Photo illustrating page  Petr Altricher The Czech Phil:  Live in your living room III

The Czech Phil: Live in your living room III • Petr Altricher


Czech Philharmonic

Two Czech Philharmonic players will present themselves under the baton of Petr Altrichter: violinist Jan Mráček and cellist Ivan Vokáč. They will play Double Concerto in A Minor by Johannes Brahms. Then you will have a chance to enjoy Suite in A major by Antonín Dvořák in interpretation of the firts Czech orchestra.

Duration of the programme 1 hod 15 min

Programme

Johannes Brahms
Double Concerto in A Minor, Op. 102 (32')

Antonín Dvořák
Suite in A major, Op. 98 (19')

Performers

Jan Mráček violin
Ivan Vokáč violoncello

Petr Altrichter conductor

Marek Eben presenter

Photo illustrating the event The Czech Phil:  Live in your living room III Petr Altricher

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

13 Dec 2020  Sunday 8.20pm
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Concert will be broadcasted on ČT art and streamed on facebook pages of the Czech Philharmonic and other partners on 13th December at 8.20pm. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland it will be available only on Takt1.

Concert will be broadcasted on ČT art and streamed on facebook pages of the Czech Philharmonic and other partners on 13th December at 8.20pm. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland it will be available only on Takt1.

Concert will be broadcast on ČT art and streamed on facebook pages of the Czech Philharmonic and other partners on 13th December at 8.20pm. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland it will be available only on Takt1.

Performers

Jan Mráček  violin
Jan Mráček

The Czech violinist Jan Mráček was born in 1991 in Pilsen and began studying violin at the age of five with Magdaléna Micková. From 2003 he studied with Jiří Fišer, graduating with honors from the Prague Conservatory in 2013, and until recently at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna under the guidance of the Vienna Symphony concertmaster Jan Pospíchal.

As a teenager he enjoyed his first major successes, winning numerous competitions, participating in the master classes of Maestro Václav Hudeček – the beginning of a long and fruitful association. He won the Czech National Conservatory Competition in 2008, the Hradec International Competition with the Dvořák concerto and the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra in 2009, was the youngest Laureate of the Prague Spring International Festival competition in 2010, and in 2011 he became the youngest soloist in the history of the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2014 he was awarded first prize at Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition at the Vienna Konzerthaus. When the victory of Jan Mráček was confirmed, there was thunderous applause from the audience and the jury. The jury president announced, “Jan is a worthy winner. He has fascinated us from the first round. Not only with his technical skills, but also with his charisma on stage.”

Jan Mráček has performed as a soloist with the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and Romanian Radio Symphony (both under Sascha Goetzel), Lappeenranta City Orchestra (Finland), Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK), Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra and almost all Czech regional orchestras.

Jan Mráček had the honor of being invited by Maestro Jiří Bělohlávek to guest lead the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in their three concert residency at Vienna’s Musikverein, and the European Youth Orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda and Xian Zhang on their 2015 summer tour.

In 2008 he joined the Lobkowicz Piano Trio, which was awarded first prize and the audience prize at the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, Austria in 2014. His recording of the Dvořák violin concerto and other works by this Czech composer under James Judd with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra was recently released on the Onyx label and has received excellent reviews.

In addition to his British debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, in season 2017/2018 Jan Mráček made his American debut with the St Louis Symphony under Han-Na Chang, with the Symphony of Florida with James Judd, debuts in Dubai with the Vienna Concert Verein and in China with the Slovenian Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic under Manuel López-Gómez as well as recitals at festivals in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Greece. In April 2017 he made his Swiss debut with the Tchaikovsky concerto as an Orpheum Foundation soloist in Zurich’s Tonhalle with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Fedoseyev. In July 2017 he performed with the Asian Youth Orchestra in Tokyo. In November 2018, Jan Mráček played Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Prague Symphony Orchestra again under the direction of Vladimir Fedoseyev.

Jan Mráček plays on a Carlo Fernando Landolfi violin, Milan 1758, generously loaned to him by Mr Peter Biddulph.

Ivan Vokáč  violoncello
Ivan Vokáč

Ivan Vokáč has been a member of the Czech Philharmonic’s cello section since January 2014. He graduated from Prague Conservatory and the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts under Miroslav Petráš, and has taken masterclasses in Kronberg (with Steven Isserlis and Boris Pergamenshchikov) and Plzeň (with Raphael Wallfisch).

As a soloist he has appeared at a number of festivals both in the Czech Republic (Talichův Beroun, Mladá Praha and Mladé pódium) and abroad (Festival lʼEté Musical en Bergerac in France and Music Home Alive Festival in the Netherlands). He is a member of three chamber ensembles: Lobkowicz Trio, Prague Cello Quartet and Escualo Quintet, playing piano in the last. He has regularly appeared on Czech Radio and Television.

