Prague Spring Debut
Date of EventSunday, 19. 5. 2019 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 21.30
Event placeRudolfinum – Dvořák Hall
Price200 - 700 CZK
- Šimon Voseček: Hypnos (world premiere of a work commissioned by the Prague Spring)
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto for French Horn and Orchestra No. 2 in E flat major KV 417
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor KV 550
- PKF – Prague Philharmonia
- Ben Glassberg - conductor
- Alexandre Collard - French horn
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The sensational victory of Briton Ben Glassberg at the celebrated International Competition for Young Conductors in Besançon in September 2017, where the 23-year-old accepted all three awards (jury, orchestra and audience prizes), was a natural progression and further important milestone in a career that got off to a brilliant start.
Only a few months before that he became one of the youngest conductors to make his debut at the famous opera festival in Glyndebourne (La Clemenza di Tito), and in 2016, at the same festival, he was awarded after assisting Antonello Manacorda in a production of Berlioz’s opera Béatrice et Bénédict. He has since returned to Glyndebourne every year: in the summer of 2018 he conducted performances of Madama Butterfly, and in November, as part of the Glyndebourne Tour, he was involved in a successful performance of La Traviata: Behind the Curtain.
The website theartsdesk.com described Ben Glassberg a year ago as “a wonderfully precise, demanding presence on the podium”, and the public love him for his infectious enthusiasm, freshness and charm. When asked what his conductor’s baton was made of, Glassberg answered: “I think wood. And dragon feathers, obviously.” The British artist has been very much looking forward to his Prague Spring concert – also his Czech debut – in particular, the combination of his beloved Mozart and a contemporary work: “It is always a joy to programme Mozart alongside something new and innovative from today. I’m delighted to be conducting the premiere by Šimon Voseček. I’m certain that the combination of Voseček and Mozart will make for an equally intimate and thrilling evening of music-making.”
It was for this concert that the Prague Spring requested a new work from Šimon Voseček, a Czech composer working since 2002 in Vienna, thus the festival has symbolically re-established the Prague-Vienna connection which played a fundamental role in Mozart’s life.
The exceptional merits of the PKF – Prague Philharmonia, and naturally its conductor as well, come into their own once again in the final piece on the programme – Mozart’s famous Symphony No. 40 in G minor. Right from the outset we are drawn into a darkened atmosphere of uneasiness, which later gives way to light-filled lyrical passages. The symphony culminates in an energetic Finale.
Šimon Voseček is a sought-after composer particularly of operatic works. In fact, his new piece, poetically entitled Hypnos, cultivates the atmosphere of the nocturnal scenes in his latest opera Hybris, commissioned by sirene Operntheater in Vienna, where it was performed to critical acclaim in 2016. That same year Voseček received the prestigious Music Prize, conferred upon him by the City of Vienna. His previous full-length chamber opera Biedermann and the Arsonists garnered the Outstanding Artist Award from the Austrian Ministry of Culture in 2008. The opera was staged in Vienna and Bolzano in 2013 as a Neue Oper Wien production. Two years later the work was presented in London, and in 2017 in the German city of Bremerhaven.
The piece by Šimon Voseček was commissioned by the Prague Spring Festival, funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.
French horn player Alexandre Collard might conceivably be described as a collector of awards. In 2018 he won the Prague Spring International Music Competition, yet this victory was, in fact, preceded by another nine competition successes. “Winning first prize at the Prague Spring Music Competition was an incredible honour for me, a distinction which gave meaning to the endless hours of hard work that I’d put into the preparation. […] And the best moment of all was when I learned that the first prize included an invitation to perform at the Prague Spring the following year! Conductor Ben Glassberg asked me to select one of Mozart’s four horn concertos. The choice was obvious to me, as this second concerto is my favourite one, with its sparkling sense of humour that emerges especially in the final movement.”