Romantic Bartók with “Morava” at Mikulov Castle

14 June 2022, 19:00
Romantic Bartók with “Morava” at Mikulov Castle

After the first successful concert of the Concentus Moraviae festival’s resident ensemble at the castle in Slavkov, the ensemble led by violinist Pavel Fischer expanded to include pianist Katya Apekisheva and on Sunday, 12 June, in the Great Hall of Mikulov Castle, presented an unknown face of the musical language of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók with his Piano Quintet in C Major. Along with Fischer and Apekisheva, the concert also featured violinist Markéta Janoušková, violist Diede Verpoest, and cellist Erich Oskar Hütter.

The program opened with one of Bartók’s most popular works for solo piano – the approximately two and a half minute Allegro Barbaro. Katya Apekisheva did not dwell on the work too much and almost as soon as she sat down, she launched into succinct chordal confessions with clear and crisp accents. There was some excellent work with dynamics in softening the music and thinning out the rate (while expanding the rhythmic aspect) about halfway through the piece. Here the soloist worked particularly well with the strong accents and sudden dynamic peaks, resulting in a moving and musical performance.

After an energetic opening piece, the concert’s drama continued with movements from Molto adagio and Allegro from violinist and resident ensemble leader Pavel Fischer’s String Quartet No. 1 “Morava”. The Molto adagio brings out the dark tremolo of Erich Oskar Hütter’s cello, which is contrasted here with the calmly flowing middle voices of the second violin (Markéta Janoušková) and viola (Diede Verpoest), but above all with the harmonics of the first violin performed by the composer himself. Fischer’s tone was delicate, intonationally flawless, and above all completely stable without the slightest fluctuations that would have detracted from the musical effectiveness of the aforementioned harmonics. More and more driving fragments of melodic lines based on folk music emerge from the calmly stretching musical surface. The dynamic contrasts and the sudden short crescendos and decrescendos of the ensemble were also excellent. The Allegro that followed is already reminiscent of dulcimer music in an unmistakable way, not only in its melodicism but also in its characteristic form of embellishment and fast figurations. This does not mean, however, that the “artifice” aspect of the movement completely disappeared; I would say even the opposite – the symbiosis of classical and folk music techniques is extremely successful here, and the musical result is better and more interesting than the sum of the two parts all thanks to composer and violinist Pavel Fischer’s deep experience with these musical traditions. Moreover, the ensemble’s musical staging managed to bring out this inherent liveliness appropriately and, for example, the accents in Diedo Verpoest’s viola were “folkish” in the best sense of the word, giving the movement the motion it needed.

The centrepiece of the evening was Bartók’s Piano Quintet in C Major, in which soloist Katya Apekisheva and the string quartet joined forces, this time with Markéta Janoušková as first violin and Pavel Fischer as second violin. The Piano Quintet in C Major is not a work that the listener is likely to immediately associate with Bartók’s name – a sweeping late Romantic melodicism that would find many points of contact with the works of Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák or, to a large extent, Richard Strauss, rather than with the modernists among whom we now attribute it. The opening Andante, however, already makes it clear that although this is not yet Bartók’s signature work, his precise motivic work and his sense of handling of meter and rhythm are already present. Although the movement titles – Andante is followed by Vivace (Scherzando), Adagio and Poco a poco più vivace – suggest a fairly clear tempo framework, Bartók changes tempo several times within the movements. In the performance by the Concentus Moraviae Festival Ensemble-in-Residence, these changes have been captured in a way that is as natural and appropriate to the musical flow as possible. At the same time, it should be emphasised that the whole ensemble maintained rhythmic homogeneity during these changes. The performers should also be commended for the variety of dynamic shades, especially in the final Poco a poco più vivace. Pianist Katya Apekisheva showed excellent understanding in her interpretation of the characteristically different parts of each movement, and the contrasts in her staging appropriately accentuated the sense of compositional variety in Bartók’s work. She also deserves enormous praise for her flawless handling of the not always ideal reversed notes, which the soloist herself had to reverse several times. It should be stressed that these were virtually always fast-paced musical passages, which in themselves are reason enough for a dizzying heartbeat – turning the pages of notes too soon in such a situation certainly does not make the performance any easier for anyone.

