Czech Music Every Day Events at Home and Abroad from the Beginning of December 2015 to the End of February 2016

By Vackova, Barbora | Czech Music, January 2016 | Go to article overview

Czech Music Every Day Events at Home and Abroad from the Beginning of December 2015 to the End of February 2016


Vackova, Barbora, Czech Music


In the winter, no contemporary music festivals or events of similar focus are held in the Czech Republic, with the majority of the domestic orchestras and ensembles mainly performing, particularly in December, well-known and popular classical repertoire works within Christmas programmes. Yet this winter, notable exceptions in this respect were the world premiere of Jan Vicar's Zitkovske bohyne (The Goddesses of Zitkova), a piece inspired by Katerina Tuckova's bestselling novel, given by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra in Olomouc, and the BERG Orchestra's concert at which they first performed Jana Vorosovas composition Slysis ty ptaky (You Hear the Birds). Standing out from among the traditionally conceived New Year's Eve concerts was that of the Brno Philharmonic, which marked the orchestra's 60th anniversary and which included the screening of a 1960s documentary about their tour of the United Kingdom, titled Cesta (The Journey), to new music created by Milos Stedron.

In the wake of the Christmas lull, in January and February, Czech orchestras performed several new works by Czech composers. The Prague Philharmonia premiered at the Rudolfinum Michal Nejtek's I Hear the Sky, the Prague Chamber Orchestra premiered Vladimir Franz's Prazske divertimento (Prague Divertimento), while the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra presented within a single concert three new pieces for string quartet and symphony orchestra--Martin Kumzak's Sroubovice (The Helix), Petr Wajsar's Ciganska ouvertura (The Gypsy Overture) and Jan Kucera's Zrozeni (The Birth), the latter of whom also conducted the whole crossover evening. Audiences in cities beyond Prague had the opportunity to hear the world premiere given by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra in Olomouc of Century Dance, Zdenek Merta's symphonic transcription of five 20th-century dances, while the Ensemble Opera Diversa, at a concert launching their debut CD, premiered in Brno Chamber Symphony No. 2 for oboe, piano, percussion and strings, written by their court composer Ondrej Kyas.

When it comes to Czech opera, an event of international significance was the world premiere of Miroslav Srnka's South Pole at the Bavarian State Opera (see the review in this issue of CMQ). Opera houses abroad have continued to show a keen interest in Leos Janacek's works, above all Jenufa and The Makropulos Affair. During the course of the winter, new productions of Janacek operas were premiered in Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Poland and Japan. A work that is not generally known is Viktor Ullmann's opera The Emperor of Atlantis, composed in 1943 and 1944 at the Terezin concentration camp, a new production of which was staged at the renowned Dresden Semperoper. Noteworthy in connection with Ullmann is the first international conference focused on the life and work of his contemporary Pavel Haas, which was held at Cardiff University.

We have good news for those who would like to read more about these and other major Czech music events--since January, the HIS blog, on whose contributions this summary has been based, has also been available in English. You can find it at http://blog.musica.cz/en. I would also like to point out that the blog is open to readers' tips and comments. So feel free to contact us by emailing his.blog@musica.cz.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

* 7 December, Czech Museum of Music, Prague. Jana Vorosova: Slysis ty ptaky (You Hear the Birds)--world premiere. BERG Orchestra, conductor: Peter Vrabel, video projection: Frances Sanders, Dima Berzon.

* 10 December, Reduta, Olomouc. Jan Vicar: Zitkovske bohyne (The Goddesses of Zitkova)--world premiere. Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, mezzo-soprano: Barbora Martinkova-Polaskova, conductor: Marek Stilec.

* 12 December, Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Otsu, Japan. Antonin Dvorak: Rusalka--premiere of a new production. Director: Keiichi Nakamura, conductor: Shuya Okatsu.

* 13 December, Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria. …

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