The Easter Festival starts on Sunday. Introducing the Tenebrae - three candlelit evenings

22 March 2024, 1:00
The Easter Festival starts on Sunday. Introducing the Tenebrae - three candlelit evenings

Tenebrae, has long been one of the most impressive parts of the Easter Festival of Sacred Music. They are held from Wednesday to Good Friday, always from 9 pm at the Jesuits'. This year, the darkened church, in which candles are burning, will be unusually filled with music commissioned by the festival.

"This is a unique project, and we would be hard pressed to find even an approximate equivalent in the contemporary music world," emphasised Ondřej Múčka, the festival's dramaturge. Six composers of the younger and middle generation were divided into pairs and each composed music for one tenebrae. The pairs were Zdeněk Klauda and Lukáš Hurník, Jaroslav Pelikán and Tomáš Krejčí, Jiří Miroslav Procházka and Ondřej Múčka. The authors set to music the lamentations from the book of Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah, the texts of the responsories, which reflect the development of the last days of Christ in relation to the Old Testament prophecies, and the text of the penitential psalm Miserere. “The structure of the evensong is the same: each lament is followed by three responsories and the Miserere is sung at the end. Thus, over the course of three evenings, we will hear nine lamentations, all twenty-seven responsories (responses) and three settings of the psalm," Múčka said, adding that the listening will be deepened by the recital of the Czech translation.

What is unique about this year's Tenebrae is not only the close collaboration of all the composers, but also their staging together with a specially created vocal-instrumental ensemble that will take over the interpretation on all three evenings. “We are just today returning from a shared training retreat in Rome and we can't wait to introduce ourselves to the festival audience," said Jiří Miroslav Procházka. The festival begins on Sunday, 24 March 2024 at 8 pm in the Church of St. John on Minoritská Street.

The first pair of authors conceived their compositions as larger works with a more demanding musical language corresponding to the seriousness of the texts. 

On Maundy Thursday, the most traditional approach to the texts will probably be heard, with inspiration from medieval church tones in the lamentations and late romantic musical development in the responsories. 

The last day of the Tenebrae works with the theme of Jesus' death. The Lamentations make a strong statement against the chosen nation and its transgressions against the Lord, while the responsories work with the darkness of the grave. The musical language of both authors is contemporary, not avoiding spoken or whispered text, albeit very sparingly. The festival offers a total of six concerts and three Tenebrae this year being held in four churches, in the basilica on Mendlovo náměstí Square and in the cathedral on Petrov Hill.

VFDH photo archive



No comment added yet..

Like other music festivals, the 29th annual Concentus Moraviae International Music Festival has not only had to reflect the fact that it is the Year of Czech Music, but also the unique 200th anniversary of the birth of Bedřich Smetana, the founder of modern Czech music. The dramaturgy of this year’s festival, which has just launched, is in the spirit of "Metamorphoses: Czech Smetana!". The first festival concert, which took place on 31 May at the Kyjov Municipal Cultural Centre, gave a hint of the direction the rest of the festival's dramaturgy will take. The organisers of the show decided to explore Smetana's work from a fresh angle and to work not only with the music, but also with the audience’s expectations. The opening evening saw a performance of Smetana's famous String Quartet No. 1 in E minor From My Life, but in an arrangement for a symphony orchestra penned by conductor and pianist George Szell. Smetana's work was complemented by the world première of the Concerto for Flute and Orchestra "Sadunkertoja" by Finnish composer, conductor and artist in residence at the 29th annual festival, Olli Mustonen, commissioned especially for the festival. Mustonen also conducted the Prague Philharmonia's performance of the two works. Danish flautist Janne Thomsen performed as soloist.  more

As part of Ensemble Opera Diversa's Musical Inventory series of concerts, which began back in 2017, the ensemble aims to present (re)discovered works and composers that we rarely hear on stage. However, this dramaturgical line also offers the space and initiative to create some completely new works performed in world premières. This time, the chamber concert held on Wednesday, 29 May 2024 in the auditorium of the Rector's Office of the Brno University of Technology (BUT) was directed by the Diversa QuartetBarbara Tolarová (1st violin), Jan Bělohlávek (2nd violin), David Křivský (viola), Iva Wiesnerová (cello), OK Percussion Duo (Martin OpršálMartin Kneibl), soloists Aneta Podracká Bendová (soprano) and pianist Tereza Plešáková. The theme was a nod to the Prague composition school from a pedagogical and artistic perspective.  more

The concert with the subtitle Haydn and Shostakovich in G Minor closed the Philharmonia at Home subscription series on Thursday 16 May at the Besední dům. It was also the last concert of the 2023/24 season (not counting Friday's reprise), with the Brno Philharmonic led by its chief conductor Dennis Russell Davies. In the second half of the evening the orchestra was accompanied by singers Jana Šrejma Kačírková (soprano) and Jiří Služenko (bass). As the title of the concert implies, the dramaturgy juxtaposed works by Joseph Haydn and Dimitri Shostakovich, which are almost exclusively linked only by the key in which they were written.  more

Connection, unity, contemplation - these words can be used to describe the musical evening of Schola Gregoriana Pragensis under the direction of David Eben and organist Tomáš Thon, which took place yesterday as part of the Easter Festival of Sacred Music at the church of St. Thomas. Not only the singing of a Gregorian chant, but also the works of composer Petr Eben (1929-2007) enlivened the church space with sound and colour for an hour.  more

With a concert called Ensemble Inégal: Yesterday at the church of St. John, Zelenka opened the 31st edition of the Easter Festival of Sacred Music, this time with the suffix Terroir. This slightly mysterious word, which is popularly used in connection with wine, comes from the Latin word for land or soil, and carries the sum of all the influences, especially the natural conditions of a particular location and on the plants grown there. This term is thus metonymically transferred to the programme of this year's VFDH, as it consists exclusively of works by Czech authors, thus complementing the ongoing Year of Czech Musicmore