Photo illustrating page  Concert for Students’ Day Student Ensembles

Student Ensembles • Concert for Students’ Day


Czech Philharmonic

The program for children is based on a musical part but also on a spoken word that will be given in Czech language only. The program will not be supplied with English subtitles.

Education programs
Duration of the programme 2 hod
For teens and adults

Programme

Josef Suk
Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale
“St. Wenceslas”, Op. 35a

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 5 in C minor

Antonín Dvořák
My Home, Op. 62 – ouverture

Leoš Janáček
Sinfonietta

Performers

Joachim Gauck
speaker

Petr Pithart
speaker

Czech Student Philharmonic
(Czech Philharmonic players, members of the Orchestral Academy of the Czech Philharmonic, and students from music schools)

Robert Kružík
conductor

David Mareček
host

Photo illustrating the event Student Ensembles Concert for Students’ Day

Rudolfinum — Dvorak Hall

16 Nov 2019  Saturday 7.30pm
Can't order online

The concert will take place with the participation of the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Joachim Gauck, who will give a speech at the concert on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the events that led to the fall of the totalitarian states in central and eastern Europe in the autumn of 1989.

Performers

Robert KRUŽÍK  
The Czech Student Philharmonic  

In the modern history of the Czech Philharmonic, when the first steps were being taken towards an educational programme, the idea arose in 2006 – while Václav Riedlbauch was still the executive director – of giving symphonic concerts for student audiences, i.e. for a new generation of listeners. And who would be playing? The Czech Philharmonic, of course! The problem was that the orchestra was already so busy that their participation in such concerts was out of the question. So the choice fell to the former Prague Student Orchestra, an ensemble with many years of tradition of a youthful, enthusiastic approach to music. This worked wonderfully, because the students in the audience saw their peers on stage. For these concerts, the ensemble took the name Czech Student Orchestra. Bound by their love of music, these musicians gave performances from 2006 to 2010 under the leadership of the conductor Marko Ivanović, playing such works as Janáček’s Sinfonietta, Dvořák’s New World Symphony, Cello Concerto, and Te Deum, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet suite.

When new management took over in 2011, the Czech Philharmonic greatly expanded its educational activities, and that was an opportunity for renewal of the student orchestra’s activities, renamed as the Czech Student Philharmonic. The idea is to give the rising generation of musicians – mostly students at music schools, whether grammar schools with a music emphasis, conservatoires, or academies of music – the regular opportunity of rehearsing and performing great symphonic, concertante, and choral works. Over time, the efforts turned towards creating a permanent orchestra that would support its members in the perfecting of their ensemble playing and in the creation of long-term relationships and mutual understanding. The Czech Student Philharmonic musicians also serve as “bearers of light” in relation to their peers by showing them that young people can love classical music and can present it enthusiastically to others.

Since the 2013/2014 season, the orchestra has been performing regularly at concerts of the Czech Philharmonic’s educational series Four Steps to the New World (under the baton of Marko Ivanović), and at the series Penguins at the Rudolfinum (with Vojtěch Jouza) and Who’s Afraid of the Philharmonic? (with Ondřej Vrabec). In April 2019, the Czech Student Philharmonic appeared with Ida Kelarová and the Čhavorenge children’s choir at Šun Devloro concerts – musical celebrations of International Romani Day. In November 2019, the orchestra played under the baton of Robert Kružík at the Students’ Day Concert with the participation of Joachim Gauck and Petr Pithart.

In June 2020 the conductor Simon Rattle came to Prague insisting that he did not want to conduct just the Czech Philharmonic, but also “some orchestra with young people”. When the choice fell to the Czech Student Philharmonic, that was an enormous challenge for its members. Sir Simon enjoyed working with the young musicians, and he was unsparing in his praise: “The Czech Student Philharmonic reminds me of the orchestra of the Verbier Festival, which is made up of the best music students from all around the world, led by players from the Metropolitan Opera. That’s the level they are on.” Those are nice, flattering words, but they also mean an enormous obligation for all of the young musicians, as far as their future is concerned. Each individually and all of them together have it within their reach through the power of their common bond to remain diligent and conscientious in their preparation and to concentrate as attentively as possible. In the autumn of 2020 they were able to play just two concerts with Josef Špaček in the dual role of soloist and conductor. “I would really like to work with them again sometime; they were so attentive and kind! I had an incredibly good time with them,” said Josef Špaček afterwards.

Compositions

Josef Suk
Meditace na staročeský chorál „Svatý Václave“ op. 35a

Ke kompozici Meditace na staročeský chorál op. 35a, podnítily Josefa Suka okolnosti související s první světovou válkou. Od svého přítele, lékaře a hudebního organizátora
Ferdinanda Pečírky se nedlouho po vypuknutí války v roce 1914 dozvěděl, že bude povinností zahajovat koncerty císařskou hymnou. Pečírka Sukovi navrhl vytvořit pro koncerty Českého kvarteta, jehož byl Suk sekundistou, skladbu citující starobylý svatováclavský chorál, jež by ideově vyvážila píseň Zachovej nám, Hospodine. Suk ve stručné kvartetní větě zpracoval chorální nápěv v pozdějším znění převzatém ze životopisu sv. Vojtěcha od Matěje Benedikta Boleluckého z roku 1668. Skladbě dominuje verš Nedej zahynouti nám ni budoucím, který je ideovým mottem celé kompozice. Meditaci České kvarteto poprvé provedlo v předvečer sv. Václava 27. září 1914 v Rudolfinu. V podstatě souběžně Suk zpracoval také verzi pro smyčcový orchestr, která poprvé zazněla v podání České filharmonie pod taktovkou Viléma Zemánka ve Smetanově síni 22. listopadu téhož roku. Po skončení války a vyhlášení Československa Suk k Meditaci přikomponoval dvě další vlastenecky laděná díla – symfonickou tryznu Legenda o mrtvých vítězích a sokolský pochod V nový život – a celé trilogii dal společné opusové číslo 35.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67

