Symphony No. 4 H305
Horn Concerto No. 2 in E Flat Major
Prague Castle Guard and Czech Police Band
Prague Castle Guard and Czech Police Band is a large brass orchestra which has been representing Czech musical culture in a highly professional fashion for more than sixty years, not only at home, but also abroad. Its establishment in 1945 carried on a rich tradition of military, police and gendarme bands from the First Czechoslovak Republic. They were ensembles which were always an integral part of our musical culture and also an example of the nation’s musical development.
The primary duties of the Band of the Castle Guards and Police of the Czech Republic include musical accompaniment at all state ceremonies at Prague Castle, primarily state visits and initial audiences with ambassadors. The orchestra is a significant cultural representative of the Police of the Czech Republic and also performs all tasks resulting from this position.
The ensemble also includes smaller groups – the Domino Brass Trio, the Prague Brass Sextet, The Brass Quintet, the Brass Octet, the Big Band, Largo and the Formanka Small Brass Orchestra. Their focus and repertoire suitably supplement the orchestra’s wide range of activities. In addition to its duties, the orchestra has always given concerts and made recordings. It has made more than twenty CDs. The orchestra’s most important annual concert activities include performing at the Prague Spring International Music Festival and during the Saint Wenceslas celebrations.
Prague Castle Guard and Czech Police Band has toured sixteen countries in Europe, Mongolia, Japan and the USA, where it headlined at the famous Carnegie Hall in 2002.
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.
The horn player and conductor Radek Baborák is one of the most outstanding figures on the classical music scene. Since beginning his solo career over twenty-five years ago, his extraordinary musical performances have enthralled audiences in the most important cultural venues around the world. He has collaborated with many distinguished conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Neeme Järvi, James Levine, Vladimir Askhenazy, James de Priest and Marek Janowski.
Baborák is a regular guest at prestigious festivals such as the Salzburger Osterfestspiele; Maggio musicale, Fiorentino; the White Nights Festival, St. Petersburg; International Music Festival, Utrecht; Julian Rachlin and Friends, Dubrovník; Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival and Prague Spring.
His concerts have been broadcast by television and radio stations including Euro Arts, BR, ARD, NHK, ČT, RTVE and he has made recordings for EMI, Supraphon, Exton, Arte Nova, Artesmon and Animal Music.
Radek Baborák has performed as a soloist with the following orchestras: the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony, Bach Akademie Stuttgart, Radio France Lyon, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Geneva, Philharmonique de Strassbourg, Finnish Radio Orchestra Helsinki, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philhramonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra Vienna, Mozarteum Salzburg, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Mito Chamber Orchestra, Saito Kinen Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, RTVE Orchestra Madrid and Arthur Rubinstein Lodz Philharmonic.
Baborák is especially popular in Japan; since 1994 he has been on regular tours in the country. Over a period of ten years, Baborák has recorded more than twenty CDs for the Japanese label Octavia Records (Exton, Cryston).
An essential part of Radek Baborák’s musical life is chamber music. He founded and has been the leader of several ensembles: the Baborák Ensemble; the Czech Horn Chorus, which continues the 300 year-old tradition of horn playing in the Czech lands; and the Prague Chamber Soloists. He is a member of the Afflatus Quintet. Baborák plays in recitals with the pianist Yoko Kukuchi, with the organist Aleš Bárta and the harpist Jana Boušková. He is a member of Berlin-Munich-Vienna Octet and collaborates with the Berlin Baroque Soloists. As a chamber musician he is regularly invited to perform with outstanding musicians and personalities.
Radek Baborák had been a senior lecturer at the Fondazione Arturo Toscanini in Parma and holds the position of a guest professor at TOHO University Tokyo, Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia and teaches at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague. He has led horn courses in Germany and Switzerland.
Radek Baborák was born in Pardubice in 1976. During his studies at the Prague Conservatory (1990–1994) he won competitions in Geneva in 1993, Markneukirchen in 1994 and ARD in Munich in 1994. In 1995 he was awarded the Grammy Award Classic and the Dawidov Prize.
At the age of eighteen Baborák was appointed principal horn with the Czech Philharmonic, and he remained in this position for two years. In 1996–2000 he was principal horn with the Munich Philharmonic. In 2001 he signed an exclusive contract with the Bamberg Symphony. Baborák’s position with the Berlin Philharmonic in the years 2003–2010 represents the last chapter of his career as an orchestra player.
Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959) avoided composing symphonies for a long time. In the musical environment of the 1920s and 1930s in Paris, in which he was firmly established in his youth, the symphony was considered a form of Romantic relic and local composers tried to write for less common instrumental ensembles. Martinů composed his first symphony as late as at the age of fifty-two in America; from that time on he returned to this form almost every year. Of the total number of his six symphonies, the most popular and most frequently performed is Symphony No. 4. Martinů created it in the spring of 1945, full of joy and optimism about the end of war hardships and in the hope that he would soon return to his homeland. He was convinced that this was his last major composition in the American exile before his imminent homecoming to Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, the subsequent events showed that these expectations were in vain.
The joyful first movement Poco moderato is reminiscent of a Baroque suite by being structured into two sections. However, the work with motifs and harmonic processes are far from Baroque music and stands with both feet in the realm of contemporary music. The second movement has the form of a fierce dance scherzo with the contrasting lyrical middle section. It is followed by the dreamy, heartfelt Largo of the third movement. The optimistic tone of the whole symphony is accentuated by the final Poco allegro.
In June 1924 Leoš Janáček heard a military band concert at a colonnade in Písek, South Bohemia, where among other compositions the band played fanfares. They made a considerable impression on him and remained in his memory until early 1926, when he was commissioned to compose a musical salute to the 8th Sokol Gymnastic Festival in Prague. At first Janáček intended to write a fanfare only, but the piece soon grew into an original symphonic work in five movements. The Czech Sokol Organization accepted the composition and put it on the cultural program of the festival, deciding that the fanfare is to be trumpeted from the tower of the Týn Church during the closing march of the Sokols through Prague.
In retrospective Janáček gave the Sinfonietta the content related to Brno. Under this concept, the second movement after the fanfares represents Špilberk Castle, the third, the monastery in Old Brno, the fourth, Brno’s bustling street life, and the final fifth refers to its town hall.
Sinfonietta has a closed circular form and as regards the tectonics, combines elements of suite and symphony. It opens with a pentatonic fanfare intrada played by nine C trumpets, two bass trumpets and two tenor tubas in the Allegretto tempo. The second movement, Andante, has the elements of sonata form. It features impressive motifs, fresh rhythms and a large number of orchestral colors. The third movement, Moderato, begins quietly with a lyrical theme in the strings, followed by a motif passed on successively to English horn, oboe and violin. The dark syncopated motif of trombones is joined in a high pitch by flutes and piccolos. Then a trombone plays a picturesque dance-like tune and the movement closes with a syncopated theme in the trombones. The fourth movement, Allegretto, has a character of scherzo. Its introductory (and really only) theme is constantly repeated in the woodwind instruments with contrasting interventions of the orchestra. The melancholy music in the flutes at the beginning of the final movement, Andante con moto, is punctuated by dramatic chords of the strings. After another exciting passage in the higher strings, the trumpets play verbatim in unison the opening intrada (actually a retirada now) from the first movement.
At the concert tonight, Sinfonietta will be performed for the first time from a new critical edition, prepared for Universal Edition by the musicologist Jiří Zahrádka from Brno.
Richard Strauss formed a rather close relationship to French horn in childhood because his father was principal horn player of the Munich Court Orchestra and he also composed for this instrument. Richard Strauss wrote several chamber pieces and, most importantly, two orchestral concertos for horn. It is interesting that both of them are written in the E-flat major key, although they are separated by almost 60 years in terms of the time of their inception. Horn Concerto No. 2 came into being in 1942.
It begins by a rather unusual fanfare cadenza of the solo instrument. The further course of the first movement, Allegro, is reminiscent of instrumental concertos by Strauss’s favorite Mozart by its lightness and clarity (especially in the orchestra which is dominated by strings). The first movement continues attaca into the lyrical middle movement, Andante, which is characterized by long tones of the horn with demanding intonation. The final rondo, again in the Allegro tempo, tests the instrumental prowess of a soloist this time by short tones played in quick succession. The premiere of the piece was given on 11 August 1943 at the Salzburg Festival by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Gottfied Freiberg as soloist.
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.
This website uses to provide services, personalize ads, and analyzing traffic cookies.