Easter Festival of Sacred Music: World Première of a Composition by Toivo Tulev and Bach’s Easter Oratorio

7 March 2019, 1:00
Easter Festival of Sacred Music: World Première of a Composition by Toivo Tulev and Bach’s Easter Oratorio

The Easter Festival of Sacred Music 2019 will again resound in Brno‘s churches. There will be, for example, the world première of a composition by Toivo Tulev, Gregorian chant, Byzantine passion, a symphony for solo violin, organ concerts, dark hours, festive Renaissance Rome or Bach's Easter Oratorio. The theme of this year's season Ceremony / It's Good to Praise the Lord; the programme consists of six concerts and three dark hours.

The first evening of the festival will bring the world première of a composition by Estonian author Toivo Tulev. His work, named So Shall He Descend, was composed on the commission  of the festival – directly for the Brno cathedral and for Palm Sunday. "Tulev is well acquainted with the historical musical styles including the Gregorian chant, which he likes to refer to in his work, but he is not a stranger to the rock music either. He is very often inspired by the events of the Holy Week, "said the festival dramaturge Vladimír Maňas. At the beginning of the opening concert we will here Passion Meditations performed by Schola Gregoriana Pragensis. "Toivo Tulev and David Eben have known each other for many years, the première and the Gregorian chant will closely intersect this time on the threshold of the Holy Week. Therefore, it is not a random or heterogeneous connection, on the contrary," Maňas emphasized. The opening concert, featuring  in addition to the Brno Philharmonic  also the Ars Brunensis vocal choir, will be conducted by the chief conductor of the orchestra Dennis Russell Davies.

On the second day, the action will move from the Petrov Cathedral to the St. Joseph Church. There, the audience will be introduced to the Orthodox repertoire of the Holy Week during Byzantine Passion. A completely different experience will be offered on Tuesday by Franz Gregor Emmert's symphony for solo violin entitled Ajhľa člověk! [Behold the Man!]. The violin solo will be performed by Milan Paľa.

Spectators will be taken to the Easter Renaissance Rome thanks to the top Spanish ensemble La Grande Chapelle. In the Czech première, it will present its programme named Easter Procession in Piazza Navona. A chamber choir and an ensemble of historical instruments will make the St. James Church sound with almost two dozen compositions from the second half of the 16th century.

Lovers of organ should not miss a concert by Michael Bártek, a talented native of Brno, now active in Switzerland. "In the Basilica of Old Brno he will use both organ instruments; it is a rare opportunity to listen to romantic repertoire in his rendition," Maňas pointed out. The festival will be then closed by Bach‘s Easter Oratorio performed by Czech Ensemble Baroque. The Bach‘s Easter programme with soloists and a choir will be heard in Brno for the first time ever in learned interpretation.

In addition to six concerts, there are traditionally prepared three tenebrae, i.e. dark hours. Candlelight evenings, which start in the church in Jesuitská Street always at nine o'clock p.m., this year represent three completely different forms of sacred music. They will be opened with an organ recital by Hans Ole Ericsson with Bach's Passion Chants and compositions by Olivier Messiaen. The Baroque Orchestra of the Prague Conservatoire will bring Good Friday Oratorio by Josef Schreier. And for the third evening in a row, i.e. on Good Friday, a Concerto for Choir by Alfred Schnittke is prepared, bringing together four Brno‘s choirs under the baton of Jan Ocetek.

The Easter Festival of Sacred Music will be held from 14 to 28 April 2019. Tickets for six concerts are available in the box office of the Brno Philharmonic.

Festival Programme:






Nova et vetera

14 April  Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, 19:00

Passion Meditations

Gregorian Chant in Holy Week Liturgy

Toivo Tulev: So Shall He Descend (world première of a composition commissioned by the festival)

Schola Gregoriana Pragensis:

Hasan El-Dunia, Ondřej Holub, Jan Kukal, Ondřej Maňour, Ondřej Múčka, Stanislav Předota, Michal Medek, artistic leader David Eben

soloists Ivana Rusko – soprano, Bettina Schneebeli – mezzosoprano, Jaroslav Březina – tenor, Jiří Hájek – baritone

Ars Brunensis, choirmaster Dan Kalousek

Brno Philharmonic, conductor Dennis Russell Davies


Byzantine Passion

15 April  Church of St. Joseph, 19:00

Orhodox Reperoire of the Holy Week

Philokallia (Prague), artistic leader Marios Christou


Ecce homo

16 April  Church of St. Joseph, 19:00

František Gregor Emmert: Ajhľa človek, a symphony for violin  solo

Milan Paľa – violin

tenebrae: Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, Jezuitská Street, always at 21:00


Jenž jsi na nebesích [Thou Who Art in Heaven]

17 April  Organ recital by Hans Ole Ericsson

Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude in B minor BWV 544:1

Johann Sebastian Bach: Piano Exercises III, Nos. 1, 2 and 3

Johann Sebastian Bach: O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross BWV 622

Georg Muffat: Passacaglia in G minor

Pēteris Vasks: Te Deum

Dietrich Buxtehude: Prelude in F-sharp minor  BuxWV 146

Johann Sebastian Bach: Vater unser im Himmelreich BWV 682

Johann Sebastian Bach: Fugue in B minor  BWV 544:2

Hans-Ole Ericsson (SWE) – organ


Tvá vůle staň se [Thy Will Be Done]

18 April

Josef Schreier: Oratorio on Good Friday

soloists Anna Petrtylová – canto (Angel), Monika Machovičová – alto (Lord’s Mercy),

Marek Žihla – tenor (Sinner), David Malát – bass (Justice)

Baroque Orchestra of the Prague Conservatoire, conductor  Jakub Kydlíček


Světlo beze stínu, pramen pokoje [Light without Shade, Fountain of Peace]

19 April

Alfred Schnittke: Concerto for Choir

Vox Iuvenalis, Masaryk University Choir, Láska opravdivá Choir, Kantiléna Mixed Choir,

conductor Jan Ocetek


Spanish Easter in Renaissance Rome

23 April  St. James Church, 20:00

Easter Celebrations in Piazza Navona

(Tomás Luis de Victoria, Francisco Guerrero, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and others)

La Grande Chapelle (ESP), artistic leader Albert Recasens


Radost a zář [Joy and Shine]

25 April  Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady in Old Brno, 19:30

Easter organ concert by Michaela Bártek

Jean-François Dandrieu: Offertoire pour le jour de pâques „O filii et filiæ“

Marcel Dupré: Cortège et litanie op. 19 no. 2

César Franck: Prière, op. 20

Richard Wagner: Karfreitagszauber from the opera Parsifal WWV 111, arr. Michael Bártek

Olivier Messiaen: La résurrection du Christ

Olivier Messiaen: Joie et clarté des corps glorieux

Jiří Ropek: Variations on „Victimae paschali laudes“

Michael Bártek – organ (CH)

Brány pekla prolomeny [Gates of Hell Broken]

28 April  Besední dům, 19:30

Johann Sebastian Bach: Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden BWV 230

Johann Sebastian Bach: Easter Oratorio in D major BWV 249

soloists Pavla Radostová – soprano, Monika Jägerová – alt, Jakub Kubín – tenor, Jiří M. Procházka – bass,

Luise Haugk – baroque oboe

Czech Ensemble Baroque, conductor Roman Válek

Dennis Russell Davies/ photo by Brno Philharmonic 



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