The Brno Philharmonic to Stream Online. National Premiere of a Work by Philip Glass

22 March 2021, 2:00
The Brno Philharmonic to Stream Online. National Premiere of a Work by Philip Glass

The Brno Philharmonic is preparing another performance for streaming online. Two symphonies are scheduled – by Johannes Brahms and Philip Glass. The composers’ respective Symphony No. 2 have been chosen, making it the Czech premiere of the piece by Glass. The concert – to be streamed live from the Community Hall (Besední dům) venue – will be conducted by chief conductor Dennis Russell Davies, who shall also interview Philip Glass during the interval.

“Despite the obvious visual appeal of the same symphony numbers appearing on the programme and poster, linking the two was informed by a more profound artistic intention. Both composers were determined to proceed from their first symphonies at their relevant time of maturity – 45 years for Brahms, 35 years for Glass – to freeing themselves from the influences of others (for Brahms it was Beethoven, and David Bowie for Glass) in their second symphonies, once and for all, thereby forging completely original pieces“, commented the dramaturge of the Brno Philharmonic, Vítězslav Mikeš.

Most of the orchestra shall get together after nearly six weeks. “Of course, everything is in compliance with all the regulations that are increasingly stringent. But even so, our desire to perform wins out. On the other hand, we don’t think it makes sense to stream just anything live, so we’re choosing worthwhile projects, the sort we view as key for the entire season. Yet we’ll have to leave out some works, for example those with choral sections“, said Brno Philharmonic’s Director General Marie Kučerová.

The online concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. on 15 April 2021. You can watch it here or on Brno Philharmonics FB / YT channel. During the interval, the audience can look forward to an interview with Phil Glass by Chief Conductor Dennis Russell Davies. “We’ve been cooperating for about forty years, all-in-all. It started out with me as general musical director at the Stuttgart State Opera, when I was conducting an amazing new staging of his early operas, Satyagraha and Akhnaten, continuing in New York, where I set about conducting the premieres of his First Violin Concert, the Low symphony and other orchestral and chamber pieces. Before he penned Symphony 2, we became close friends (and also fathers), with a very similar outlook on music and life in general“, said Davies. Glass dedicated his Symphony No. 2 to the Brooklyn Philharmonic and to Davies alone, since they premiered it on 15 October 1994.

Symphony No. 2 was an important milestone in Glass’ creative life, as it was his final commitment to following the tradition of symphonies, albeit exclusively with his own rhythmic and melodic leanings. “I conducted Symphony 2 several times in the 1990s, but haven’t done since then, so I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to taking up the challenge once again, all the more so as it will be with the Brno Philharmonic“, adds Davies.

Brahms ‘Symphony No. 2, which is to start the event, was created about a year after Symphony No. 1. It debuted on 30 December 1877 in Vienna, under Hans Richter. In January of the following year, it was conducted by the author himself in the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, and a month later in Amsterdam and the Hague.

Photograph: Andreas Bitesnich

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