Photo illustrating page  Czech Philharmonic Tamás Pálfalvi

Czech Philharmonic

Tamás Pálfalvi

Czech Philharmonic
Duration of the programme 2 hod
Programme

Miroslav Srnka
move 03 

Peter Eötvös
Jet Stream 

Miroslav Srnka
move 01 

Igor Stravinsky
Symphony in Three Movements

Performers

Tamás Pálfalvi
trumpet

Peter Eötvös
conductor

Czech Philharmonic

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic Tamás Pálfalvi
Rudolfinum — Dvorak Hall
11 Dec 2019  Wednesday — 7.30pm
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12 Dec 2019  Thursday — 7.30pm
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13 Dec 2019  Friday — 7.30pm
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Peter Eötvös named his composition Jet Stream after the natural phenomenon. In it, the solo trumpet is not the lead voice like in a classical concerto, but rather, as the composer puts it, the “eye of the storm”, to which all of the musical flow refers. At just twenty-five years of age, the soloist Tamás Pálfalvi is not only a world-class soloist and the holder of numerous awards for his recordings and solo performances; above all, he is a visionary musician elevating the art of trumpet playing to entirely new dimensions. Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements is one of the major works of the twentieth century. Thirty years after The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky again made intensive use of the rhythmic element, which firmly holds the whole symphony together. In the first movement, the most prominent instrument is piano, which gives way to harp in the Andante, which is freely inspired by Werfel’s novel The Song of Bernadette. The unrelenting rhythm is based on film footage of the Second World War, which deeply disturbed Stravinsky when he saw it. Framing the programme are two orchestral pieces by the successful Czech composer Miroslav Srnka. He wrote move 01 for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra as a study for the opera South Pole, which he composed afterwards and which explores movement and the “temperature” of sound. He composed move 03 for the festival Printemps des Arts in Monte Carlo. This orchestral work has an original structure and form, and it won the 2018 “Coup de Coeur” in France.

Performers

Tamás Pálfalvi  trumpet

TAMÁS PÁLFALVI
trumpet

"Pálfalvi sets new standards for trumpet playing with a breathtaking proficiency that seems almost acrobatic at times. Even more striking are the virtuoso’s groundbreaking programmatic ideas." - MDR Figaro, October 2015

His one of a kind technical skills aside, Hungarian Tamás Pálfalvi already stands out as one of the most visionary and innovative trumpet players of today.

In 2019/2020 he will be making recital debuts at Mozarteum Salzburg, and at Ludwigsburg Festival together with organ virtuoso Christian Schmitt, premiere a new arrangement of Peter Eötvös’ trumpet concerto “Jet Stream” with the Czech Philharmonic, and will return to the Zurich Chamber Orchestra to play Shostakovich’s concerto for trumpet, piano and orchestra with pianist Jan Lisiecki.

Highlights of the past season include his Hong Kong debut with Hong Kong Sinfonietta and concerts at the Aspen Music Festival. He was recently one of Rolando Villazón’s protégés on the German TV series “Stars of Tomorrow”. He has appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, with the Camerata Salzburg at the Rheingau Musik Festival and with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He has performed at the Beethoven Festival Warsaw, and in recital at the Al Bustan Festival, the KKL Luzern, and with organist Christian Schmitt in a sold out performance for organ and trumpet at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

As one of the ECHO Rising Stars 2017/2018 he performed in major concert halls across Europe such as the Philharmonie Luxembourg, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Auditori Barcelona, the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Lisbon, the Konzerthaus in Dortmund, and the BOZAR in Brussels. In October 2017 in his debut at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, he performed the world premiere of the piece ‘Sentimental’ for solo trumpet by Peter Eötvös, with whom he enjoys close cooperation.

Pálfalvi’s recording Agitato, on the label Berlin Classics, with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra has received praise for the versatile programming. Works by Vivaldi, Telemann and Händel are programmed beside contemporary works by Ligeti, Kagel and Dubrovay. The album was met with rave reviews internationally and the Bayerischer Rundfunk listed it as ‘CD of the Month’ and Norddeutscher Rundfunk as ‘CD of the Week’.

Pálfalvi has received numerous international awards, including the WEMAG Soloist Award at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, First Prize of the Hungarian National Trumpet Competition, and the Junior Prima Prize, the most important recognition for young musicians in Hungary. He was awarded the first prize at the Fanny-Mendelssohn-Förderpreis in 2015 for his enormous virtuosity, stage presence and an extraordinary programming.

