Aghiatrias were active from 1999 until 2007 and for that period recorded 4 albums, in which they were moving from a sombre ambient industrial character to power electronics, with an infiltration of modern classical composition and digitally manipulated instrumentation.
Hirsch's collaborative projects have never interrupted his solo output. He has continuously composed an extensive collection of music, foremost a number of conceptual or thematic albums, including symphonies, suites, concert works, soundtracks, and many experimental compositions, including works for his favourite instruments: organ and piano. He has been influenced by various 20th-century compositional techniques, including serial, atonal, microtonal, polymodal, spectral and others, however his style has emerged into what Hirsch calls "integrated music", characterized by an effort to break the borders between primarily musical and unmusical elements in composition and instrumentation, attempting to both equalize and enhance their expressive properties using technological manipulation. His work described as an alchemical transmutation of modern classical forms with dark ambient, industrial and noise components into a homogenous indivisible structure. It also represents metaphysically the central idea of Vladimír Hirsch's concept, which consists in the collision and reconciliation of two seemingly spiritually opposite worlds inside an individual.
Hirsch performs regularly in his native country and abroad. He has had a US tour in 2001 and appeared in many European festivals.
Aghiatrias was a Czech side-project consisting of composer Vladimír Hirsch and sound engineer Tom Saivon formed in 1999 as an offshoot of their sympho-industrial band Skrol. Their music was based on an integration of contemporary classical music, dark ambient and ambient industrial music. The name "Aghiatrias" is the collocation of Greek words αγία (saint) and τριάς (trinity). They (self)-released five albums, occasionally performing live. The collaboration ended in 2007 as Hirsch concentrated on his solo efforts.
In autumn 1999, Vladimír Hirsch (composer, keyboards, samplers, drums, vocals, computer) and Tom Saivon (noise generators, samplers, computer, lyrics) joined their creative efforts in this project, seeking to combine contemporary classical music (Hirsch) and noise (Saivon). In their five years of existence, the band performed at a number of European festivals and a tour of North America, often in conjunction with Skrol. Singer Martina Sanollová (mezzo-soprano) performed on Aghiatrias' recordings and live performances.
Aghiatrias recordings are conceptual in character. Their first album, Field Mass (2000) were a classical opus, using standard liturgical elements with a simple central plot framework. With their second album, Epidaemia vanitatis (Epidemy Of Vanity) (2002), the duo attempted to integrate tonality into atonality and classical into postindustrial. The third album Regions Of Limen (2004) was a dark ambient album with the theme of subliminal perception, released on the Czech label Epidemie Records. The fourth album Ethos combined contemporary classical, dark-ambient, noise and industrial. In 2007, they released a compilation, Reliquary, of previously unreleased material.
Hirsch has also written articles and essays about music, musicians and art, including many of the lyrics found in his albums and is the graphic designer for the overwhelming majority of his solo albums and conjoint projects. Not interrelated, but interesting from Vladimír Hirsch's biography is the fact, that he graduated in 1980 Faculty of medicine of Charles University in Prague and practiced as a physician until 1999.
The music crosses over from experimental manipulations to unambiguous strictness in composition which are marked by a dark and highly evocative atmosphere enriched by conceptual themes ranging from metaphysics, anxiety to spirituality. To his best works belong Symphony No.4: Descent From The Cross and its revisited version Graue Passion, a conceptual electronic-ambient industrial album Underlying Scapes, the extensive dark ambient-neoclassical compositions Contemplatio Per Nexus or Invocationes, power electronics-neoclassical Mass Missa Armata, electroacoustic composition Endoanathymia or as fully conceptual albums adapted soundtracks Tobruk and contemporary classical Markéta, the daughter of Lazar. They represent an immersive perception and expression of ubiquitous inner dialogue, but predominantly, the fight between spirituality and the anthropocentric and materialistic likeness of contemporary society. This theme intermingles the majority of the composer's works. In 2010, all the main works until that time were released as 8-CD box set collection The Assent To Paradoxon by Italian label Ars Benevola Mater.
Synthetics - Themes, op. 17, experimental electronic work, 1987,
Symphony no. 1 in E, Op. 20; symphony for synthesizers. 1988-1989,
The Ambits Of Material World; experimental organ composition, 1990,
7 Parts Of Desolation, op. 29; piano cycle, 1989-1991,
Aion, op. 33; composition for organ, water harp and ambient recordings, 1992,
Intermezza, op. 36; compositions for piano and vocal, 1994,
Simplicity Of Heresy (Heretical Antiphony), op. 39; suite for integrated ensemble, 1996,
Insomnia Dei, op. 42; conceptual work for group, 1997,
Symphony no. 2 "Defensa", op. 47; symphony for synthesizers, 1997,
Concert industriel pour orgue, op. 49; concerto for organ, percussions and integrated ensemble, 1997-8,
Casual Crime, op. 51; new arrangements of jazz compositions 1977-1998,
Symphony no. 3 "Brands Of Tyranny, op. 52; symphony for integrated orchestra, organ, percussions and vocal, 1998-9,
Sense Geometry, op. 54; experimental electronic work, 1998,
Dances & Marches, op. 57; suite for organ, piano and integrated ensemble, 1998-2005,
Exorcisms, op. 61; suite for integrated ensemble, 1999-2000,
Nenia, op. 62; experimental organ composition, 1999-2008,
New Laws / New Orders, op. 63; conceptual work for group, 2000,
Missa armata / Cryptosynaxis, op. 64; mass for integrated ensemble, 1999-2004,
Elegy, op. 65; experimental composition for piano and gas organ, 2000,
Symphony no. 4, "Descent From The Cross", op. 67; symphony for integrated orchestra, soloists and choir; 2001-2009,
Invocationes, op. 66; cycle of dark-ambient prayers, 2002,
De regionibus liminis (Underlying Scapes), op. 68, ambient-industrial electronic work; 2003-2010,
Endoanathymia, op. 70; conceptual album of experimental electroacoustic compositions, 2003-2004,
Trigonal Sonata, op. 71; sonata for two pianos and digital technique, 2004,
Fragments,thèmes et images scéniques', op. 72, adaptation of soundtracks,
Nonterra, op. 73; suite for integrated techniques, 2005,
Ethos, op. 74, thematic work for integrated ensemble, 2004-5,
Les scènes ardentes, op. 75; album of composition for integrated techniques, 2006,
Contemplatio per nexus, op. 77; composition for integrated techniques, 2007-8,
Torment Of Naissance, op. 79, suite for integrated techniques, 2007,
Epidemic Mind, op.81, experimental electronic work, 2008,
Tobruk, op. 82, conceptual work, originally soundtrack, 2008,
Markéta, the daughter of Lazar, op. 85, conceptual work, originally stage play soundtrack, 2009,
Horae, op. 89, extensive composition for organ and integrated techniques, 2011,
Axonal Transit, Symphony No.5, op. 92, for integrated techniques, 2012,
Craving Urania, op. 95, composition for integrated techniques, 2014
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