Polished Gemstones of Concentus Moraviae Festival

26 June 2019, 19:00
Polished Gemstones of Concentus Moraviae Festival

The twenty-fourth season  of the Concentus Moraviae international music festival came to an end after almost a month of rich musical experiences. Musical works, thematically labelled as the Concert of Nations, guided the festival visitors around thirteen picturesque Moravian towns and gave them a taste of key musical works of (not only) European nations. All this was moreover served in the interpretation of more than twenty world-famous ensembles. With the conscious transnational, cross-border concept overreaching the Czech border, the festival organizers chose the Golden Hall of the renowned Musikverein Concert House as a suitable venue for the closing evening. The extraordinary finals of the 24th season opened thus a series of Concerts of Czech-Austrian Partnership and at the same time announced  the celebration of the festival's quarter of a century to be celebrated next year. In accordance with this symbolic overture of the concert, the main star of the festival was the patron of the festival and famous singer Magdalena Kožená, accompanied by the no less famous Collegium 1704 orchestra led by Václav Luks.

The centrepiece of the evening was cantata. The dramaturgy went through Naples, Venice and Rome, and the artists presented tragic ancient inspirations of cantata works and the musical development of cantata itself. The programme consisted of works by Georg Friedrich Händel, Leonardo Leo, Benedetto Marcello and Leonardo Vinci. The concert was opened by Sinfonia from Handel's Agrippina. It was clear from the very first bars that the Collegium 1704 orchestra fully deserves its privileged position among the ensembles specializing in early music – absolute rhythmic unity, excellent and constantly living work with dynamics, measured but more effective decorations, and above all a clear expression idea of all the participating musicians. Václav Luks penetrated completely into the musical language not only of Händel, but also of all other composers. With grace and ease, he managed to highlight even the smallest but musically interesting moments and give them the space they deserve. It did not matter if an interesting motif in the bass sounded merely over two bars. The conductor and artistic director of the ensemble vigorously flicked his finger toward the continuo and suddenly all the space belonged to the bassoon or the double bass. In short, Luks searched for and discovered precious stones woven into the musical fabric and polished them very consciously. Most importantly, he was able to pass on this performing idea to the musicians. And that – judging from the quality of the show, which boasted almost studio recording quality – was a success. Praise is also deserved by the excellent intonation, expression and dynamics of the solo performance of violinist Ivan Iliev.

What could make this almost flawless evening even better? With the arrival of Magdalena Kožená. This mezzo-soprano singer performed in the cantatas Angelica e Medoro by Leonardo Leo, Arianna abbandonata by Benedetto Marcello and Ero e Leandro by Georg Friedrich Händel. The singer's soft but at the right moments dramatic and emotion-packed voice was excellently blending with the orchestra. The interpretative connection that the singer established with the conductor was similar to a spontaneous dance in which one perceives the other with their entire essence. The singer followed every tiny gesture of Luks' hand, which in the meantime jumped from one section to another so that the sound of the orchestra in conjunction with the singing was as organic as possible. Whether it was a long and lively coloratura, or a tender and fragile lyrical confession, the musicians and the singer were in close touch. The great means of expression that singer Magdalena Kožená enjoyed in the description of the joys and sorrows of love also deserve a great award. Even if you did not follow the text, her way of singing reflected all of the sudden happiness of a bewildered human soul fallen in love.

The final concert of the 24th season of the Concentus Moraviae international music festival was nothing more than a grandiose ending for an equally successful year. At the same time, the door was opened to a stronger musical collaboration with Austria, a country so close to us to both historically and geographically. In the years to come, we are likely to enjoy similar high-quality and artistically distinctive musical experiences. Nothing else remains but to look forward to the upcoming 25th festival season.

 

MAGDALENA KOŽENÁ / mezzo-soprano

COLLEGIUM 1704

VÁCLAV LUKS / artistic leader, conductor

 

Georg Friedrich Händel: Sinfonia "Agrippina"

Leonardo Leo: Cantata "Angelica e Medoro"

Benedetto Marcello: Cantata "Arianna abbandonata"

Leonardo Vinci: Sinfonia "Maria dolorata"

Georg Friedrich Händel: Cantata "Ero e Leandro"

Vienna, Musikverein, Golden Hall

Tuesday 25June 2019, 7 pm

 

Photo by Jiří Sláma

Comments

Reply

No comment added yet..