The second concert of the Concentus Moraviae festival’s resident ensemble followed on from the successful evening at the Slavkov castle and brought a not very often performed work by one of the most original composers of the 20th century. Although it was a largely eclectic composition, its musical qualities cannot be denied, and although Bartók himself wanted to destroy the Piano Quintet in C Major, it is good that it appears now and then on concert programs, for it shows us a young and gifted composer who is still searching for his musical language, the seeds of which, however, are already slowly but surely “being born beneath his hands”. And it is this perspective that, in my opinion, adds even more beauty to the artist’s work.

Katya Apekisheva / piano

Pavel Fischer / violin, artistic director

Markéta Janoušková / violin

Diede Verpoest / viola

Erich Oskar Hütter / cello

Program:

Béla Bartók: Allegro barbaro BB 63 (Sz. 49)

Pavel Fischer: Morava Quartet (2 movements)

Béla Bartók: Piano Quintet in C major BB 33 (Sz. 23)

Mikulov, Castle, Great Hall

19 June 2022, 19:30

Comments

Reply

No comment added yet..

As part of the Ibérica Festival, Catalan singer-songwriter Magalí Sare performed with guitarist Sebastià Gris from Mallorca on 17 June 2022 in Brno. The following interview was conducted immediately after the concert.  more

Last year they were the stars of Brasil Fest Brno. This year they will be welcomed to Náměšt’ nad Oslavou, where they will perform on 25 July at the Folk Holidays as part of an evening called Poetry in Every Song. In the meantime, they have played at the WOMEX world music fair in Portugal and the sold-out spring festival Budapest Ritmo. Above all, they were awarded the prestigious prize of Songlines magazine, today’s most respected periodical in world music. They call themselves Ayom, and alongside Brazilian singer Jabu Morales, they are made up of musicians from Angola, Greece, and Italy. Our questions were answered by accordionist and composer Alberto Becucci, guitarist Pedro Bastos João, and of course the charismatic singer and drummer.  more

On Friday, 29 July, at the Folk Holidays in Náměšt’ nad Oslavou, the group L’Alba from Corsica will perform, combining traditional Mediterranean polyphony with the music of many nations, not only from southern Europe. Its album A Principiu, released last March, was voted by the World Music Charts Europe jury as the sixth best album from around the world in 2021. guitarist and vocalist Ghjuvanfrancescu Mattei answers our questions on behalf of L’Alba.  more

This year’s 27th edition of the Concentus Moraviae Festival is history after almost a month of music. The gala closing concert at the Zlín Congress Centre presented a program of songs by Ernest Chausson, Igor Stravinsky, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss, Leoš Janáček and Antonín Dvořák. Magdalena Kožená, mezzo-soprano and patron of the show, performed as a soloist. She was joined by pianist and conductor Sir Simon Rattle, flutist and this year’s Artist in Residence Kaspar Zehnder, violinist Giovanni Guzzo, violinist Rahel Maria Rilling, violist Amihai Grosz, cellist Dávid Adorján, and clarinettist Christopher Richards. Dvořák’s songs were specially arranged for this ensemble by the English composer and conductor Duncan Ward.  more

This year's 27th edition of the Concentus Moraviae Music Festival is slowly coming to a grand finale as a joint concert by flutist and artist in residence Kaspar Zehnder, mezzo-soprano and patron of the festival Magdalena Kožená, and her husband, pianist and conductor Sir Simon Rattle. On Friday 24 June, at one of the last concerts of the culminating festival, artist-in-residence Kaspar Zehnder, together with his friends Giovanni Guzzo (violin), Rahel Maria Rilling (violin), Amihai Grosz (viola), Dávid Adorján (cello), Wolfgang Klinser (clarinet), and Anaïs Gaudemard (harp), prepared the dramaturgy of Friday's chamber concert in the library of the Náměšť Castle.  more

Nikol Bóková, a native of Ostrava, has long been considered a unique talent in the field of classical music. At the age of nine, she played as a solo pianist with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, and studying at the conservatory and then at the JAMU was a matter of course. But already during her studies of classical music, another of her talents, that of composition, took shape and gradually manifested itself. Together with her trio (Nikol Bóková-piano, Martin Kocián-contrabass, Michal Wierzgoń-drums), she recorded her debut album Inner Place in 2019 and immediately established herself among the Czech (and indeed European) jazz elite. Two more projects followed during the cover – Unravel (2020) for the same named line-up and last year’s Prometheus, recorded with extraordinary commitment by a remarkable studio line-up. Out of this and several subsequent concerts (among others during JazzFest Brno last autumn) crystallized also the quite logical expansion of her trio with the versatile and empathetic guitarist David Dorůžka, the Nikol Bóková Quartet. This line-up was also the birthplace of the latest album Elements, with which a new creative phase opens for Nikol and her partner and co-creator Jan Vala.  more

