Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava
Martinů / Slavický / Suk
Date of EventSaturday, 2. 6. 2018 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 22.00
Event placeMunicipal House – Smetana Hall
Price150 - 800 CZK Sold out
- Bohuslav Martinů: Estampes H 369
- Klement Slavický: Sinfonietta No. 4 "Pax hominibus in orbi universo"
- Josef Suk: Symphony in E major Op. 14
- Martin Kasík - piano
- Heiko Mathias Förster - conductor
- Lucie Silkenová - soprano
- Norbert Lichý - narrator
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This concert is a celebratory encounter of three special compositions by three great Czech composers: a teacher whose desire was to teach his students so well that they would be capable of more than he was, and two of his former students, for whom he served as a great model, although each went down a different artistic path from the beginning.
While Josef Suk (1874-1935) briefly taught Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959), and Klement Slavický (1910-1999) was a graduate of Suk’s course in composition at the Prague Conservatory. The concert will conclude with Suk’s youthful, often unjustly neglected Symphony in E major Op. 14 is full of individual lyricism. The works on the programme by his former pupils who became noted composers are, by contrast, orchestra works for the end of their careers.
Martinů was commissioned to compose his symphonic triptych Estampes H 369 (1958) by the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, for which he had already composed his joyous Intermezzo, a work brimming with energy, in 1950. Estampes, however, are something quite different, continuing along the lines of Martinů’s masterpieces: Fantaisies symphoniques, Frescoes, and especially the immediately preceding Parables. This is tremendously colourful music, full of restless rhythm, alternating melodic solos, and episodes. In it, it is as if the composer is looking into the future of music, foreseeing many later developments.
Klement Slavický composed his Sinfonietta No. 4 subtitled Pax hominibus in orbi universo for string orchestra, keyboard instruments, organ, solo soprano, and narrator in 1984 on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, to which he dedicated the work. In this expressive, surprising exciting music, Klement Slavický combines the sound of an orchestra with unusual instrumental forces, organ, and human voices into a great, introduced by the words of Albert Schweitzer.
A Few Words about the Programme from the Conductor
I am greatly honoured to be able to introduce myself to the festival public with my own orchestra in a programme that I identify with personally.
Josef Suk’s Symphony in E major is a work of freshness, power, and depth, and it is one of my favourite works in the orchestral repertoire. It reveals a mature, world-class composer, although this is his first large-scale symphonic work. It is far superior to the early symphonies of many world-famous composers, such as Dvořák or Tchaikovsky.
With the Janáček Philharmonic, we have presented this symphony with unparalleled success not only to the public in Ostrava, but also on several concert tours of Poland and Germany, and we are planning to make a studio recording of it. I am therefore glad that at my first Prague Spring concert, I can present a work that is always a special pleasure for me to perform.
Along with Suk’s symphony, we have decided to play music by two Czech composers who studied composition with him and who, like him, are undeservedly neglected in concert halls around the world. It is interesting to follow the development of Bohuslav Martinů, who spent most of his career as a composer in exile, in comparison with his “classmate” Klement Slavický, twenty years his junior, who worked in Czechoslovakia. Their works on our programme are contrasted with Suk’s symphony in that they are the two men’s last serious orchestral works. Will the teacher’s earliest large-scale orchestral work withstand the comparison with them?
The works by Suk and Slavický were heard at the New Year’s Concert of the Janáček Philharmonic in 2014, at which I conducted this wonderful orchestra for the first time in many years. Not long after that, I was approached with an offer of the position of chief conductor, which I accepted, taking over the post the very next season, so our Prague appearance, one of the highpoints of my career, has a pleasantly symbolic meaning for me, personally.
About the Performers
The Janáček Philharmonic is a renowned symphony orchestra. At its more than fifty concerts during the 2017/2018 season, it will be presenting to the public such figures as Lukáš Vondráček, Simon Trpčeski, Denis Kozhuchin and many others. Along with its classical concerts, the orchestra will be giving crossover concerts at the Multifunction Arena GONG, concerts with commentary, and a great variety of educational programmes.
Heiko Mathias Förster is a former chief conductor of the Bavarian Theatre and artistic director of the Munich Symphony Orchestra. As a guest conductor, he has collaborated with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Israel Symphony Orchestra, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and many other ensembles. He has taken the initiative in several special projects, including the world premiere of Dvořák’s first opera Alfred, the recording of which was honoured as the “Recording of the Month” by the British portal Musicweb International.
“Of the three soloists, the Czech soprano Lucie Silkenová is worthy of first mention. Her suave, vibrant soprano voice illuminated the entire concluding section of the cantata with desire, tenderness, and allure.” – Hudební rozhledy (Musical Perspectives)
The soprano Lucie Silkenová graduated from Ivan Kusnjer’s studio at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and she has taken part at master classes in England, Spain, Germany, and Austria. She is a laureate of the Concours International d’Encouragement in Lyon, France (2008), and in 2009 she won second prize at the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary. Since 2010, she has been a regular guest at the National Theatre, and her concert activities have included collaborations with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, among other ensembles.
“Mr. Kasik plays with a resourceful technique, fluidity, a keen sense of colour and intelligence.” (The New York Times)
The winner of one of the most prestigious competitions, the Young Concert Pianist in New York (1999), Martin Kasík has been playing piano since he was four years old. A graduate of the Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava (Monika Tugedliebová) and of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Ivan Klánský), he has given concerts in a number of prestigious concert halls in Europe (Wigmore Hall in London, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the Tonhalle in Zürich), the USA (Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York) and Japan (Tokyo Suntory Hall). Since 2009, he has been a teacher at the Prague Conservatory, and he also teaches at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
Norbert Lichý is a Czech actor and musician. At just nine years of age, he first appeared on the stage of the Petr Bezruč Theatre in Ostrava, and at the age of nineteen, he accepted an engagement at the theatre in Šumperk. In 1986-1987 he worked at the Ostrava Puppet Theatre, and since 1987 he has been an ensemble member at the Petr Bezruč Theatre, where he works as an actor and a composer of incidental music. For the role of Mendel Singer in the play Job (by Joseph Roth), he won the prestigious Thalia Award for Drama in 2009.