The Brno Philharmonic is preparing a double premiere. It will perform a composition by Kurt Schwertsik in his presence

29 September 2020, 1:00
The Brno Philharmonic is preparing a double premiere. It will perform a composition by Kurt Schwertsik in his presence

The Brno Philharmonic is preparing one global and one Czech premiere for this week. However, there will be one change to the programme: as opposed to the original one, Mozart's Symphony No. 32 in G major will be played instead of the previously announced composition Angels of Sorrow by Giya Kancheli. Furthermore, works of Josef Haydn and Kurt Schwertsik will be featured; the latter will attend this premiere in person.

"We changed the programme for precautionary reasons. For us, the health of listeners and musicians is paramount. We will move Kancheli's composition to the following season in agreement with the chief conductor and also with the choirmaster of Kantiléna," said director of the Brno Philharmonic Marie Kučerová. In addition to the aforementioned Mozart's Symphony, Haydn's Symphony No. 49 in F minor "La passione" will also be played. And the second half of the evening will feature the Schrumpf-Symphonie (Shrunken Symphony) by the contemporary composer Kurt Schwertsik, who will be present at the concert in person. "The shrinkage of the symphony had pragmatic reasons when it was written – the shrunken budget of the client for the composition. The result, however, is a playfully serious contribution to the discussion about the direction of the symphony as a genre and form nowadays, "commented the dramaturge Vítězslav Mikeš on the composition dating back to 1999.

Kurt Schwertsik, who celebrated his 85th birthday this year, is one of Austria's leading composers, accompanied in recent decades by a reputation as a mercurial figure of Viennese musical life. He has a long-standing artistic and friendly relationship with the chief conductor of the Brno Philharmonic, Dennis Russell Davies, who will conduct both evenings. The Shrunken Symphony will be heard in its Czech premiere. On the other hand, a reworked and extended version of the composition Herr K. entdeckt Amerika  (Mr K. Discovers America) , the original version of which was commissioned from Schwertsik and eventually premiered by the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg as part of a project to create a new repertoire for youth orchestras supported by professional ensembles. In this composition, Schwertsik was inspired by Franz Kafka's unfinished novel America. In 2009, Schwertsik composed a full-feature ballet named Kafka America, based on the same story, together with the choreographer Jochen Ulrich.

Dennis R. Davies and Kurt Schwertsik / photo by Reinhard Winkler

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