Symphony No. 10 (Adagio)
Concerto grosso per tre violoncelli ed orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 35 in D Major K385 (“Haffner”)
Václav Petr, Ivan Vokáč, Eduard Šístek
Born in 1989 in Prague, Václav Petr began playing the cello at the age of four under the guidance of Mirko Škampa. In 2008 he graduated from the Jan Neruda Grammar School of Music in Prague. While still a student, he received several accolades at both Czech and international competitions, including 2nd prizes at the international cello competitions in Ústí nad Orlicí (2001) and Liezen, Austria (2002). In 2004 he won 1st prize and a number of other awards at Prague Junior Note and in 2005 was overall winner of Talents for Europe.
Moreover, he garnered success at the Concertino Praga radio competition (2007), the David Popper International Cello Competition in Budapest (2007), the Antonio Janigro International Cello Competition in Zagreb (2008), the Bohuslav Martinů International Cello Competition in Prague (2008, 2012), the Johann Friedrich Dotzauer International Competition in Dresden (2009), the Rudolf Matz International Competition in Dubrovnik (2010), and other competitions. In 2010, on the basis of a DVD recording, he was chosen to be one of the 12 participants of the Grand Prix Emanuel Feurmann in Berlin.
At the age of twelve, Václav Petr had his first solo performance with an orchestra. In 2004, 2006 and 2008 he appeared as a soloist at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague, accompanied by the PKF – Prague Philharmonia within the “Josef Suk Presents Young Talents” cycle. He has also performed abroad, in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Croatia and other countries.
In 2008 and 2010 he attended master classes in Kronberg, studying with Anner Bylsma and David Geringas. In 2009 he received a scholarship for Jens Peter Maintz’s summer master classes in Hamburg. On the basis of a recording, he was selected to participate in the 2010 European Music Academy in Bonn, guided by Wolfgang Boettcher, who also taught him in July of the same year at the 40th International Master Classes in Vaduz. In 2010 he was selected to join Marie Kliegel’s class within the Holland Music Sessions.
Václav Petr is also an active chamber player. Since 2009 he has been a member of Ensemble Taras (formerly the Taras Piano Trio), with whom in 2010 he won 1st prize at the international music competition in Val Tidone, Italy. In 2012, he and the violinist Radim Kresta (as a violin-cello duo) came third in the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition and a year later (as a piano quartet, with the violist Eva Krestová and the pianist Václav Mácha) they won the competition. In 2013 the quartet won the prestigious Premio Trio di Trieste, which resulted in their being afforded the opportunity to record a CD and DVD and tour Europe and the USA.
Since 2008 Václav Petr has studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (starting in the class of Daniel Veis and since 2011 continuing to hone his skills with Michal Kaňka). In 2010 and 2011 he studied within the Erasmus program at the Universität der Künste in Berlin with Wolfgang Boettcher. Since January 2014 he has been a concert master of the Czech Philharmonic orchestra.
Eduard Šístek studied at the Prague Conservatoire and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In the academic year 2015/2016 he successfully passed the internship at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. Since 2011 he has been a permanent member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a laureate of the Leoš Janáček international competition 2013 in Brno.
Eduard Šístek was born in Prague in 1992. He studied at the Prague Conservatoire with Jaroslav Kulhan, at the Academy of Performing Arts with Mikael Ericsson and at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with Reinhard Latzko. He attended masterclasses at home (Michaela Fukačová, Jiří Bárta) and abroad (Peter Bruns, Maria Kliegel, Lluís Claret, Reinhard Latzko and others).
He participated in many prestigious national and international competitions, where he received numerous awards. He won the international cello competition in Liezen, Austria for four years in a row. He became the overall winner of the Prague Junior Note competition and the winner of competitions for a scholarship YAMAHA and Talents for Europe. He received the Oleg Podgorný Award for the most successful youngest participant in the Prague Spring competition. He is the laureate of the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation competition and the Leoš Janáček international competition in Brno, as well as holder of the title “New Master on tour 2015”.
He performed at the Prague Spring IMF, Frédéric Chopin festival in Mariánské Lázně, at the Třeboňská Nocturna festival, in a series of concerts at the Czech Radio Studio Live and during the subscription concerts of the Czech Chamber Music Society in the Rudolfinum Sukʼs hall. He has given performances in the Netherlands (Concertgebouw Amsterdam etc.), Slovakia (Reduta concert hall of the Slovak Philharmonic) in Germany and Israel. Since the season 2016/2017 he has been put on a List of young artists of the Czech musical fund.
