Czech Philharmonic performs with Petr Altrichter and German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott at Osaka's Symphony Hall as a part of the orchestra's 2017 tour of Asia.
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Carnival overture, Op. 92
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto no. 5 in E-flat major „Emperor“
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 "From The New World"
Alice Sara Ott
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) created five piano concertos, leaving unfinished the sixth one which he began in 1815. He built on Mozart’s legacy and developed it further in the presentation of the solo part; he strived for the unity of thought within movements as well as in their mutual relationship, and expanded the harmonic means. The introduction of Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5 in E flat major Op. 73 confirms the main key; then comes the orchestral exposition which is repeated in modified harmonies. The whole first movement oscillates between the major and minor keys; the change of moods is supported by a contrast of the thematic material. The second movement anticipates the Romantic period by its meditative lyricism. Its conclusion features the theme of the final movement, which moves from the second movement into the third one without interruption. Formally, it is a sonata rondo with an extensive coda.
Piano Concerto in E flat major was composed in 1809 and completed in February 1810; Beethoven dedicated it to his pupil and patron Archduke Rudolf of Habsburg. That same year the concert was published in London; the epithet Emperor was coined by its English publisher. In 1811 the score was also published by Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, where on 28 November 1811 the concerto had its world premiere at the Gewandhaus with the soloist Johann Christian Friedrich Schneider. The Vienna premiere the following year, on 11 February 1812, was performed by another pupil of Beethoven, Carl Czerny. Within a very short time Piano Concerto in E flat major became the most popular of all five piano concertos by Beethoven.
In 1892 Dvořák accepted an invitation to the United States for three years and became the director of the National Conservatory in New York. After a short stay overseas, in the winter of 1893 he started working on his new Symphony No. 9 in E minor ‘From the New World’. This composition was conceived in order to prove Dvořák’s theory regarding the use of the characteristic elements of African-American and Native-American music for the emergence of the ‘American national school’, which did not exist at the time of Dvořák’s sojourn in the United States. Experts have debated for more than one hundred years about whether Dvořák used in his symphony specific tunes of Negro songs or not. Dvořák himself gave an ambiguous answer to this question. Once he said, “I’m just finishing a new Sinfonia in E minor. Well, everyone who has instincts must feel the influence of America.” At another time he made a seemingly contradictory statement: “It has been and always will be Czech music.” Another question is to what extent Dvořák could really get to know American music during such a short period of his stay in America, and how much he actually wished to create something for America, which in the beginning treated him so generously and which was certainly very fascinating for him. Structurally, the Ninth Symphony has a very precise, almost textbook form of individual movements. Subconsciously, however, Dvořák must have “quoted” at least one of the familiar tunes since the theme of the first movement is noticeably reminiscent of the Negro spiritual Swing Low Sweet Chariot. The second movement, Largo, might have been inspired by The Song of Hiawatha, while the third movement of the symphony has, according to Dvořák, “something of the Indian character”. In the final fourth movement Dvořák has combined all the themes of the symphony. This perfect management of form in connection with imaginative melodies, harmonies and instrumentation mastery form together a truly unique work of genius. Finally, let us quote from The New York Times in 1893: “We Americans should thank and honor the Bohemian master who has shown us how to build our national school of music.”
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