The Moravian Autumn will open with a light piano

22 September 2023, 2:00
The Moravian Autumn will open with a light piano

The International Music Festival Moravian Autumn begins next Sunday and will open with Heinrich's work entitled Singing the Spirit of the Wild Forest or Glimpses of Yankee Doodle. Anthony Philip Heinrich's "American Beethoven" will be followed by works from Beethoven, Pärt and Scriabin - his Prometheus for light piano. Pianist Polina Osetinskaja will take the solo part, the Brno Philharmonic will be accompanied by the Slovak Philharmonic Choir with the evening being led by chief conductor Dennis Russell Davies.

Anthony Philip Heinrich was born in 1781 in Krásný Buk, but spent most of his life overseas, where he was present at the birth of American classical music. He became the first professional composer in America to make a living solely from music. He started composing without any formal compositional training. This happened during the year when he lived alone in a log cabin after a serious illness. He gained popularity and respect among his colleagues, who began calling him the American Beethoven. Incidentally, he was the first to conduct Beethoven in America, specifically his Symphony No.1 in C major. He was also the first to use Native American musical motifs in his compositions. He began composing programme music much earlier than European composers, drawing inspiration from the natural world, influenced by the 700-mile pilgrimage he made on foot after the death of his wife. “Anthony Philip Heinrich was a man with an extraordinary destiny whose music is beginning to make a comeback on the world stage. It is characterised by passion, ingenuity and difficulty. It hints at something that the European ear is not used to. It combines experience with European music and at the same time is unencumbered by its tradition," said Vítězslav Mikeš, the dramaturge of Moravian Autumn.

The International Music Festival begins next Sunday, October 1, 2023, and will open with Heinrich's poignantly atmospheric work, Singing the Spirit of the Wild Wood or Glimpses of Yankee Doodle. The symphony with a large cast and unusual instruments will be performed in its Czech premiere. The "American Beethoven" is followed by the real Beethoven, specifically his rarely performed Fantasy in C minor. This year's 52nd edition of the festival bears the motto Great works by forgotten composers, forgotten works by great composers - and these two works perfectly fit with the motto.

The second half of the gala evening will open with another Czech premiere: Credo by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, one of the world’s most famous contemporary composers. The polystylistic cantata reflects the discord between credo and retribution (the liturgical verse Credo in Jesum Christum versus, verses 38 and 39 of Matthew 5). Musically, it is expressed by the sheer beauty of the fragments of Bach's Prelude in C major from the well-tempered piano, which is juxtaposed with dodecaphonic passages and strictly structured aggressive clusters to bring the whole cantata to the reconciliatory sounds of credo, again in the Bachian vein. “It is an extraordinary work full of contrasts, I believe it will have a strong impact on the listener. After all, the whole evening is composed as an extraordinary event, an extraordinary whole made up of compositions that people will not hear anywhere else," said Marie Kučerová, director of the Brno Philharmonic.

The gala evening will end with Prometheus (Symphony No. 5 "Poem of Fire") by Alexander Scriabin. The Russian composer believed in the omnipotence of art, and under the influence of German idealist philosophy and religious mysticism, he came to self-deification: he saw himself as a messiah who, through his work, was to lead mankind out of its actual existence into an ideal existence. He put his philosophical ideas into a trio of symphonies: Divine Poem, Poem of Ecstasy and Prometheus (Poem of Fire). It is Scriabin's most harmonically explosive orchestral work, based on a six-tone series. “The solo piano is used as a harmonic percussion instrument, with the chorus joining in the final gradation without text. Scriabin's synaesthetic perception of music was reflected in the use of the so-called light piano, which follows a scheme in which the author assigned individual colours to specific tones," Mikeš emphasised. Cori O´Lan, Director of the renowned Austrian festival Ars Electronica, will take care of the lighting design in Brno. According to Scriabin's scheme, the individual notes acquire their colours and their intensity responds in real time to the dynamics of the orchestra.

Polina Osetinskaja/ photo festival 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