Yesterday evening at the piazzetta of the Janáček Theatre was marked by a concert to commence the 2019/2020 season of the National Theatre Brno (NdB). Promotion of the event ensured the most important thing for this music evening – hundreds of spectators who filled up the whole place. We should not forget the really wide age range, which is so much needed for future culture, especially at its lower limit (still in strollers).     more

Only rarely one single song is the main topic for an interview. In the case of the cellist Josef Klíč, the concert master of the National Theatre in Brno, this was offered. It does not happen every day that a  Czech composer and his song reach the finals of a worldwide competition. However, there were more reasons for our talk – memories of the late Jaroslav Erik Frič, Josef's contract at the Janáček Theatre and the upcoming new album.  more

For the opening concert of the 20th anniversary season of the Špilberk Festival yesterday, the Brno Philharmonic chose a dramaturgy consisting of proven as well as lesser-known pieces. The subtitle Romantic Carnival immersed all evening in the carnival spirit associated with celebrations before the carnival opening. The aim of the programme was to characterize the period of merriment, celebrations and masks by compositions that tell with their mood about this period of the year. The almost full-up castle courtyard had the opportunity to enjoy an unpretentious and appealing programme, which also with its lower temperature more easily approached that cold carnival period.       more

As a UNESCO-listed city of music, Brno has had four festival days full of music and dance. Tens of concerts and performances with hundreds of performers took place at twenty-two music venues. Music in the streets sounded on every corner, but most attention this year was attracted by four rooms by the artist Kateřina Šedá, in which artists of different genres and nationalities took turns. Another attraction was the performances of the British Motionhouse and No Fit State Circus, who repeatedly enchanted the Náměstí Svobody Square with their acrobatic pieces and breathtaking performances. Two large stages were also set up – Dominik Stage on Dominikánské Square and Django Stage on Malinovského Square, on which appeared artists such as Jana Kirschner, Monika Bagárová, minus123minutes or Jan P. Muchow & The Antagonists. Traditionally, the festival was accompanied by the sound of barrel organs whose players met in Brno as part of their 10th international meeting. This year, singer and multi-instrumentalist Tinatin Tsereteli (Hannover) and violinist Nicola Manzan (Bologna) as artists from UNESCO partner cities of music also premiered at the Brno Music Marathon. The atmosphere of the festival is captured in the video below.  more

Folkové prázdniny [Folk Holidays] in Náměšť nad Oslavou is a festival standing out with its dramaturgy, structure and atmosphere. Every season has its own theme, every evening has its own theme, and even some individual performances have their own themes. The long-time programme director Michal Schmidt managed this year to excellently balance Czech premiéres and truly extraordinary projects with reappearances and sure bets. This year's theme of Folkové prázdniny was About the Soul; however, this week-long event has its soul every year.  more

The group Nebeztebe (a pun containing both "Not without You" and "Heaven from You) literally shone in the Brno scene a few years ago. The five-member line-up, with its marked rhythms, seemingly above styles, celebrated victory at Porta and headed for the giant multi-genre festivals. Under bandleader Štěpán Hulc seemingly the band went to sleep and only returned this year with a brand new, three-member line-up. The new Nebeztebe is made up of guitar, violin and mandolin and has not given up on taking a multi-genre approach. Once more they are giving concerts and are coming out with the concept album Zásobování duše (which might be translated as Supplying the Soul).  more

One of the musicians who will appear at Folkové prázdniny [Folk Holidays] in Náměšť nad Oslavou as part of a special programme called Harfy nad Oslavou [Harps upon Oslava], is the Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda. In Náměšť, he will also give a solo recital as part of an evening called O duši s lehkostí i naléhavostí [About Soul with Lightness and Urgency]. In our telephone conversation – we called him to New York where he lives – we talked to Edmar Castañeda, for example, about a harp specially constructed according to his requirements, or about his cooperation with the Czech singer Marta Töpferová.  more

