Czech Philharmonic & Louis Langrée
Date of EventFriday, 31. 5. 2019 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 21.45
Event placeMunicipal House – Smetana Hall
Price500 - 1 400 CZK Sold out
- Hector Berlioz: Les Francs-Juges, overture
- Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major
- César Franck: Symphony in D minor FWV 48
- Czech Philharmonic
- Louis Langrée - conductor
- Javier Perianes - piano
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An exclusively French programme will be offered by the conductor, Louis Langrée, guest appearing with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. “You can look forward to a display of three characteristic facets of French orchestral music: one of boundless sumptuousness, epitomized by Berlioz; another, of magical translucency, personified by Ravel; and finally, one of scorching intensity, personified by Franck,” says Langrée.
For the Prague Spring audience, this will be the first acquaintance with this distinguished French conductor. It would indeed be hard to find a major international orchestra which has not yet worked with him, those that have including among others the Berlin, Vienna and London Philharmonic Orchestras. Figuring among those others are the Orchestre de Paris, Rome´s Orchestra dell´Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, or the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Since 2013 Maestro Langrée has been the music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra which he has taken to several European and Asian tours including performances at prestigious festivals such as the BBC Proms in London. The orchestra´s enthusiastic reception is documented by the following excerpt from a review published by the London Times: “The orchestra can play with genuine warmth and easily conjure up Old World charm. Consider the waltz movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, so winningly steered and accented…This is one powerfully equipped orchestra…Please, come back soon.” Langrée´s Prague Spring debut promises to entail all attributes of the extraordinary.
A similarly momentous event, after all, was marked by the 2016 debut at this festival of the pianist Javier Perianes. “The Spanish artist´s sonic magicianship reached its climax in his selection from the first book of Debussy´s Préludes. His reading of Debussy was sophisticated, true to style, and embued with feeling, in short, flawless. To display his mastery of ´grand´ technique, the pianist topped off his recital by Falla´s Fantasia bética. There finally he gave free rein to the flow of his passionate Mediterranean blood, albeit adequately disciplined by Perianes´ sharp intellect,” was how the recital was described by the critic of the Hudební rozhledy magazine. All of the above-listed qualities were likewise duly appraised by a review in the London Sunday Times: “His demeanour and technique… radiate calm, yet the precision and speed of his fingerwork can be quite shattering. Seldom, if ever, have I encountered such a combination of evident modesty and utter brilliance.”
At the 2019 Prague Spring, Javier Perianes will be the soloist of Ravel´s Piano Concerto in G major, one of the most frequently performed works of this genre (let´s just recall that its previous performances at this festival alone have included ones by the young Leonard Berstein, at the Prague Spring´s second edition in 1947, and later, in 1969 and again in 1974, two readings by the brilliant Martha Argerich). It also happens to be a staple item in Perianes´ repertoire: in recent years he has performed it with the St Petersburg Philharmonic conducted by Yuri Temirkanov, the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Pablo Heras-Casado, or the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of James Feddeck.
To define musíc´s national character can be a tricky task. In fact, good music defies bracketing. And so, to be sure, did César Franck. He wrote a single symphony, and that at a time when the French cultural scene seemed convinced that, after Beethoven, the symphonic genre had no more anything new to say, and also at a time when, rather understandably after the Franco-Prussian War, anything resembling German music, and Wagner in particular, was extremely unpopular. However, it was under this constellation that César Franck was bold enough to compose his Symphony in D minor, a work which links up with the finest elements of the German tradition, duly acknowledging Wagnerian inspiration, and yet coming out as an exceptionally original achievement. Franck did not live to see its rise to fame, but soon enough the symphony did find its place alongside the most performed symphonies of all time. This is attested to by a look into the archives of the Prague Spring: the concert on 31 May, 2019 will have marked already its twentieth festival performance.
“What a moving experience it is to watch today a short archival film from the rehearsal conducted by the legendary Charles Munch prior to the performance of this symphony at the Prague Spring in 1957,” says Maestro Langrée. “We listen to him telling the Czech Philharmonic musicians that Franck´s symphony as a whole exudes an ardent, exalted, boundless faith. Six decades from then, I now personally feel the deepest respect at the honour I have been extended with the invitation to conduct the same work in collaboration with the same legendary orchestra, in the same concert hall, and as part of the same iconic festival.”
This concert is supported by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E).