Czech Philharmonic & Jakub Hrůša Live from Rudolfinum
The Closing Concert was originally to have comprised Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, marking the special anniversaries of both the composer and the festival, with whose history the work is closely associated. Thanks to conductor Jakub Hrůša we will still have Beethoven’s music even during the pandemic. Hrůša and the Czech Philharmonic are preparing for a performance of two late Beethoven quartets arranged for string orchestra. “It’s an extraordinary initiative, sparked by an extraordinary situation within society as a whole; nevertheless, even this has a precedent in musical history. I am convinced that the metaphysical music of late Beethoven will make for a compelling conclusion to a festival held at an exceptionally complex time,” reflects Třeštík.
Date of EventThursday, 4. 6. 2020 from 20.00
- Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor op. 131 (string orchestra arrangement)
- Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No. 16 in F major op. 135 (string orchestra arrangement)
- Czech Philharmonic
- Jakub Hrůša - conductor
- Ondřej Havelka - host
Partners of the concert
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“Must it be?” asks Beethoven in a text written beneath a short musical phrase cited in his sixteenth and last string quartet. He responds with a different phrase: “It must be!” For reasons of safety, the current situation will not allow for our Closing Concert featuring the originally planned Symphony No. 9 with its Ode “To Joy”, a piece strongly associated with the history of the Prague Spring. Despite this, there will still be an opportunity to present music from Ludwig van Beethoven’s late period: Jakub Hrůša will lead the Czech Philharmonic in a performance of two of Beethoven’s late string quartets arranged for string orchestra.
“During this difficult period of ʽcoronacrisisʼ we are all thinking of the possibility of returning to normal as soon as possible. Of course, health is the most important consideration, and it’s our greatest wish that everyone remain healthy and safe. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we should also be thinking of culture and we should never stop fostering cultural endeavour,” reflects Jakub Hrůša, conductor and member of the Prague Spring’s Artistic Board.
“I miss meeting up with other musicians and with the public: The spiritual fulfilment of others and of oneself through music. And so I’m delighted that our major Czech celebration of music – the Prague Spring festival – is going ahead this year, even at a time like this. It may be a celebration under abnormal conditions, but what’s important is that the Prague Spring is going to happen.”
It is a privilege for me to perform the festival’s gala Closing Concert. The original programme of this final concert contained Beethoven’s Ninth, but this isn’t possible. Nevertheless, we have come up with a different programme which is, in the true sense, a virtue of necessity. We are preserving fabulous Beethoven and his humanistic thinking. The string section of the Czech Philharmonic will present his late quartets in their orchestral versions; cosmic music indeed. It’s the kind of programming that enjoys a long and notable tradition the world over, a tradition which, moreover, always fell into the category of entirely exceptional events, as it does to this day.
I see the Prague Spring as a platform for festivity. After my two festival openings featuring My Country (in 2010 and 2019) and the concert performance of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, this year, too, I would like to ensure to the best of my ability that the music of the greatest masters of all time affords a supremely spiritual experience. Smetana and Beethoven are right up there on the top tier,” Hrůša concludes.