Po dokončení své Třetí symfonie v roce 1804 začal Ludwig vanBeethoven s prvními skicami díla, které by dále rozvíjelo tutéž ideu – boj završený šťastným vítězstvím. Vlastní kompozice Symfonie č. 5 c moll op. 67, která z těchto skic vzešla, probíhala v letech 1807–1808 souběžně se Šestou symfonií. Obě díla poprvé zazněla na koncertě v Divadle na Vídeňce 22. 12. 1808.

Svou Pátou symfonií pokračoval Beethoven ve svém úsilí o koncipování symfonie jako celistvého hudebního útvaru neustále gradujícího od začátku až do finále, nikoli sledu samostatných vět, z nichž by hudebně nejzávažnější byla první věta, jak tomu bylo zvykem do té doby. Současně propojil všechny věty důsledným monotematismem – důrazný motiv, který symfonii otevírá a který jí dal na základě Beethovenova údajného výroku o bušení osudu na bránu později přídomek „Osudová“, proplouvá svým rytmem celým dílem. První věta uvedená zmíněným tématem je sevřenou sonátovou formou. Příznačná je její tónina c moll, ve starší barokní afektové estetice vyjadřující smutek a soužení, která byla v řadě dosavadních Beethovenových děl od Kantáty na smrt císaře Josefa II. přes Patetickou sonátu po smuteční pochod ze zmíněné Třetí symfonie atributem nejhlubší tragiky. Volná lyrická věta je variační formou se dvěma tématy zpracovanou na bázi ronda. Krajní části trojdílného scherza znovu operují se známým hlavním tématem první věty, jeho durové trio je energickým až tanečním fugatem. Na místě závěrečné reprízy nečekaně přijde mezihra, která vygraduje do radostného finále celé symfonie. Její extatický hymnický charakter podporují pochodové rytmy a výrazná instrumentace s významnou účastí dechových nástrojů. Beethoven zde využívá mimo jiné tří pozounů a vůbec poprvé ve své tvorbě i pikoly a kontrafagotu.

Antonín Dvořák
Leoš Janáček
Sinfonietta

Janáček had to wait sixty-two years for his first major success as a composer – in music history, one can hardly find a similar case of a composer’s career blooming so late. No one would dare call into question Janáček’s late works, as was done in Smetana’s case. The Great War meant the end of the Old World and its sophisticated cultural elite. The world had changed, and this was also reflected in the arts, including music. While most composers (often far younger than Janáček) were unwilling or unable to adapt their works to the spirit of the new era, Janáček bloomed like a rose of Jericho.

He became the pride of the Czechoslovak Republic, and in the course of just under a decade, he churned out his masterpieces – Taras Bulba, Sinfonietta, The Diary of One Who Disappeared, the two string quartets, the Glagolitic Mass, the Concertino for piano and chamber ensemble, and the Capriccio for piano (left hand) and wind ensemble. This is no mere listing of compositions; these works belong to the worldwide twentieth-century concert repertoire. Following the success of his long rejected opera Jenůfa, in just seven years he wrote four more operas – Káťa Kabanová, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Makropulos Affair, and From the House of the Dead. They have all entered the standard repertoire on stages around the world. Janáček still remains the most frequently performed Czech opera composer abroad.

“I have arrived here with the youthful spirit of our republic, with youthful music. I am not one of those who look back; rather I prefer to look forward”, said Janáček in England in April 1926 when he was composing the Sinfonietta. And the Sinfonietta is a truly perfect combination of everything for which a citizen of the First Czechoslovak Republic was striving: the glory of the nation, the development of the Sokol movement, and the security of the republic. After the Prague premiere, in the newspaper Lidové noviny Boleslav Vomáčka described the composing of the Sinfonietta on the basis of information he had received directly from Janáček: the composer is said to have gone with misgivings to hear fanfares “of a kind he had never heard before” played by a brass band of soldiers in “historical costumes” in the South Bohemian town of Písek. The experience was brought back to his mind by the newspaper Lidové noviny, which asked him to “write ‘a few notes’ on their behalf for a Sokol ceremony”. Janáček thought it over only briefly, “then the idea flashed into his mind: Sokol members – red shirts – fanfares! And he immediately sketched out some fanfares, but from them, the music suddenly began to grow, movement by movement, until after the short period of just three weeks, the maestro had before him the finished score of the Sinfonietta.” Music for a special occasion thus gave rise to a great work that has enormously enriched the Czech symphonic repertoire.

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