Photo illustrating page  Daniil Trifonov, Selina Ott and Semyon Bychkov  Opening Concerts of the Season

Opening Concerts of the Season

Daniil Trifonov, Selina Ott and Semyon Bychkov

Czech Philharmonic

We are dedicating the opening concerts to the memory of Václav Neumann; the 100th anniversary of his birth falls on 29 September. Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto will by one of the best pianists of today, Daniil Trifonov, whose honours include victory at the Tchaikovsky Competitions in Moscow, a Grammy, and a Gramophone Award.

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Duration of the programme 2 hod
Programme

Dmitri Shostakovich
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35 for piano, trumpet, and strings (21')
–––
Antonín Dvořák
Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88 (34')

Performers

Daniil Trifonov piano
Selina Ott trumpet

Semyon Bychkov conductor

Photo illustrating the event Daniil Trifonov, Selina Ott and Semyon Bychkov  Opening Concerts of the Season
Rudolfinum — Dvorak Hall
23 Sep 2020  Wednesday — 7.30pm
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24 Sep 2020  Thursday — 7.30pm
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Price from 200 to 1900 Kč

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Concert on the 24th of September will be broadcasted by Mezzo Live HD and ČT art.

Performers

Daniil Trifonov  piano

Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year award winner, Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov has made a spectacular ascent of the classical music world as a solo artist, champion of the concerto repertoire, chamber and vocal collaborator and composer. “He has everything and more … tenderness and also the demonic element,” marvelled pianist Martha Argerich. In 2018, Trifonov won his first Grammy Award for the Best Instrumental Solo Album with Transcendental, a Liszt collection he recorded as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist.

In the 2020–2021 season, Beethoven’s music is especially prominent in Trifonov’s programming, including concerts with Vasily Petrenko and the Berlin Philharmonic. He will appear with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under Zubin Mehta. Further collaborations find Trifonov perform with the Czech Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov or with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. In recital, he tours his acclaimed “Decades” program and gives all-Bach recitals around the world. To round out the season, he gives duo recitals with cellist Gautier Capuçon across Europe.

Last season, Trifonov was the Artist-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic and gave the New York premiere of his own Piano Quintet. Previous highlights include a tour with the London Symphony and Sir Simon Rattle, residencies with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic. In 2017–2018, he performed a seven-concert Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” series, crowned by his own piano concerto with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. He played under Riccardo Muti in the gala finale of the Chicago Symphony’s 125th celebrations and headlined the Berlin Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve concert under Sir Simon Rattle. He toured Asia with the Czech Philharmonic and Rome’s Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Europe with the London Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has given solo recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Japan’s Suntory Hall and Parisian Salle Pleyel. He made his debut at London’s BBC Proms in 2013.

Trifonov won medals at three of the music world’s most prestigious competitions, taking Third Prize in Warsaw’s Chopin Competition, First Prize in Tel Aviv’s Rubinstein Competition, and both First Prize and Grand Prix (for the best overall competitor in any category) in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition. In 2016 he was named Gramophone’s Artist of the Year.

Last fall’s release of Destination Rachmaninov: Arrival, marked the third volume of the Deutsche Grammophon series Trifonov recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, following Destination Rachmaninov: Departure, BBC Music’s 2019 Concerto Recording of the Year, and Rachmaninov: Variations, a 2015 Grammy nominee. Deutsche Grammophon also released Chopin Evocations, which pairs the composer’s works with those by the 20th-century composers he influenced.

Born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1991, Trifonov began his musical training at the age of five, and went on to attend Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music as a student of Tatiana Zelikman, before pursuing his piano studies with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has also studied composition and continues to write for piano, chamber ensemble and orchestra.