On 22 June, the Ensemble Opera Diversa visited the atrium of the Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University on Arne Novák Street with the program Dances in the Gardens, which continued the series of outdoor projects started last year. Bassoonist Pavel Horák and marimba player Martin Švec performed as soloists. The concert was conducted by conductor Patrik Červák, who stood in front of the Ensemble Opera Diversa string orchestra for the very first time.  more

The abbey in old Brno where Gregor Johann Mendel worked until his death hides several beautiful areas behind its walls. One of them is the Paradise Court, which is entered through an inconspicuous entrance next to the Basilica of the Assumption. On Thursday 16 June, the stone walls of this ancient space hosted the opening concert of the Brno and its churches project.  more

On Friday 17 June, Catalan singer-songwriter Magalí Sare will perform in Brno as part of the Ibérica festival. Her current album Eponja reached number six on the prestigious World Music Charts Europe in June 2022, compiled by 45 European radio publicists from albums around the world. As an invitation to the concert, we bring you a review of this album.  more

After the first successful concert of the Concentus Moraviae festival’s resident ensemble at the castle in Slavkov, the ensemble led by violinist Pavel Fischer expanded to include pianist Katya Apekisheva and on Sunday, 12 June, in the Great Hall of Mikulov Castle, presented an unknown face of the musical language of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók with his Piano Quintet in C Major. Along with Fischer and Apekisheva, the concert also featured violinist Markéta Janoušková, violist Diede Verpoest, and cellist Erich Oskar Hüttermore

Last year’s 100th anniversary of Gustav Brom’s birth still resonates on the domestic jazz scene. At the very end of 2021, a 4-CD set entitled “Gustav Brom – 100 Years” was released, offering a cross-section of the orchestra’s repertoire, from songwriting to jazz to intersections with contemporary classical music. Alongside this, an album charting the Brom Orchestra’s long-standing collaboration with Karel Velebný has also appeared on the same label (Indies Happy Trails). Radio editor, jazz musician, and teacher Jan Dalecký was one of the producers of both albums.  more

In its twenty-seven years of existence, the Concentus Moraviae International Music Festival has been held in a number of unusual and unique places. Sunday's program Homo Sapiens – The Story of Rhythm in Velké Meziříčí has the potential to be one of the most memorable concerts of the festival. On June 5, OK Percussion Duo musicians Martin Opršál and Martin Kleibl, together with guests and students Tomáš Javora and Kryštof Vašíček performed in the normally inaccessible premises of the New Synagogue, which has served as a center of affordable shopping for years. The concert was held in cooperation with the European Festival of Philosophy, the Jewish Community of Brno, and the town of Velké Meziříčí. At the same time, it was part of the project From the Shopping Center to the Cultural Communitymore

This year’s 27th edition of the international music festival Concentus Moraviae is still at the beginning of its almost month-long program, yet in terms of dramaturgy it is not holding back at all. After the opening featuring Argentinian and Uruguayan tango in Boskovice and Balkan music in Ivančice, the festival brought the Arcadia String Quartet to the atrium of the town hall in Kyjov on Thursday 2 June, where they performed the String Octet in C Major by Romanian composer George Enescu together with their friends from the Transylvanian Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to the members of the quartet (violinists Ana TörökRăsvan Dumitru, violist Traian Boală and cellist Zsolt Török), there were also violinists Vlad RăceuValentin Șerban, violist Mihai Oșvat and cellist Ștefan Cazacu. The concert was held under the auspices of the Ambassador of Romania to the Czech Republic, H.E. Antoaneta Barta.  more

