four aspects of Prague
Prague is one of those great cosmopolitan European cities full of culture and architectural character. These little pieces for double bass, which contribute to the centenary commemoration of Frantisek Posta (1919-1991), attempt to suggest musical ideas of the city where he spent much of his adult life.
1.a walk in havlíček gardens The layout and features of this park were very much inspired by the Italian Renaissance. A stroll through these gardens, even at dusk, offers a unique view of the city. It is dedicated to Mette Hanskov.
2.café louvre, “an island of noisy tranquillity”, was somewhere Albert Einstein frequented when he was working at the Prague German University. This piece is dedicated to Frank Thoenes.
3.the dancing house Although Frantisek Posta would not have known this building – the site remained a vacant bombed scar for most of Posta’s working life – he would have been aware of Václav Havel coming to power following the overthrow of communism in 1989 and his vision for the country. This included a new cultural centre famous for its pair of highly original towers resembling a dancing couple, designed by the Canadian architect, Frank O Gehry. This one is dedicated to Gӧkçe Küçükarslan.
4.on golden lane Golden Lane is renowned for its picturesque, tiny and colourful houses cosily built into the eastern walls of Prague Castle. The writer, Franz Kafka, lived at no. 22 for a couple of years during the 1st World War. This final piece is dedicated to Jan Krigovsky.
John Alexander was born in West Sussex in 1942 and began to compose at the age of 20. At the time he discovered a fascination for art, literature, dance, architecture and sculpture and these topics, along with mathematics, have continued to have a bearing on his work. He studied composition with Edmund Rubbra at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and later with Jonathan Harvey and Peter Wiegold at the University of Sussex.
John Alexander has never been a prolific composer, but an impressive and growing body of work reflects a rare eye for detail and structure - each work beautifully crafted and reworked until every inflection, detail and nuance is perfect. Probably best described as a miniaturist, he writes in a fluent, independent and strongly personal style with an intense desire to create music which communicates to both performer and audience alike.
In 1999 John Alexander won the 1st BIBF Composition Contest and was invited to be a judge for several BIBF competitions. He was a featured composer at Bass-Fest 2001, was an spnm short-listed composer for three years, and was Composer-in-residence at the 2004 Rotterdam Conservatoire Double Bass Weekend, Bass-Fest 2006 and 2007 Wells Double Bass Weekend. His works have been performed and broadcast throughout the world and he was written an impressive and unique body of work for double bass.