Ivan Vokáč has been awarded many prizes in international competitions, of which the most important include those won in Liezen, Austria in 2002, in the Dotzauer competition in Dresden in 2005 and at the Bohuslav Martinů competition in Prague in 2008. In 2006, together with Jakub Junek on violin, he was the overall winner of the radio competition Concertino Praga. In 2010 he won a scholarship from Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe, and in 2012 he was a semi-finalist and the most successful Czech participant in the international competition Prague Spring. Most recently he has won the International Leoš Janáček Competition in Brno in 2013.

As a member of Taras Piano Trio he has received top prizes at international competitions “Internationaler Johannes Brahms Wettbewerb” (in Pörtschach, Austria, 2007) and “Rovere dʼOro” (San Bartolomeo, Italy, 2008).

As a member of Lobkowicz Trio he was acclaimed at the Antonín Dvořák international chamber music competition (third prize and special award for best performance of a piece by Dvořák) and won for a second time the first prize at international Johannes Brahms competition in Pörtschach, Austria.

Petr Altrichter  conductor
Petr Altrichter

PETR ALTRICHTER
conductor

Petr Altrichter is one of the most distinguished Czech conductors, and he has earned an illustrious reputation for the dynamism and depth of his interpretations of symphonic music. He was raised in a musical family and played musical instruments from a young age. Having graduated from the Conservatory in Ostrava as a French horn player and conductor, he continued his studies at the Janáček Academy of the Performing Arts in Brno in orchestral conducting under Otakar Trhlík and František Jílek and choral conducting with Josef Veselka and Lubomír Mátl. After completing his studies in Brno, he worked as a choirmaster and conductor with the Brno Academic Choir, and contributed to the winning of many prizes at foreign choral competitions and festivals (Middlesbrough, Debrecen…).

Altrichter attracted international attention in 1976, when he won second prize and a special prize of the jury at the renowned International Conducting Competition in Besançon, France. Based on this achievement he began to work with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra as an assistant of Václav Neumann, which started his artistic career. Not long after that, he began to receive invitations to conduct orchestras abroad. After working with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, in 1988 he became the principal guest conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra and in 1991 he was appointed its chief conductor. With that orchestra, he made frequent foreign tours to Japan, the USA, Switzerland, Germany, France, and other countries. At the same time he also closely collaborated with the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice, with which he often gave performances abroad introducing many gifted young soloists (such as Isabelle van Keulen and Radek Baborák).

From 1993 to 2004 he also worked as the Music Director of the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Constance, Germany, with which he gave concerts regularly at the Tonhalle in Zurich and at the KKL in Lucerne, and also toured Switzerland and Italy. Having made his U.K. debut with the Prague Symphony Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival in 1990, Petr Altrichter made his London debut with the English Chamber Orchestra 1993. He then conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1994 to a great critical acclaim. He was subsequently appointed its Principal Conductor, a post he held from 1997 until 2001. With this orchestra he appeared at the 2000 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and made several highly-praised recordings on the orchestra’s own label, RLPO live.

In 2001 Altrichter was invited to become the Chief Conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, and he remained there for seven years, returning to the orchestra with which he had been associated since his student days and which he continues to guest conduct up to this day. He is also a regular guest of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he has maintained a steady artistic relationship since his beginnings there as an assistant conductor, and of the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he recorded an award-winning CD with Antonín Dvořák’s music. Since the 2018/2019 season, he has been a permanent guest conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he has been working for many years.

In 2015 he toured Germany with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and in late 2015 and early 2016, he toured China with the same orchestra. At the beginning of the 2017/2018 season, he conducted the Czech Philharmonic at the Dvořák Prague International Festival and later toured very successfully in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan with the same orchestra. In the spring of 2017 he toured Japan with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. In 2018 he toured the United Kingdom with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. In May 2019 he will be touring with the Czech Philharmonic in China.

Altrichter has appeared as a guest conductor with many leading international orchestras, including Japan’s NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. In the United Kingdom he has collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestras he has guest conducted also include the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra in Baden-Baden, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra in Riga, the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra in Copenhagen and the Odense Symphony Orchestra.

He is a frequent guest at festivals such as Prague Spring, Janáček May in Ostrava, Smetana’s Litomyšl, Moravian Autumn in Brno, and the Bratislava Music Festival. He has made guest appearances at major festivals in Salzburg, Edinburgh, Avignon, Athens, Cheltenham, Paris, Madrid, Chicago, Zurich, Lucerne, Seville, Palermo, and elsewhere.

The bulk of Petr Altrichter’s repertoire consists of Czech music (Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, and Bohuslav Martinů), Russian music (especially Dmitri Shostakovich), and the works of Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner. Outstanding soloists and performers from around the world (Garrick Ohlsson, John Lill, Tabea Zimmermann and others) value his flexibility in leading orchestral accompaniments, and they seek out collaboration with him.

