Photo illustrating page  Czech Philharmonic Semyon Bychkov

Czech Philharmonic

Semyon Bychkov

Czech Philharmonic

The dark atmosphere of Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony ushers in its dramatic character and its compositional seriousness. Dvořák wanted to create a work referencing the traditions of Beethoven and Brahms and he succeeded in doing so without sacrificing any of his melodic inventiveness and creative light touch.

Subscription series A

Detlev Glanert
Prague Symphony
Lyric Fragments after Franz Kafka for Mezzosoprano, Bassbaritone and Orchestra (world première) (40')

Antonín Dvořák
Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70 (35')


Daniela Sindram mezzo-soprano
Albert Pesendorfer bass-baritone

Semyon Bychkov conductor

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic Semyon Bychkov
Rudolfinum — Dvorak Hall
24 Mar 2021  Wednesday — 7.30pm
Available seats
25 Mar 2021  Thursday — 7.30pm
Available seats
26 Mar 2021  Friday — 7.30pm
Available seats
Price from 290 to 1400 Kč

Customer Service of Czech Philharmonic

Tel.:  +420 227 059 227


Customer Service office hours are on weekdays from 09:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m. July, August from 09:00 a.m. to 03:00 p.m.

The dark atmosphere of Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony ushers in its dramatic character and its compositional seriousness. Dvořák wanted to create a work referencing the traditions of Beethoven and Brahms and he succeeded in doing so without sacrificing any of his melodic inventiveness and creative light touch. Dvořák composed it on commission for London’s Philharmonic Society. Knowing that Beethoven had written his Ninth Symphony for the same society, he wanted to compose a work that would be “capable of stirring the world”. After the première at St. James Hall, Dvořák described the public’s reaction as follows: “The symphony was well liked and the audience acknowledged me and welcomed me in the most ostentatious fashion. There was pandemonium after every movement, rousing to the very end, just like at home, in fact. But this is, as always, a minor concern for me. The important thing is that the symphony, even with only two rehearsals, went superbly.” The London première took place in the spring of 1885 and in the autumn that followed, Dvořák already conducted it at the Rudolfinum. Conductors Hans Richter, Arthur Nikisch, and Hans von Bülow made the Seventh Symphony famous around the world. After the Berlin première, Dvořák wrote into von Bülow’s score enthusiastically: “Hurrah! You have brought this work to life!”

The first half of the concert also gives us a chance to experience the excitement of witnessing a world première of a new work. Detlev Glanert is practically one of Semyon Bychkov’s “court” composers; Bychkov has already conducted his Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch in Prague in 2020. Glanert’s compositional style is influenced by the music of Mahler and Ravel. As a successful opera composer who uses the communicative power of the human voice, Glanert has also chosen to include two vocal soloists in his Prague Symphony.


Daniela Sindram  

Albert Pesendorfer  bass baritone

The Austrian bass Albert Pesendorfer studied singing and flute at the Bruckner University in Linz and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. From 2002 to 2005 he held a full-time engagement at the theatre in Erfurt, during the 2005/2006 season at the Tyrolean State Theatre in Innsbruck and from 2006 to 2011 at the State Opera in Hanover. In 2012 he joined the company of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he sang until 2016.

Since then, among the places where he has performed are the Vienna State Opera, the Hamburg State Opera, the Cologne Opera, the National Opera in Tokyo, the Zurich Opernhaus, the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Semperoper in Dresden, the Theater an der Wien, and the Flemish Opera in Antwerp. He has performed at important opera festivals including an appearance in the summer of 2014 in Bregenz as Sarastro and in 2016 in Bayreuth as Hagen in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung under the baton of Marek Janowski. He excelled in the same role with enormous success at the Vienna State Opera under the baton of Ádám Fischer.

Albert Pesendorfer’s repertoire encompasses more than seventy roles including Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger), Gurnemanz (Parsifal), Fasolt (Rheingold), Hunding (Die Walküre), Hagen (Götterdämmerung), King Mark (Tristan und Isolde), King Heinrich (Lohengrin), Osmin (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Rocco (Fidelio), Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Philip II (Don Carlos), and Banquo (Macbeth). In 2011 the journal Opernwelt nominated him for the title of Singer of the Year for his portrayals of the roles of Hunding and Hagen at the Hanover State Opera.

Concert performances have taken Albert Pesendorfer to the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Musikpalast in Budapest, the Brucknerhaus in Linz, the Philharmonie in Berlin, London’s Barbican Hall, Japan, the United States, and elsewhere. His debut with the Czech Philharmonic also belongs on this list.

Since the winter semester of 2015, Albert Pesendorfer has been a professor of singing at the Universität der Künste in Berlin.

He can now be heard at the Vienna Volksoper as Timur (Turandot), Hemit (Der Freischütz), and Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), and he has enjoyed especially great success as Sebastian Kundrather in the opera Kehraus um St. Stephan by Ernst Krenek.

During the 2019/2020 season, Pesendorfer is returning to the title role in Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov at the Vienna Volksoper.

Semyon Bychkov  conductor
Semyon Bychkov

Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov was born in Leningrad in 1952, immigrated to the United States in 1975, and has been based in Europe since the mid-1980s. Like the Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov has one foot firmly in the cultures both of the East and the West.

