The Czech Ensemble Baroque invites you to watch a concert that will be streamed online from Besední dům. Händel’s oratorio will resound around the hall

16 February 2021, 1:00
The Czech Ensemble Baroque invites you to watch a concert that will be streamed online from Besední dům. Händel’s oratorio will resound around the hall

The Czech Ensemble Baroque is preparing for another live concert. This time, the Power of Music – the oratorio by Händel, one in which the author included all his theatre experience – can be watched from the comfort of your own home. Performed in English – with Czech subtitles available, the show will feature Markéta Böhmová, Jaroslav Březina and Jiří Miloslav Procházka as the key soloists.

When George Friedrich Händel arrived in London in 1710, the Italian opera was his main focus. For many years, his productions were well attended but gradually, as tastes began to change, his popularity with the public declined. Accordingly, Händel decided to regain the favour of the stiff English audience in the most direct way. In 1736, Newburgh Hamilton, a playwright and poet, encouraged Händel to set to music Alexander’s Feast, John Dryden’s famous poem, which the composer did, keeping the lyrics in English. “Händel added all his theatre-related experience to the original Purcell-like concept of his Ode for St. Cecilia’s  Day, making use, as much as possible, of the orchestral range of colours. He also avoided the risk of static description through surprising recitatives and orchestral colour, which corresponds to the poem’s title, the Power of Music,” as the conductor Roman Válek describes the composer’s approach. The live streaming of the concert will start at 7.30 p.m. on 17 February 2021. You can watch it on the YT channel of the ensemble.

Alexander’s Feast sings the celebration of Alexander the Great conquering Persia. Although the work highlights the power of the monarch, equally strong is the character of Timothy the Musician, who, through his artistic skills, prevails over the emotions of a powerful warrior to gradually reshape him with the power of music. The artist encourages Alexander to burn down the city of Persepolis in revenge for the murder of the Greeks. However, the story does not end with an ironic comparison of the power of a musician and the great strength of a conqueror. As the oratorio nears its end, Händel and Hamilton call upon St. Cecilia to help. While a humble servant may be strong, the best music always has more power to encourage and empower his listeners.

Georg Friedrich Händel: Alexander’s Feast, HWV75; the 5th concert within the series entitled Bacha na Mozarta! (translates as Bach & Mozart in Focus)

Soli: Jaroslav Březina – tenor, Markéta Böhmová – soprano, Jiří Miloslav Procházka – bass

Concertmaster: Elen Machová

Chorusmaster: Tereza Válková

Conductor: Roman Válek

Concert recorded by: Operachot

Recording director: Jakub Kořínek

CEB/ Photograph from the ensemble’s archives

Comments

Reply

No comment added yet..

Following the concerts streamed online in January and complete with a series of innovative video trailers, The Czech Ensemble Baroque returned with live streaming yesterday night. This time it was the second concert from their series entitled Bach & Mozart in Focus (Czech: Bacha na Mozarta); it was planned for 21 October, but rescheduled. From the Brothers of Mercy Convent, it featured, as the central part of the performance, the psalm of Dixit Dominus by Georg Friedrich Händel.  more

The coronavirus crisis of 2020 (and 2021) has had such an impact on the form of the musical market that researchers, with hindsight, will probably ask whether there are any recordings released at that time and not affected by it. Robert Křesťan and Druhá tráva (Second Grass) wanted to work on a double album containing cover versions of songs by his favourites and new own works next to each other. The British producer Eddie Stevens became a part of this ambitious project but the interrupted opportunity of travelling between the Czech Republic and London also stopped work on the 2CD. The band decided not to wait for the easing and released the Díl první (Part One) separately. This is not the exact form of the initially intended first disc. “Releasing cover versions only without any apparent relationship between them and the original works seemed inadequate to us and the production style of Eddie Stevens is individual and unifying in a specific way  to such an extent that we decided to release a mix of the two on the first medium and delay the second part,” explains Křesťan. Therefore, we have Díl první in front of us, but this is not any half-hearted recording or unfinished work. In spite of the Act of God, Druhá tráva has succeeded in recording one of the strongest Czech discs of 2020.  more

With the current epidemiologic situation and the impossibility of live concerts, many large and small ensembles have been using the time to prepare new media. One of them is the Brno Philharmonic, which has extended its range to include its own edition of CD recordings with this bold motto: “Music you can hardly buy anywhere else”. Although it might seem that this is, primarily, a successful slogan created by the Marketing Department this brief description is not merely empty words. The first pair of CDs released at the end of 2020 offered the unfairly forgotten oratorio Lenora (Lenore) by Antonín Rejcha (heard at concerts on 5, 6 and 7 February, 2020). The philharmonic orchestra also recorded a programme with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Zlonické zvony (The Bells of Zlonice) and the composition entitled Bagatelles, Op. 47(Maličkosti (Trivia)) both adapted (and in the case of Bagatelles also with richer instrumentation) by the chief conductor of the Brno Philharmonic, Dennis Russell Davies. And this is the album which will be the object of our evaluation.  more

One older - not quite typical – Květy´s album began with the words: "The quietest band in the world so as not to disturb the neighbours." The newest album, called a bit mysteriously Květy Květy (Flowers Flowers) begins with this text: “We are heading into the dark at the highest speed.” Can one deduce anything from the fact that the band around Martin E. Kyšperský in the slowest year, at the time of the lockdown, came up with the fastest and perhaps the most energetic album in their career? Or is it more important that, despite all the pressure that emanates from Květy Květy (Flowers Flowers) as a collective work, it is actually a very solitary and intimate record?  more

The poetic title Květy nevadnoucí (Flowers Never Fading) hides the most recent publishing achievement of Jiří Plocek. This compilation CD celebrates a quarter of a century since the establishment of the Moravian folklore series in his GNOSIS BRNO publishing house, which released fourteen albums created between 1995 and 2005. And they are not just ordinary albums. Jiří Plocek's enthusiasm and feeling for song is indisputable, but there is much more coming from the recordings – for example, it is the enthusiasm of the singers themselves, which Jiří Plocek fuelled during the recording sessions, while letting them play and sing according to their own will and mood. I must also emphasise the choice of performers themselves. The names have really become iconic by now – František Okénka, Zdeněk Kašpar, Karel Rajmic, Vlasta Grycová, Jiřina Miklošková and many others. Unfortunately, some of them have already departed from this world. Others, which we hear on the album as gifted children, are already rising to become another generations of singers – which is the case of Tomáš Beníček. I'm intentionally mentioning the singers, but the album itself also has a high musical quality. However, all the songs are performed by exceptional performers. This also gives them uniqueness in the spirit of a living folk tradition.  more