15/05/24, 19:00

Time cannot be stopped... After more than four decades, the Brno Philharmonic is saying goodbye to its distinctive personality – Emil Drápela, the first clarinetist and leader of the clarinet group. At his farewell concert, he will perform with the ensemble Sonata a tre, which he co-founded in 1992 and with which he achieved a number of significant artistic successes.

JOSEPH HAYDN Trio No. 3 in B flat major Hob.IV: B 1
BÉLA BARTÓK Contrasts Sz. 111
Sonata a tre:
Marie Petříková violin
Emil Drápela clarinet
Dana Drápelová piano

Emil Drápela has been working at the Brno Philharmonic for forty-one years as the first clarinetist, seventeen of them as group leader. A graduate of the Brno Conservatory and JAMU combines the profession of first player with soloist activities and playing in several chamber ensembles. He recorded around two hundred and fifty pieces of the clarinet repertoire for the Czech Radio, along with dozens of others on CD. He also premiered and recorded a number of compositions by contemporary authors, Czech and foreign, many of which were dedicated to him. On the radio service website. cz you can download Drápel's recordings of twenty classical and romantic concertos for clarinet, mostly his own spartations. He is the author of the book of feuilletons How to Live in an Orchestra - frivolous feuilletons about serious music.
Emile, how were your beginnings in the Brno Philharmonic?
I was thrown into the water and had to swim. I vividly remember the first time I played the first clarinet. It was in November 1981 as a stand-in and it was Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10, a very exposed and technically demanding part. They called me on Saturday evening, on Monday the first rehearsal with the conductor Khachaturyan was already. The archivist, Mr. Josef Žvachta, went to the archive for me and handed me the sheet music there late in the evening. I then practiced it all Sunday and on Monday morning I went to the test. This symphony opens with a grand clarinet solo that emerges from the silence of string pizzicatos. I will never forget the faces of the members of the Philharmonic who all turned to me when I launched.
Which moments of your time at FB do you remember the most?
Great experiences certainly include roaring full halls, the truly top-notch, three-thousand-capacity ones, such as those in Japan. When all your solos are successful and the conductor "raises" you during the thanksgiving, you stand up and the applause thunders in your ears, you see smiling people. For this moment, it is worth living and playing in the Philharmonic. But I am always happiest when we return home from the tour in good health and I finally see my loved ones from the bus waiting for me at the Besední dom. Dad - or now grandpa - what did he bring me?
What guided you when composing your farewell program?
There will be more of those farewell concerts. For example, in the Association of Friends of Music, I will say goodbye to the stage with Mozart's clarinet quintet on May 7, 2024, in collaboration with the Wallinger Quartet. I have played this beautiful music all over the world and this time I will enjoy it for the ninety-ninth time. I don't mind at all that the number of my performances of Mozart will not reach the desired hundred. For today's concert, we have chosen the compositions that we like to play the most - for example, the bravura Suite by Aruťunjan and Bartók's Contrasts, the parts of which are more concert than chamber music.
Will you go to the Philharmonic to help? Will we see you in the audience at concerts?
I am determined to put the clarinet in its case and stop playing altogether. When you play the first instrument in an orchestra, you always go full speed. The idea that in retirement you will occasionally come to play for fun to help out is utopian. I would have to practice a lot and for a long time beforehand. I will continue to teach and I definitely want to be a regular visitor to philharmonic concerts. I would also like to collaborate more with the Philharmonic as the author of program texts, just as I have been doing for years in Prague. I really enjoy writing, and most importantly - I don't have to practice for hours!