Compositions

Johannes Brahms
Double Concerto in A Minor, Op. 102, for violin, cello, and orchestra

Allegro
Andante
Vivace ma non troppo

At his time, Johannes Brahms was considered a completely old-fashioned composer. Although he lived and worked in the era of Late Romanticism and on top of that was heavily influenced by Robert Schumann, i.e., a romantic composer par excellence, he soon found that this composition style did not suit him. Brahms preferred being inspired by the musical past, especially by the masters of the Late Baroque and Classicism. He wrote only absolute music and never turned his attention to programmatic music typical of Romanticism. Interestingly, Brahms was also not attracted to the opera, which he had never attempted. Like the great composers of the previous eras, Brahms was a master of pure and clear form. However, it would be wrong to think that this prominent composer was a conservative reactionary, as was claimed by his opponents, especially the followers of the New German School. His oeuvre is clearly distinguishable from the compositions of previous periods. Brahms updated classical forms and was not afraid to use innovative harmonic practices.

Brahms wrote four symphonies, three string quartets and other chamber music pieces. The number of his vocal compositions is high as well, consisting of songs and choral music. Worthy of note is his German Requiem (Ein deutsches Requiem), inspired by the death of his mother. It is based on biblical texts selected by Protestant-raised Brahms from Luther’s German translation of the Bible. He also created four instrumental concertos: two for piano, one for violin and Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102, for violin, cello and orchestra. The latter composition does not represent any formal return to the Baroque concerto grosso; both solo instruments play their autonomous parts, engaging in a dialogue with each other, individually with the orchestra, and sometimes in unison with the orchestra. It is actually the first use of violin and cello together as solo instruments in an instrumental concert. In terms of form, this work is reminiscent of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra, or Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano with orchestral accompaniment.

Brahms’s Double Concerto came into being during the summer of 1887. At the very beginning of the composition there are two solo cadenzas – after a short introduction, the cello exposes the first theme; the following musical idea is begun by the orchestra in the first movement in sonata form, while the second solo instrument completes it. The calm pace of the second movement gives soloists a rest before the fast final movement, where both of their instruments hardly stop, presenting passionate imitation dialogues in fast music notes. Double Concerto had its world premiere on 18 October 1887 in Cologne with the solo parts being performed by renowned virtuosos of the time for whom this last orchestral piece by Brahms was intended from the beginning – the violinist Joseph Joachim and the cellist Robert Hausmann.

Antonín Dvořák
Suite in A major, Op. 98b

Andante con moto
Allegro
Moderato alla polacca
Andante
Allegro

At the end of February 1894, Dvořák sent a letter across the ocean to Alois Göbl in Sychrov about the great success of his masterpieces (as he himself described them) – the Symphony in E minor, the String Quartet in F major, and the Quintet in E flat major. He also mentioned in passing the completion of a violin sonatina and a suite for piano. The Suite in A major for piano, Op. 98, on which he worked from 19 February to 1 March, is the fifth work that Dvořák composed in America. Unlike the previous works, it was not premiered there (its first performance in concert was given on 6 December 1894 in Rychnov nad Kněžnou by Josef Sallač), and unjustly, it remains a bit overshadowed by the famous compositions of this period. In a letter sent to his publisher Fritz Simrock that April, Dvořák rated the Suite in A major for piano and the Biblical Songs as “the best music I have yet written in this field”, and Simrock soon issued the suite in print. A year later, Dvořák arranged the suite for symphony orchestra, but that version was never heard during the composer’s lifetime. It was finally played on 1 March at the Rudolfinum in Prague by the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Karel Kovařovic. Simrock then published it in 1911 in Berlin from among the materials in the composer’s estate. The orchestra brings a greater diversity of contrasting moods to the individual movements. With its rich palette of colours, it adds more detail and depth to passages where the piano alone was not enough. With its lighter form and content, the suite contrasts with the monumental compositions Dvořák was writing at around that time. The Suite in A major is not intended as a synthesis of an old style based on a reference to traditions. The form of the suite allows Dvořák to combine several little Romantic gestures into a greater whole without pre-defined limitations on their interrelationships. Dvořák chose a series of five movements with differing themes and character, and each movement uses a different compositional technique for the treatment of its themes. The solemn first movement serves as a prelude setting the mood of the whole cycle, the second movement is analogous to a symphonic scherzo, the third movement is a rondo with a main theme that is reminiscent of the character of a polonaise or of a Czech dance known as the “sousedská”, and the lyrical fourth movement is something like a dreamy nocturne. Through a return of the theme of the first movement in the coda of the finale, Dvořák creates a thematic link that brings the whole suite to its logical conclusion

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