Tamás Pálfalvi performs on Adams instruments and has developed a new design for the C-trumpet together with the company. They are currently working on a new e-Flat trumpet. He also performs on Flugelhorn and Baroque trumpet.

Born in Hungary in 1991, Pálfalvi began his studies at the age of eight with István Szabó and joined the Leó Weiner Conservatory of Music in Budapest in 2005, where he studied under Gábor Huszár. In 2009, he was awarded a scholarship for Bard College in New York, where he studied under Carl Albach and Edward Carroll until 2012. He then returned to Budapest to study at Franz Liszt Music Academy under Gábor Boldoczki, where he received his Master’s degree in May 2016.

Since September 2019, he has been appointed professor of trumpet at Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. He will be performing with his brass ensemble In Medias Brass, and as principal trumpet for the Budapest Festival Orchestra, will tour internationally with renowned conductor Iván Fischer.

Peter Eötvös   Dirigent
Peter Eötvös

PÉTER EÖTVÖS
conductor

Composer, conductor and teacher, Peter Eötvös combines all three roles in one very high-profile career. His music features regularly in the programmes of orchestras, contemporary music ensembles and festivals worldwide, and as composer and conductor he has led projects focusing on his work in cities across the globe.

As Péter Eötvös continues to celebrate his 75th birthday in 2019, autumn highlights of the 2019/2020 season include concerts with Berliner Philharmoniker as part of the Berliner Festspiele Festival, as well as Brussels Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Spring 2020 features Eötvös’ extensive residency at the Tongyeong International Music Festival and his return to the Wiener Staatsoper for revivals of his celebrated opera Three Sisters.

Throughout the 2019/2020 season, Peter Eötvös is conducting a number of world and territorial premieres of his own new works. This includes Alhambra violin concerto with Berliner Philharmoniker and Isabelle Faust, as well as Aurora concerto for double bass and chamber orchestra with the Karajan-Academy and Berliner Philharmoniker Principal Bass Matthew McDonald. His latest chamber music work, Secret Kiss (after Alessandro Baricco’s novel Silk), will be performed by ensemble Musikfabrik and Ryoko Aoki in Berlin, Cologne and Budapest, and will also receive its Korean premiere at the Tongyeong International Music Festival.

Alongside his career as composer and conductor, Eötvös places equal importance on his teaching activities, primarily at the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation. The Foundation was established in 2004 and is where he organises special mentoring programme for composers and conductors.

Compositions

Peter Eötvös  — Jet Stream

PETER EÖTVÖS
*1944

Peter Eötvös took inspiration for the composition Jet Stream (2002) from, among other things, memories of his childhood in socialist Hungary, where listening to short-wave radio was banned. Tuning a receiver to Western stations involved the real risk that someone outside would overhear and inform on the family. At the same time, however, the hissing, whistling, and static noise would sometimes let music through that one could not otherwise hear: namely jazz. The atmospheric disturbances became so intertwined with the sound of jazz that when Eötvös later heard jazz live, he felt that something was missing. The composition Jet Stream does not, however, attempt to imitate the energy and spontaneity of jazz. The composer describes it as “a message in a bottle from my world to jazz lovers.” The title Jet Stream refers to the flow of air as a physical phenomenon. Here, the soloist is not to be accompanied by the orchestra; the author sees the solioist in the role of an isolated figure moving against a flowing mass of sound. In the composer’s notes, Eötvös offers the image of a busy street in a major Japanese city where the crowd is moving in one direction, and one daring individual, the trumpet player, is trying to go in the opposite direction. Along with these parallels, the composer also describes the work as an image consisting of yellow, blue, and silver ribbons of varying width. The composition’s ties to jazz are also brought to mind by an improvised cadenza where the soloist becomes co-author. The work was originally composed for Markus Stockhausen, the son of the famous German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who played the world premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Eötvös conducting on 15 February 2003.