Selina Ott  trumpet

As first woman ever in the seventy-year history of the ARD International Music Competition Munich Selina Ott was awarded 1st Prize in the category trumpet in September 2018 at the age of only 20.
Subsequently, she has been invited to perform with leading orchestras such as the WDR Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich and the Czech Philharmonic, at international festivals like Bachfest Leipzig, Grafenegg, Rheingau Musik Festival, Sauerland Herbst, Festival Emergents Barcelona, Herbstgold Festival Eisenstadt, Musikfest Bremen and SWR Schwetzinger Festspiele, and at concert halls such as Wiener Konzerthaus, Musikverein Wien, Philharmonie Berlin and the Rudolfinum Prag.
She has already made her solo debut with such orchestras as the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Hamburger Symphoniker, Haydn Philharmonie, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Collegium Musicum Basel, Philharmonische Orchester Hagen at the Kölner Philharmonie, Philharmonie Essen, Mozarteum Salzburg and the Musical Theater Basel.
Selina Ott started her music studies at the age of five years on the piano. One year later, she began to study trumpet with her father Erich Ott. She continued her studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with Martin Mühlfellner and at the University of Music in Karlsruhe with Reinhold Friedrich. In 2020 Selina graduated with distinction (Bachelor of Arts) in the class of Roman Rindberger at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (MUK).
In addition, she attended masterclasses of Gabor Tarkövi, Jens Lindemann, Kristian Steenstrup, Allen Vizzutti, Bo Nilsson, Hans Gansch, Guillaume Couloumy, and Klaus Schuhwerk.
In her young career Selina Ott has been awarded eight times the first prize of the Austrian prima la musica competition in the category trumpet solo on regional and national level, and she received the first prize of the 2017 Lions Music Prize.

Semyon Bychkov  conductor
Semyon Bychkov

Semyon Bychkov’s second season as the Czech Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor and Music Director saw the culmination of The Tchaikovsky Project started in 2015 before Bychkov's appointment to the Orchestra. In addition to the release on Decca Classics of all of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, the three piano concertos, Romeo & Juliet, Serenade for Strings and Francesca da Rimini, Bychkov and the Orchestra gave Tchaikovsky residencies in Prague, Tokyo, Vienna and Paris and appeared together for the first time at the BBC Proms. Highlights in Prague included the first time that Bychkov led the Orchestra in Smetana’s Má vlast.

In the 2020/21 season, the focus moves from Tchaikovsky to Mahler with performances of the symphonies scheduled both at home and abroad. New music will also be brought to the fore when Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic give the world premières of works by Bryce Dessner, Detlev Glanert and Thomas Larcher: three of the fourteen composers – nine Czech, five international – whose new commissions were initiated by Bychkov at the start of his tenure. Following their premières in Prague, Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic have performances in Vienna, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and London featuring Dessner's Symphony and Larcher's Piano Concerto, composed for Kirill Gerstein.

Recognised for his interpretations of the core repertoire, Bychkov has also worked closely with many extraordinary contemporary composers including Luciano Berio, Henri Dutilleux and Maurizio Kagel. In recent seasons he has collaborated with René Staar, Thomas Larcher, Richard Dubignon, Detlev Glanert and Julian Anderson, conducting premières of their works with the Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms.

In common with the Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov has one foot firmly in the culture of the East and the other in the West. Born in St Petersburg in 1952, Bychkov emigrated to the United States in 1975 and has lived in Europe since the mid-1980's. Singled out for an extraordinarily privileged musical education from the age of 5, Bychkov studied piano before winning his place at the Glinka Choir School where, aged 13, he received his first lesson in conducting. He was 17 when he was accepted at the Leningrad Conservatory to study with the legendary Ilya Musin and, within three years had won the influential Rachmaninov Conducting Competition. Denied the prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic, Bychkov left the former Soviet Union.

By the time Bychkov returned to St Petersburg in 1989 as the Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor, he had enjoyed success in the US as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. His international career, which began in France with Opéra de Lyon and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, took off with a series of high-profile cancellations which resulted in invitations to conduct the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. In 1989, he was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris; in 1997, Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne; and the following year, Chief Conductor of the Dresden Semperoper.

Bychkov’s symphonic and operatic repertoire is wide-ranging. He conducts in all the major houses including La Scala, Opéra national de Paris, Dresden Semperoper, Wiener Staatsoper, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Teatro Real. Madrid. While Principal Guest Conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, his productions of Janáček’s Jenůfa, Schubert’s Fierrabras, Puccini’s La bohème, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov each won the prestigious Premio Abbiati. New productions in Vienna include Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and Daphne, Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal, and Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina; while in London, he made his debut with a new production of Strauss’ Elektra, and subsequently conducted new productions of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten and Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Recent productions include Wagner’s Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival and Strauss’s Elektra at the Wiener Staatsoper.

