Tribute to the theremin
Date of EventFriday, 24. 5. 2019 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 21.40
Event placeRudolfinum – Dvořák Hall
Price100 - 500 CZK
- Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in G major Op. 17/5 Hob. III:29
- Bohuslav Martinů: String Quartet No. 3 H 183
- Jakub Rataj: æther (world premiere of a work commissioned by the Prague Spring)
- Bohuslav Martinů: Butterflies and Birds of Paradise H 127
- Bohuslav Martinů: Fantasia for Theremin, Oboe, String Quartet and Piano H 301
- Carolina Eyck - theremin
- Alžběta Jamborová - oboe
- Karel Košárek - piano
- Bennewitz Quartet
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The theremin is an electronic musical instrument which, one hundred years since it was first introduced, continues to evoke a sense of awe. It is played without physical contact, only via the movement of the performer’s arms, hands and fingers. In this year’s Prague Spring programme it will figure in two concerts, each time in a slightly different guise. This evening the theremin will feature in the classical music genre – in Bohuslav Martinů’s famous Fantasia and in the world premiere of a work by young Czech composer Jakub Rataj. The following day, in the informal setting of the Royal, the theremin will be spotlighted in music that crosses various genres.
“Martinů was one of the first composers to write for the theremin – his Fantasia was premiered in the autumn of 1945. It is especially well written for the instrument,” says Carolina Eyck, currently one of the most sought-after performers on the theremin and a keen promoter of the instrument, appearing with it at the prestigious TEDx conference. “In the cadenza Martinů wrote a beautiful folk melody which I play as a duet with the viola. It’s my favourite part of the piece since I studied the viola myself,” she says.
Bohuslav Martinů is a composer of a diverse range of musical expressions. He absorbed the influences of Neo-Classical Paris in the early 20th century, yet he never lost any of the fervent melodicity typical for Czech music which prevailed in his late period. “Both these expressive registers will have their place at our concert,” the members of the Bennewitz Quartet concur. “His String Quartet No. 3 explores the possibilities of the four-voice texture and is inspired by the purity of the Neo-Classical form and light gestures from which the musical phrases are shaped. It is here that the compositional techniques come closest to real Classicism, in particular, the means of expression employed by Joseph Haydn, who is thus an essential part of our programme as well,” they state, pointing to the intriguing associations emerging from their choice of works. “In the same way that Martinů has the greatest respect for music of past eras and openly adopts Classical approaches, Haydn was not afraid to acknowledge his love for Baroque opera and, in the free movement, presents us with a surprising musical drama, by turns both charming and stirring!”
Pianist Karel Košárek has been involved in the music of Bohuslav Martinů for many years, a fact also reflected in a whole series of recordings. The most recent release for the Supraphon label contains several of the composer’s works recorded as world premieres. Košárek takes on the important piano part in Martinů’s Fantasia, and performs solo in the latter’s picturesque Butterflies and Birds of Paradise.
The piece by Jakub Rataj was commissioned by the Prague Spring Festival, funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.