Miroslav Srnka — move 03

MIROSLAV SRNKA
*1975

Miroslav Srnka studied musicology at the Charles University Faculty of Arts and composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in the studio of Milan Slavický. In recent years, he has been one of the most sought-after Czech composers, but one encounters his music more often abroad than in this country. In 2016, his opera South Pole was produced by the Bavarian State Opera with such vocal stars as Rolando Villazón and Thomas Hampson in the main roles, and last year the Los Angeles Philharmonic commissioned him to compose Overheating. Miroslav Srnka’s interest focuses on music as sound structure and its changes over time. His series of orchestral works with the title Move or their chamber-music counterparts titled Track are opportunities for his exploration of these phenomena. While he wrote Move 01 as a study for the opera South Pole, in which he tried to create a “an enormous object with a frigid sound”, in Move 03 Srnka deals with the question of “how to create a smooth but much more segmented form, which also consists of objects that are round in themselves.” From among the many meanings of the word “move”, Srnka emphasises both movement as the development of musical form and the physical movement of musicians when playing their instruments. “I want the music to fly. Flight requires that the musicians have freedom. Their feeling of freedom is based on freedom of movement. And free movement depends on a state of mind.” For the composition Move 03, legato as a symbol of fluidity is used as a resource for achieving freedom. Srnka requires the string players to use the longest possible bow strokes even in quiet passages, where this way of playing leads to a special, delicate tone colour. Move 01 was composed in 2015 on commission from the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and Move 03 was written for the Festival Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo in 2016.

Miroslav Srnka — move 01

MIROSLAV SRNKA
*1975 

Miroslav Srnka studied musicology at the Charles University Faculty of Arts and composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in the studio of Milan Slavický. In recent years, he has been one of the most sought-after Czech composers, but one encounters his music more often abroad than in this country. In 2016, his opera South Pole was produced by the Bavarian State Opera with such vocal stars as Rolando Villazón and Thomas Hampson in the main roles, and last year the Los Angeles Philharmonic commissioned him to compose Overheating. Miroslav Srnka’s interest focuses on music as sound structure and its changes over time. His series of orchestral works with the title Move or their chamber-music counterparts titled Track are opportunities for his exploration of these phenomena. While he wrote Move 01 as a study for the opera South Pole, in which he tried to create a “an enormous object with a frigid sound”, in Move 03 Srnka deals with the question of “how to create a smooth but much more segmented form, which also consists of objects that are round in themselves.” From among the many meanings of the word “move”, Srnka emphasises both movement as the development of musical form and the physical movement of musicians when playing their instruments. “I want the music to fly. Flight requires that the musicians have freedom. Their feeling of freedom is based on freedom of movement. And free movement depends on a state of mind.” For the composition Move 03, legato as a symbol of fluidity is used as a resource for achieving freedom. Srnka requires the string players to use the longest possible bow strokes even in quiet passages, where this way of playing leads to a special, delicate tone colour. Move 01 was composed in 2015 on commission from the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and Move 03 was written for the Festival Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo in 2016.

Igor Stravinsky — Symphony in Three Movements

IGOR STRAVINSKY
1882–1971

Stravinsky left his native Russia just before the outbreak of the First World War, and he did not return to visit there until 1962. He was a citizen of the world, and he had an ambivalent relationship with his homeland, but elements of Russian culture still repeatedly re-emerged in his music. All his life, Stravinsky maintained the idea that music cannot express anything other than itself, i.e. that it cannot have an extra-musical programme. He was also convinced of this in the case of his Symphony in Three Movements, which was commissioned from him by the New York Philharmonic. The orchestra had originally wanted a work to celebrate America’s victory of Germany and Japan, but the composer refused to write commentary on his work that would support the idea. One cannot even say whether wartime events are reflected in the symphony at all. In later interviews, Stravinsky admitted that when writing the work, he was inspired by certain specific images, mostly from documentary films. One film about the scorched earth tactics Japan employed in China left its imprint on the first movement, while images of marching soldiers and mechanised warfare from period newsreels found their reflection in the grotesque mechanical rhythms of the last movement. The material of the first movement was originally written as a sketch for a piano concerto, and piano predominates in the piece. The music of the first and third movements is reminiscent of the famously wild rhythms of his ballet The Rite of Spring from three decades earlier, but here one finds more of the symmetry that fascinated Stravinsky during his neo-Classical or neo-Baroque phase, and we can hear such historical forms as the fugue. The symphony’s middle movement is also connected with a film, although in a different way. In 1943 Stravinsky was asked to write music for the film The Song of Bernadette based on the novel by his friend Franz Werfel, who, like Stravinsky, was living in Los Angeles at the time. The story of Saint Bernadette, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared in Lourdes, France, was directed by one of the creative stars of the golden age of Hollywood, Henry King. Stravinsky, however, refused to agree to the film producers’ conditions, and he was none too willing to adapt his music to the needs of film, so Alfred Newman took the job instead of him, and his music one the film one of its four Oscars. Stravinsky used the material he had already written for the film in the middle movement of the Symphony. It is music for the scene of the appearance of the Virgin Mary, and between the two “wartime” movements, it brings contrast with its calm, measured atmosphere. The composer conducted the New York Philharmonic in the premiere on 24 January 1946.