Following his early concerts with the Czech Philharmonic in 2013, Bychkov and the Orchestra devised The Tchaikovsky Project, a series of concerts, residencies and studio recordings which allowed them the luxury of exploring Tchaikovsky’s music together. Its first fruit was released by Decca in October 2016, followed in August 2017 by the release of the Manfred symphony. The project culminates in 2019 with residencies in Prague, Vienna and Paris, and Decca’s release of all Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, the three piano concertos, Romeo & Juliet, Serenade for Strings and Francesca da Rimini.

Fourteen years after leaving the former Soviet Union, Bychkov returned to St Petersburg in 1989 as the Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor, the same year as he was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris. His international career had taken off several years earlier when a series of high-profile cancellations resulted in invitations to conduct the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1997, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, and the following year, Chief Conductor of the Dresden Semperoper.

Bychkov conducts the major orchestras and at the major opera houses in the U.S. and Europe. In addition to his title with the Czech Philharmonic, he holds the Günter Wand Conducting Chair with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with which he appears annually at the BBC Proms, and the honorary Klemperer Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. He was named “Conductor of the Year” at the 2015 International Opera Awards. On the concert platform, the combination of innate musicality and rigorous Russian pedagogy has ensured that Bychkov’s performances are highly anticipated. With repertoire that spans four centuries, the coming season brings two weeks of concerts with the New York Philharmonic, which includes the US première of Thomas Larcher’s Symphony No. 2, and the Cleveland Orchestra where he will conduct Detlev Glanert, Martinů and Smetana. In Europe, his concerts include performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and the Royal Concertgebouw.

Bychkov’s recording career began in 1986 when he signed with Philips and began a significant collaboration which produced an extensive discography with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris. Subsequently a series of benchmark recordings – the result of his 13-year collaboration (1997–2010) with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne – include a complete cycle of Brahms’s Symphonies, and works by Strauss, Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Verdi, Detlev Glanert and York Höller. His recording of Wagner’s Lohengrin was voted BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year in 2010; and his recent recording of Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic was selected as BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Month.


Detlev Glanert — Prague Symphony

Detlev Glanert — Lyric Fragments after Franz Kafka for Mezzosoprano, Bassbaritone and Orchestra

Antonín Dvořák — Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70

Zcela jiný svět, než na jaký jsme u Dvořáka zvyklí, představuje jeho Symfonie č. 7 d moll op. 70. Postrádá slovanskou melodiku, bohaté větvení myšlenek, folklorní inspiraci i nezdolný optimismus. Odkud se v této skladbě najednou vzala chmurná, temná nálada, vzdor, pochybnosti a patos? Podle některých badatelů za to mohl autorův vnitřní konflikt mezi vlastenectvím a kosmopolitismem, touhou a vnějším očekáváním, ve dvořákovské literatuře se také často píše o tvůrčí krizi, jíž hudebník procházel a jež jako by v této symfonii vrcholila. Nasnadě je i souvislost s opusy Johannesa Brahmse, Dvořákova objevitele a velkého osobního vzoru, jehož symfonie se staly Dvořákovi silnou inspirací a výzvou. On sám si do partitury poznamenal, že hlavní téma první věty vymyslel v roce 1884 při vjezdu slavnostního vlaku několika stovek maďarských Čechů a Maďarů do Prahy, kteří přijeli navštívit Národní divadlo. V napjaté společenské atmosféře šlo více o politickou než kulturní událost, doprovázenou navíc rozsáhlými manifestacemi, ovšem nemůžeme s jistotou říci, že podobu symfonie ovlivnila tehdejší politická situace.

Sedmou symfonii začal Dvořák psát na popud londýnské Filharmonické společnosti, jež ho zároveň jmenovala čestným členem, přičemž nabídku pojal jako skvělou příležitost zkomponovat něco opravdu výjimečného a vyrovnat se jak Brahmsovi, tak Beethovenovi. A vskutku, tato symfonie je považována za Dvořákovu nejsymfoničtější skladbu, jež je sice intimní, ale zároveň nadmíru dramatická, dokonale vyrovnaná z hlediska formy a obsahu, instrumentačně úsporná, myšlenkově soudržná, skoro až sevřená, zkrátka beethovensko-brahmsovská.

První věta v sonátové formě začíná zlověstně ostrým tématem, jež posléze promění kontrastní smířlivá myšlenka. Poté na něj opět padne stín a celá věta končí podobně rezignovaně, jako začala. Skutečné zklidnění přináší druhá věta, již lze vnímat jako modlitbu duše, následuje rytmicky výrazné, temné scherzo s dramatickou melodií. Ve čtvrté větě dochází konečně k zásadnímu zlomu, heroickému vzedmutí vůle, jež vyústí v plné osvobození.

Premiéra Sedmé symfonie se uskutečnila 22. dubna roku 1885 v londýnské St. James Hall pod Dvořákovým vedením a byla až na ojedinělé výjimky nadšeně přijata laickým publikem i kritikou. Česká premiéra se konala 29. listopadu téhož roku v pražském Rudolfinu.