The Olomouc Baroque Festival has begun. In the local Jesuit Convent the seventh year of the festival opened with the modern premiere of the serenata Il tribunale di Giove by the Austrian composer Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf. The work was first performed at the birthday celebrations for the Prussian King Frederick the Great on 27 January 1775 and after a repeat in Wroclaw in 1777 it fell into oblivion. The Ensemble Damian decided to reverse this unfortunate fate, and led by the ensemble’s artistic director and director Tomáš Hanzlík they attempted to revive the work. Appearing in the solo roles were Leandro Lafont (Fate and Apollo), Kristýna Vylíčilová (the Genius of Europe and Minerva), Lucie Kaňková (Time and Fortune), Monika Jägerová (Jupiter) and Jakub Rousek (Mars). The costumes and backdrops were designed by the director Hanzlík.  more

The Slunce [Sun] Festival in Strážnice will be held for the twentieth time this year. Especially lovers of folk music and classical big beat have  marked the dates of 12th and 13th July in their calendars. We talked to the director of the Slunce Festival Pavel Kopřiva about the history of the festival, its top moments and hardships, as well as what this year's festival season will be like.  more

The end of the first school-holiday week was carried in the spirit of celebrations. The 7th of July in fact falls on the birthday of Alena Veselá, a prominent Brno organist and a professor at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU), who celebrated an impressive age of 96 years on that day. The concert, organised particularly for this jubilee, was also the final event of the 39th Brno Organ Festival and as a celebration of the birthday of its founder (and now patron of the whole show), it already has a strong position in the festival programme.  more

We live in a free democratic society, in which the role of the state is to create the environment and conditions for the development of creativity and creative potential, being aware that today's living art creates cultural heritage for the future.  more

Last weekend, the 74th Strážnice International Folklore Festival 2019 as well as the 37th Strážnice Children's Folklore Festival were held in the South Moravian Mecca of folklore. The biggest folklore festival in the Czech Republic enjoys great interest and it wasn't  any different this year either, despite tropical temperatures, with tens of thousands of people coming back to Strážnice again.  more

On the 100th anniversary of the birth of poet Jiří Orten, the company ProArt prepared a multi-genre project called Ohnice – Where the Wind Is Dancing in the former Brno penitentiary on Cejl Street. The poetic production with verses of the young poet, which reflected his hard and short life, was premiered on 25 June.  more

The twenty-fourth season  of the Concentus Moraviae international music festival came to an end after almost a month of rich musical experiences. Musical works, thematically labelled as the Concert of Nations, guided the festival visitors around thirteen picturesque Moravian towns and gave them a taste of key musical works of (not only) European nations. All this was moreover served in the interpretation of more than twenty world-famous ensembles. With the conscious transnational, cross-border concept overreaching the Czech border, the festival organizers chose the Golden Hall of the renowned Musikverein Concert House as a suitable venue for the closing evening. The extraordinary finals of the 24th season opened thus a series of Concerts of Czech-Austrian Partnership and at the same time announced  the celebration of the festival's quarter of a century to be celebrated next year. In accordance with this symbolic overture of the concert, the main star of the festival was the patron of the festival and famous singer Magdalena Kožená, accompanied by the no less famous Collegium 1704 orchestra led by Václav Luks.  more

One of the biggest promises of the 24th Concentus Moraviae international festival was yesterday’s concert of the legendary Borodin Quartet, whose unique sound is the result not only of hard work but also collaboration with the composer Dmitri Shostakovich. This personal and interpretive trail still influences the group and is passed on to each new member. The programme took place in the library of the castle in Náměšť nad Oslavou , where in the 18th and 19th centuries it was the residence music-loving Haugwitz family. The music of Sergei Prokofiev, Joseph Haydn and Dmitri Shostakovich could be heard by the audience in a venue that was more than merely dignified.  more