Eduard Šístek has collaborated with the Mladá Boleslav Chamber Orchestra, Žilina Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Virtuosi, Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice etc. He has played under the baton of such conductors as Ondřej Kukal, Jan Zbavitel, Marek Šedivý etc.
Since 2011 he has been a permanent member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, where he occasionally played as the first player in the solo part of the Brahmsʼ Piano concerto in B-flat Major with Emanuel Ax under the baton of Edward Gardner. He has been often recording for Czech Radio.
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Czech Philharmonic
Principal Guest Conductor, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor Laureate, BBC Symphony (London)
Renowned Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was appointed Music Director and Artistic Director of the Czech Philharmonic in 2012, following on from his successful tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now a Conductor Laureate. He was Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra (1977–89), Music Director of the Prague Philharmonia (1994–2004), was appointed President of the Prague Spring Festival in 2006. From 2013 to 2017, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
In opera, he has collaborated with the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Zurich Opera, and the National Theatre in Prague. He has also conducted and recorded several opera-in-concert presentations with the BBC Symphony, to great acclaim. Confirming his preeminence as the conductor of Janacek, this past season he conducted the Czech Phil in a concert presentation of Jenůfa at the London Royal Festival Hall, as well as in full production the San Francisco Opera. This was followed by a performance of Janacek The Makropulos Case with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms.
Under his leadership the Czech Philharmonic is enjoying unprecedented success both at home in Prague, and on extensive tours. Together they have toured in the past three seasons on three continents, including Europe, Asia and North America. Their recent residency in Vienna at the Musikverein was a great success, and has lead to similar events being planned in other world capitals. The Czech Philharmonic announced in January 2017 that their partnership with Maestro Bělohlávek is now officially extended to 2022!
In addition to his ongoing Prague seasons and touring engagements with the Czech, he continues to perform as a guest conductor with the world’s major orchestras, including recent appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (including at the London Proms), New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Washington National Symphony, and Deutsches Symphony Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In the coming season, in addition to major projects with Czech Phil, he looks forward to engagements with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra Munich, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, and more.
With the Czech Philharmonic, he will conduct a major Asian tour in Autumn 2017 with concerts in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, in addition to appearances on tour in Europe, the highlight of which will be a performance of Janáček Glagolitic Mass at the Salzburg Festival in August 2018.
Jiří Bělohlávek has recorded extensively, with recent projects with the Czech Philharmonic including the complete symphonies and concertos of Dvořák. The series with Decca continues in the coming season, when a major disc of Suk will be recorded.
In 2012 he was awarded an honorary CBE for his services to British music.
Ivan Vokáč has been a member of the Czech Philharmonic’s cello section since January 2014. He graduated from Prague Conservatory and the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts under Miroslav Petráš, and has taken masterclasses in Kronberg (with Steven Isserlis and Boris Pergamenshchikov) and Plzeň (with Raphael Wallfisch).
As a soloist he has appeared at a number of festivals both in the Czech Republic (Talichův Beroun, Mladá Praha and Mladé pódium) and abroad (Festival lʼEté Musical en Bergerac in France and Music Home Alive Festival in the Netherlands). He is a member of three chamber ensembles: Lobkowicz Trio, Prague Cello Quartet and Escualo Quintet, playing piano in the last. He has regularly appeared on Czech Radio and Television.
Ivan Vokáč has been awarded many prizes in international competitions, of which the most important include those won in Liezen, Austria in 2002, in the Dotzauer competition in Dresden in 2005 and at the Bohuslav Martinů competition in Prague in 2008. In 2006, together with Jakub Junek on violin, he was the overall winner of the radio competition Concertino Praga. In 2010 he won a scholarship from Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe, and in 2012 he was a semi-finalist and the most successful Czech participant in the international competition Prague Spring. Most recently he has won the International Leoš Janáček Competition in Brno in 2013.
As a member of Taras Piano Trio he has received top prizes at international competitions “Internationaler Johannes Brahms Wettbewerb” (in Pörtschach, Austria, 2007) and “Rovere dʼOro” (San Bartolomeo, Italy, 2008).