On the concert platform, the combination of innate musicality and rigorous Russian pedagogy has ensured that Bychkov’s performances are highly anticipated. In the UK, in addition to regular performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, his honorary titles at the Royal Academy of Music and the BBC Symphony Orchestra - with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms – reflect the warmth of the relationships. In Europe, he tours frequently with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Munich Philharmonic, as well as being a frequent guest of the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Orchestre National de France and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; in the US, he can be heard with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras. This season, in addition to extensive concert and recording commitments with the Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov's guest conducting engagements include concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw, the Munich and Berlin Philharmonics, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

Bychkov made extensive recordings for Philips with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris. Later, his 13-year collaboration (1997-2010) with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne produced a series of benchmark recordings that included works by Strauss (Elektra, Daphne, Ein Heldenleben, Metamorphosen, Alpensinfonie, Till Eulenspiegel), Mahler (Symphony No. 3, Das Lied von der Erde), Shostakovich (Symphony Nos. 4, 7, 8, 10, 11), Rachmaninov (The Bells, Symphonic Dances, Symphony No. 2), Verdi (Requiem), a complete cycle of Brahms Symphonies, and works by Detlev Glanert and York Höller. BBC Music Magazine voted Bychkov's recording of Wagner’s Lohengrin Disc of the Year in 2010; and his recording of Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic Record of the Month, while Record Review’s Building a Library on BBC Radio 3 chose his recording of César Franck’s Symphony in D minor as their Recommended Recording. In 2015, Semyon Bychkov was named Conductor of the Year by the International Opera Awards.

Compositions

Dmitri Shostakovich — Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35 for piano, trumpet, and strings

Dmitri Shostakovich was one of the greatest symphonists not only of the twentieth century, but also of all of music history. His fifteen symphonies composed between 1925 and 1971 mirror half a century of life in the Soviet Union when the crushing weight of history in that part of the world was destroying human lives. After the First World War – the self destruction of worldwide European hegemony – there were many Russian artists reporting on the dramatic developments in their ingenious works (the writer Bulgakov, for example), and Shostakovich was unquestionably among them. We can hardly imagine Shostakovich composing outside of Russia. Unlike Stravinsky or Prokofiev who were successful abroad, Shostakovich was a “chronicler”, and in his works we read and hear a description of what was happening to people in the Soviet Union. His music was largely subject to its political and cultural context, so it cannot be seen in black and white – the search for a compromise between the free expression of an artistic idea and the unimaginably powerful pressure of the all-important state ideology led to the creation of highly disparate works. The fact that we can recognise the same composer in his propaganda music and in his Thirteenth Symphony (“Babi Yar”) is proof of Shostakovich’s musical genius.

For his First Piano Concerto (1933), Shostakovich chose the sparse instrumentation of a string orchestra with the addition of a single solo trumpet. Optimistic and light in mood, the four-movement neo-baroque composition employs a relatively traditional formal layout: the first movement is in sonata form, the second in three-part song form, the third is a brief intermezzo, and the fourth is in a relaxed sonata form. A certain youthful wildness (the composer was just 27 years old) appears mainly in the first movement with the rapid alternation of a large number of highly varied themes. Into his concerto, Shostakovich organically incorporated several musical quotes, and the attentive listener may notice not only quotes of the composer’s own music (The Age of Gold, Poor Columbus), but also snippets of such works as Beethoven’s Appasionata, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, and Mahler’s Third Symphony. The musical aesthetics scholar Miloš Jůzl fittingly described the music’s character: “Joy of life – that is perhaps how one might convey the concerto’s overall mood. The composer is having a lot of fun, and the unsuspecting listener is left somewhat unsettled.”

The work makes considerable demands on both soloists. The composer himself gave the first performance of the concerto on 15 October 1933, and Alexander Schmidt played the solo trumpet part. Conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic was the Austrian conductor and composer Fritz Stiedry (who had been Gustav Mahler’s assistant at the Vienna Court Opera).

Antonín Dvořák — Symfonie č. 8 G dur op. 88 „Anglická“

Rok 1889, ve kterém vznikla Symfonie č. 8 G dur op. 88, byl pro jejího autora úspěšný. Dostal nabídku profesora skladby na Pražské konzervatoři, Národní divadlo mu uvedlo premiéru opery Jakobín, byl vyznamenán Řádem železné koruny. Dvořák se nacházel v pozitivním životním období, ve kterém u něj sílil pocit vyrovnanosti a životní radosti.