Editorial

The motto of the 2019/20 operatic season is the Searching… Already the very first premiere is dedicated to the theme of the search for love. The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacque Offenbach are being prepared by the duo of directors SKUTR (which stands for Martin Kukučka and Lukáš Trpišovský). This opera returns to the stage of the Janáček Theatre after almost twenty years, this time in a musical production by Ondrej Olos. The main roles will be performed by soloists of Janáček Opera of the National Theatre Brno, and regular guests of the ensemble will also appear. The leading female roles will feature, for example,  Markéta Cukrová,  Slovak soprano Martina Masaryková, Pavla Vykopalová and Daniela Straková-Šedrlová. The male parts will be performed by Luciano Mastro and Mickael Spadaccinni, or, for example, Ondrej Mráz and Jiří Sulženko.   more

Bohuslav Martinů and composers related  with him and with France. Composers celebrating the jubilee as well as the Moravian Autumn festival. These are the main themes of this year's edition. The festival runs from late September to mid-October. It will open with Einstein on the Beach, a minimalist opera by Philip Glass, in which Suzanne Vega takes on the role of the narrator. The festival will culminate with two life anniversaries, celebrated by the chief conductor of the Brno Philharmonic, Dennis Russell Davies, and Hungarian conductor, composer and teacher Peter Eötvös.      more

The dance group Protyboty, together with the musician Eva Rohleder, will launch their album Slon a mravenec [Elephant and Ant]. The stage production of the same name for children is based on a book by Daisy Mrázková, accompanied by songs of Eva Rohleder, which are now captured on the upcoming album. A guest of the album release will be Jiří Jelínek.  more

Drummer Chris "Daddy" Dave will be another guest of the autumn echoes of JazzFestBrno. He will perform in the Sono Centre with his own band called Drumhedz, where he will present his works combining various genre influences from modern jazz to rock and R&B or hip-hop. Hiromi, Aaron Parks "Little Big" and Shai Maestro Trio will also appear during the autumn concert series.  more

Babylonfest is a parade of national and ethnic minorities living in the city of Brno. This year it enters its 12th season. Its programme will offer concerts, music-literary works and a pub quiz. For example, the folk ensemble Púčik, the Russian ensemble Matrjoška [Matryoshka], Německý pěvecký kroužek [The German Singing Club], the dance group Piroš rouža, the dance ensemble Prometheus and others will perform.  more

A concert cycle of Czech Ensemble Baroque entitled Bacha na Mozarta! [in Czech, this is a pun meaning both "Bach on Mozart!" and "Beware of Mozart!"] will open the season in Brno with the world première of Offertoria by Pavel Josef Vejvanovský. The first concert of the 8th season of this cycle will take place in the Church of St. Michael.   more

The Icelandic band GusGus will start the autumn season at Fléda. It will be followed by a concert of the Ukrainian rapper Alyona Alyona. New albums will be presented in Brno by Hooverphonic, Jan Blomqvist Band, De Staat, Movits! and Kadebostany. The highlight of the autumn dramaturgy will be a performance by Vitalic with their new project Kompromat.  more

Brno Radio will open an exhibition tomorrow to mark its 95th anniversary of regular broadcasting. The exhibition features the voices of Oldřich Nový, Karel Absolon and Jiří Mahen falling from a special sound shower. There will also be a radio receiver, which was made ninety years ago by Brno airport staff for their director. The exhibition starts today 6 September.  more

This year's Blues Rock Fest will feature as many as five music evenings at the Metro Music Bar in Brno. Matěj Ptaszek and Jan St. Johnny Stehlík, who together will present their new CD dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of the legendary Woodstock festival. Also featured will be Lord Bishop Rocks from the USA and Tom Jegr Gang, Julian Sas Band, Pump and Charlie The Bomber. The conclusion of the festival will belong to Hoochie Coochie Band, who will celebrate their quarter of a century on the music scene.  more

Ensemble Opera Diversa is preparing the second performance of the 25th symphony by the composer František Gregor Emmert in Brno. The programme, dedicated to contemporary sacred music, will complement this symphony with a selection of Emmert's Psalm Songs and an iconic composition for strings by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The soloists of the evening will be Jarmila Balážová, Milan Paľa and Marek Paľa, and the concert will be conducted by Marián Lejava.  more