We met violinist Pavel Fischer at the Budějovická metro station in Prague, and on the way to the Dobeška Theater we managed to discuss his holiday in Italy. At the time, we were already working out the subtitle of this year's Concentus Moraviae festival “From Roots to the Future”. Next to Dobeška, where the Sklep Theater plays, is what we call the “woodshed”, where the Škampa Quartet has been rehearsing for thirty-five years. Pavel Fischer was a founding member of the ensemble which he left at a time when it was enjoying one international success after another. As he says, he was attracted by greater musical freedom and a quieter life. At Dobeška, after our interview, he had a concert with cellist Olin Nejezchleba and guitarist Norbi Kovács. We started with him, although our main topic was Fischer's residency at this year's Concentus Moraviae.  more

Another in a series of themed “anniversary” orchestral concepts by Jiří Kotača for his big band, this one commemorates the centenary of the birth of Canadian-American jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, and above all, genius arranger Gil Evans and his successful collaboration with legendary trumpeter Miles Davis in the late 1950s.  more

Editorial

As part of the bicentenary celebrations of Gregor Mendel’s birth in July, the Brno Contemporary Orchestra will also join in the congratulations. On Wednesday at St. Augustine’s Church, the orchestra will play several pieces by composers whose initials of their names have been transformed into a secret cipher. The concert will be conducted by Pavel Šnajdr.  more

The Olomouc Baroque Festival will offer a program full of music from the Baroque to early Romantic. It includes 11 unique projects that will take place throughout Olomouc. The festival will also visit the pilgrimage church in Dub nad Moravou. The festival’s resident ensemble this year is the Volantes Orchestra. Musica Figuralis, Societas Incognitorum, Musica Florea, Arte dei Suonatori, and others will also perform.  more

Tomorrow, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra is already looking forward to an extraordinary concert – both in terms of its program and the many ways it can reach the audience. As part of the Mendel 2022 festival, the orchestra will play Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass and, in a world premiere, present a piece that Armenian composer Tigran Mansuryan composed on commission for the Philharmonic and the festival. Mansurjan will be present in person for the first performance of his work entitled Orhnerg – Navapet Bari (Hymn – The Good Captain).  more

The Brno Ensemble Opera Diversa will perform two chamber operas by Miloš Štědron this afternoon. Magnum mysterium will be performed in its world premiere, and Palackého truchlivý konec will be performed in a revival (it was premiered in 2013). The ensemble will perform both works in the Old Brno Monastery on Mendel Square as part of the Mendel 2022 Festival. The performance will be directed by Gabriela Tardonová.  more

The Brno part of the international art workshop festival will take place in the Vice-Governor’s Palace and Villa Löw-Beer. The motto of this year’s edition is “Coming closer to yourself and others through the art of perception”.  more

The Vaňkovka Fest is a multi-genre festival that traditionally takes place in the former crane track between the Vaňkovka Gallery and Fait Gallery. The summer festival this year attracts concerts by artists such as Lenka Dusilová featuring Květy, Mucha, Budoár staré dámy, and Dan Bárta and Illustratosphere. There will also be an evening of stand-up comedy.  more

The Mendel22 Festival will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Gregor Mendel’s birth. And since music was important for Abbot Mendel himself, and for the entire Augustinian Order, it will also play a crucial role in the festival program. Music will be performed in several places that are inextricably linked to Mendel and the Augustinians in Brno. The Brno Contemporary Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir under the direction of chief conductor Dennis Russell Davies, Ensemble Opera Diversa and Musica Figuralis will all perform. The festival will also include the premiere of Mendel’s opera Magnum Mystérium by Miloš Štědroň.  more

The I. V. Psota Ballet School is opening registration for children’s courses for the school year 2022/2023. Talent tests will cover all the ballet school’s courses for children and will take place in early September 2022.  more

Guitarist David Dorůžka, Polish pianist Piotr Wyleżoł, and American drummer Jeff Ballard have known each other for years, but it wasn’t until last spring that they came together for the first time to record a new album. The band’s sound relies primarily on analogue electronic instruments, simple melodies, and complex grooves. The album launch, entitled Andromeda’s Mystery, will take place at the Husa na provázku Theater in Brno at the Syncopation Festival.  more

The Znojmo Music Festival has more than thirty concerts and accompanying events on its program, and this year it takes place for the eighteenth time. This year’s edition, subtitled Guardian Angels and Homecomings, will take place at various locations in Znojmo and in its surroundings – in the countryside and in castles and churches. The festival will present the premiere of a stage production of Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Return of Tobias in its own production. Adam Plachetka will perform the title role.  more