Collegium 1704 – Live from The Prague Crossroads
A programme put together specially for this occasion will also be presented by the ensembles Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704, led by Václav Luks. This concert scheduled for 18 May at the Prague Crossroads venue will feature 17 instrumentalists and 12 singers; the solo part will be sung by soprano Hana Blažíková. “The confrontation between the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Jan Dismas Zelenka always makes for an unusually exciting adventure,” states conductor Václav Luks. “Bach’s counterpoint firmly anchored in the German Lutheran tradition represents a completely different musical language juxtaposed with Zelenka’s music influenced by Italian melodiousness and emotionality, composed for the Catholic court in Dresden. As a Lutheran and cosmopolitan, and inspired by both the Italian style and the English tradition, Georg Friedrich Händel draws a connecting line between the music of Bach and Zelenka.”
Date of EventMonday, 18. 5. 2020 from 20.00
- Johann Sebastian Bach: Komm, Jesu, komm BWV 229
- Jan Dismas Zelenka: Responsoria pro Hebdomada ZWV 55
- Georg Friedrich Händel: Gloria
- Johann Sebastian Bach: Jesu, meine Freude BWV 227
- Collegium 1704
- Václav Luks - conductor
- Hana Blažíková - soprano
- Ondřej Havelka - host
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About the performers
The ensembles Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 have been guiding lights on the Czech early music scene for the past fifteen years. They were established for a project conceived in association with the Prague Spring, for which Artistic Director Václav Luks put together a performance of Bach’s monumental Mass in B minor. The ensembles became household names also thanks to the concert series “Music Bridge Prague – Dresden”, which has been held since 2008 in two cities which share a vibrant musical history.
In recent years, however, Collegium 1704 and its conductor and founder Václav Luks have gone way beyond the borders of the domestic scene and are now recognised as world leaders in their field. This fact is reflected in their frequent collaboration with international stars such as mezzo-sopranos Magdalena Kožená and Vivica Genaux, or countertenor Bejun Mehta, and in their regular appearances at leading European festivals, where the ensembles present both the key repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries and also hitherto neglected works by the early Czech masters, in particular Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) and Josef Mysliveček (1737-1781).
As Václav Luks informed readers on the website Aktuálně.cz, “Zelenka’s music is filled with vigour and intense emotion; it manifests a broad spectrum ranging from the most profound sorrow to crystalline, radiant joy. If this music mirrors his soul, it indicates to us that here was a man full of creative and vital energy. Everything about him appealed to me in an entirely exceptional way.”
The name of the ensembles is moreover inspired by Jan Dismas Zelenka. The year 1704 saw the production of the Latin school play Via Laureata, featuring Zelenka’s music and staged with a large cast of performers at a Jesuit college in Prague’s Malá Strana district. Even though the score for this play has not survived, this is the very first record of Zelenka’s compositional endeavours, and 1704 was the year that the greatest Czech Baroque composer appeared on the music scene. His outstanding oeuvre bears comparison with the world’s Baroque titans, who were also Zelenka’s contemporaries – such as J. S. Bach or Händel; the composers included in this concert, giving listeners an opportunity to compare the three masters.