Zájem o skladatelovy kompoziční aktivity byl dále posílen jeho úspěšnými pobyty v Anglii. Svému anglickému příteli klavíristovi a skladateli Francescu Bergerovi v dopise ze dne 8. září 1889 píše: „Velmi děkuji za Váš laskavý dopis, ve kterém se mě ptáte, zda mám něco nového pro Vaše koncerty. Pravděpodobně to bude nová symfonie, na které nyní pracuji; je zde pouze otázka, zda budu schopen ji dokončit včas.“Do práce na Osmé symfonii byl Dvořák ponořen od 28. srpna do 8. listopadu, a to převážně na svém letním sídle ve Vysoké, kde se cítil nejlépe.

Dobrá tvůrčí atmosféra byla ale narušena roztržkou s jeho „dvorním“ nakladatelem Simrockem. Vydavateli se Dvořákovy finanční požadavky zdály přehnané. Snažil se ho přimět ke komponování drobnějších a jednodušších skladeb, neboť velká a náročná orchestrální díla se mu nezdála dostatečně rentabilní. Autor ovšem nehodlal slevit ze svých uměleckých představ, a tak na tři roky přerušil se Simrockem spolupráci. Svůj opus 88 vydal u londýnské firmy Novello. Symfonie tak proto získala později podtitul „Anglická“.

Osmá symfonie si v základních rysech – čtyřvětosti a tempovém rozvržení vět – zachovává stavbu klasické symfonie. Dílo ale překvapuje mnoha inovacemi, pestrým sledem proměnlivých nálad od pastorálních obrazů přes intonace taneční a pochodové až k dramaticky vypjatým plochám. Je to kantabilní a diatonická skladba, ze které je patrná skladatelova náklonnost k české a slovanské lidové hudbě. Jak sám autor poznamenává, usiloval o zpracování témat a motivů v jiných než „obvyklých, všeobecně užívaných a uznaných formách".

Premiéra se uskutečnila pod Dvořákovým vedením 2. února 1890 v Rudolfinu v rámci populárních koncertů Umělecké besedy a následně 24. dubna téhož roku v Londýně při koncertu tamní Filharmonické společnosti v St. James’s Hall. Dvořák symfonii následně dirigoval ještě mnohokrát: 7. listopadu 1890 ve Frankfurtu nad Mohanem, 15. června 1891 v Cambridge při příležitosti udělení čestného doktorátu tamní univerzitou, 12. srpna 1893 v Chicagu a 19. března 1893 znovu v Londýně. Ohlasy, které následovaly po provedeních, jsou samostatnou kapitolou. Dvořák byl anglickým tiskem označen za jediného z žijících skladatelů, který může být oprávněně nazýván Beethovenovým nástupcem: „Ten jediný, ačkoli se stejně jako Brahms snaží držet Beethovenovy školy, je schopen přinést do symfonie zřetelně nový prvek.“

Vídeňský kritik Eduard Hanslick zase píše: „Celé toto Dvořákovo dílo, jež patří k jeho nejlepším, lze chválit za to, že není pedantické, ale při vší uvolněnosti nemá zároveň k ničemu tak daleko jako k naturalismu. Dvořák je vážným umělcem, který se mnohému naučil, ale navzdory svým vědomostem nepozbyl spontánnost a svěžest. Z jeho děl mluví originální osobnost a z jeho osobnosti vane osvěžující dech něčeho neopotřebovaného a původního.“

Zanedbatelný není ani komentář samotného skladatele po Londýnské premiéře: „Koncert dopadl skvěle, ba tak, jak snad nikdy předtím dříve. Po první větě byl aplaus všeobecný, po druhé větší, po třetí velmi silný tak, že jsem se musel několikrát obracet a děkovat, ale po finále byla pravá bouře potlesku, obecenstvo v sále, na galeriích, orkestr sám, i za ním u varhan sedící, tleskalo tolik, že to bylo až hrůza, byl jsem několikrát volán a ukazovat se na pódium – zkrátka bylo to tak hezké a upřimné, jak to bývá při premiérách u nás doma v Praze. Jsem tedy spokojen a zaplať pánbůh za to, že to tak dobře dopadlo!“