This year the Moravian Autumn is under the heading Angeloi - Heralds or Parallel Histories of Music

7 September 2023, 15:00
This year the Moravian Autumn is under the heading Angeloi - Heralds or Parallel Histories of Music

Contemporary concerts of classical music repeatedly extract only a limited part of all that has ever been created from the infinite number of musical works for its "here and now". The programme of the Moravian Autumn will therefore offer what people can otherwise hear quite rarely. It will present compositions from the Baroque to the present day, often in Czech or world premières. The opening concert of the festival will be conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, chief conductor of the Brno Philharmonic. For the second year, the festival also includes the New World of Moravian Autumn, a series of concerts prepared by JAMU students. Accompanying programmes also include a Musicology Colloquium, discussions with composers, performers and musicologists and the presentation of two new books: one dedicated to Leoš Janáček, the other to Antonín Rejcha.

“We will build on our long-standing efforts to disrupt this approach. In a festival, a concentrated form, we will probe a kind of parallel history of music. We will bring to light lesser-known compositions by famous composers and highlight the longevity of works by forgotten composers," said Vítězslav Mikeš, the festival's dramaturge. This year's edition was under the heading Angeloi - Heralds, which according to philosopher Yakov Druskin are beings with a colourful life who inhabit a parallel world and feel eternity without the burden of boredom or time. “I feel the same way about musical works," Mikeš added.

“From 1 to 22 October, a total of fourteen concerts await audiences. Mostly in the Besední dům, plus three large ones in the Janáček Theatre, but also in the 10-Z shelter, Villa Tugendhat, Petrov and the church on náměstí Míru," said Marie Kučerová, director of the Brno Philharmonic. She added that a special concert is also planned for the Červený Church. For the third time the Last Pagan Rites of Bronius Kutavicius will be performed. Their two performances in previous years were so well received by the audience that the dramaturge is including them for the third time.

The festival will open on 1 October with the tones of Singing the Spirit of the Wild Forest, a symphonic fantasy by Anthony Philip Heinrich, the performance of which will be its Czech première. The native of Krásná Lípa, who was nicknamed the American Beethoven, had such an incredible destiny that it is almost reminiscent of the story of Jára Cimrman. (A day later, pianist Pavel Farský will also discuss the life of the first professional composer in America in his recital, which is already sold out.) In the opening concert, Heinrich is followed by the real Beethoven and his little-played Fantasy in C minor, followed by the impressive Credo from the end of Arvo Pärt's early period. The evening will close with the symphonic poem Prometheus, written by Alexander Scriabin for piano, choir and orchestra, augmented by light piano. “Cori O´Lan from the renowned Austrian festival Ars Electronika will take care of the visual component of this composition," stated Mikeš. The soloist in Beethoven and Scriabin will be Polina Osetinskaja, who already enchanted the Brno audience a few years ago.

The opening concert will be led by Principal Conductor Dennis Russell Davies, who will also appear at the theatre in the same role on 13 October. This time, however, not with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, but with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, which he also leads. In addition to William Bolcom in the Czech premiere and W.A. Mozart's Masonic Mourning Music, the orchestra will bring its tribal repertoire: Robert Schumann and the symphonic poem Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Richard Strauss.

If the first and the second concert in the theatre are linked by the chief conductor, then the second and the third are linked by Brno's partner cities: Leipzig in Germany and Poznan in Poland. Their Philharmonic Orchestra will arrive on 22 October to take care of the festival's closing ceremony. Together with chief conductor Łukasz Borowicz, they will bring a programme to mark the ninetieth anniversary of Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the most important creators of Polish and, by extension, world music in the second half of the 20th century. It will be complemented by Vítězslava Kapralová's Suita rustica and Karol Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No.2, performed by Milan Paľa (who will also play the solo part in Penderecki's Violin Concerto ).

In addition to forgotten composers and compositions, the festival will also give space to forgotten musical instruments, such as the glass harmonica, which will be played by Christa Schönfeldinger over three pieces in one evening. Under the baton of Jonathan Cohen, the melodrama Joan of Arc's Farewell to the Fatherland and The Casual Cantata by Antonín Rejcha, who, like Heinrich, had an incredible life with Czech roots and a career abroad, will be performed in renewed premières.

Another rarely seen instrument is the historic Streicher piano, which will be played by Alexey Lyubimov. He will play the compositions of Johannes Brahms, while on a contemporary Steinway piano he will perform the nostalgic music of the still-living Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. Onutė Gražinytė will also sit at the piano, performing in a solo recital with the Kremerata Baltica ensemble, as well as Bosnian musician Aida Mujačić with songs by Karel Reiner, Terezie Fialová in a duo with cellist Jiří Bárta, and Dennis Russell Davies, who will accompany soprano Martina Janková with recitalist Tatiana Medvecka.

Two multimedia projects, both having their Czech première, will be performed in the second half of the festival. The Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is well-known as a film music composer, having received an Oscar nomination for his music for The Theory of Everything, but his early independent work also offers some very interesting projects. “His former close collaborator Adam Wiltzie will perform an extraordinary hour-long composition, one could say a sound installation, entitled Virðulegu forsetar, with members of the Moravia Brass Band at Petrov. I believe it will be one of the highlights of the festival," enthused Mikeš. The award-winning hope of Czech chamber music Trio Bohémo has prepared for the Besední Dům an "audiovisual novel" Searching for Lost Beauty... by Žibuoklė Martinaitytė, composed for piano trio, electronics and video.

Trio Bohemo/ photo festival archive



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