As a member of Lobkowicz Trio he was acclaimed at the Antonín Dvořák international chamber music competition (third prize and special award for best performance of a piece by Dvořák) and won for a second time the first prize at international Johannes Brahms competition in Pörtschach, Austria.
Gustav Mahler started to work on his Symphony No. 10 in 1910, at a time of marital crisis, when he had learned about his wife Alma’s relationship with the architect Walter Gropius. Testifying to Mahler’s mental state at the time are words written on the symphony sketch, according to which he wished to die.
The work was to be in five movements, the outer two in a slower tempo and the inner three faster: two scherzos and an intermezzo which Mahler had called Purgatorio (Purgatory). He managed to compose a sketch of the score, and particells for the first and second movement and thirty bars of the Purgatorio. The sketches for the remaining movements contain only an outline of the intended succession of motives and their rhythmical developments and, in a few exceptional instances, notes on instrumentation.
Alma Mahler long prevented the publication of the work. Only in 1924 did she decide to have the fragment of the symphony published in facsimile. Her then son-in-law Ernst Krenek prepared Adagio and Purgatorio for performance, which took place in Vienna on 12 October 1924 under the baton of Franz Schalk. The second city where the two movements were performed was Prague, on 11 December, at the New German Theatre’s special philharmonic concert conducted by Alexander Zemlinsky. Alma Mahler later approached Alban Berg, Dmitri Shostakovich and Arnold Schoenberg, who all declined to complete the fragment. In subsequent years, the Adagio usually appeared in concert programmes on its own; a critical edition together with a new facsimile publication of the fragment was prepared in 1964 by Erwin Ratz. The efforts to reconstruct Mahler’s last work have continued and today there are multiple versions.
The Adagio principally owes its powerful effect on the listener to its reminiscences of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. The well-known motif provides a key for understanding the work. Technically the movement is polyphonic, its two themes intertwining and culminating in a nine-voice chord, after which the music quietens down and fades away.
Krzysztof Penderecki wrote his Concerto grosso for three cellos and orchestra in 2000–2001. Like Igor Stravinsky and others, Penderecki found new stimuli in the combination of historical forms with elements of modern musical language. Entirely in the spirit of the baroque form, in the Concerto grosso a group of concertante instruments (concertino) is pitted against the orchestra (ripieno).
The single movement work is opened by the orchestra with a repeated descending interval, which permeates the composition. Three soloists are introduced in turn, each with their own solo. Interspersed with the fast parts are returning variations of the Adagio section, serving as a refrain. Having culminated in the whole orchestra, the work ends with solo cadenzas of the individual cellos and an orchestral unison. The work was premiered on 22 July 2001 in Tokyo by NHK Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit, with Boris Pergamenshchikov, Ha-Nah Chang and Truls Mørk as soloists.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony in D Major, KV 385 was intended for a celebration at the home of Salzburg merchant Siegmund Haffner, ennobled on 29 July 1782 by Emperor Joseph II. It was Mozart’s father Leopold who asked his son to compose the work for their friend. It was written between mid-July and 7 August 1782, and sent to Salzburg in parts, as Mozart was rather busy at the time: on 16 July 1782 his singspiel Die Entführung aus dem Serail was premiered and repeated performances were being prepared, and Mozart was about to marry. Precisely when the Haffner Symphony was performed in Salzburg, we do not know; but on 23 March 1783 Mozart put it on the program of his academy in Vienna’s Burgtheater, now in four movements and in an orchestration enlarged by flutes and clarinets.
The symphony originally contained two minuets, of which one has probably been lost, or perhaps used by Mozart in another work; he had also left out a march. The first movement combines sonata form with variations, and the second movement and finale are also in sonata form. Certain biographers have seen echoes of Vienna’s city folklore in the minuet, and in the fourth movement we hear reminiscences of Osmin’s aria from Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
Wed – Fri / 6:30 p.m. / Rudolfinum – Suk Hall or Western Lounge
Location is specified for each concert in the concert programme and navigation signs at the Rudolfinum.
Pre-concert talks are offered free of charge as a bonus before the evening concerts of the A and B subscription series. They are given by conductors, soloists and members of the Czech Philharmonic, as well as musicologists and music writers who take part in discussions or lectures which will prepare for the evening concert.
They are presented by Eva Hazdrová-Kopecká, Pavel Ryjáček or Petr Kadlec.
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