Photo illustrating page  Lisa Batiashvili Czech Phil: The Spring Stars III

Czech Phil: The Spring Stars III • Lisa Batiashvili


Czech Philharmonic

There will be a huge debut within the series Spring Stars of the Czech Phil. Lisa Batiashvili, who is one of the most renowned musical artists of today, will present herself for the first time with the orchestra. She chose the third violin concerto by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Duration of the programme 1 hod 20 min

Programme

Camille Saint Saëns
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61 (29')

— Intermission (10') —

Johannes Brahms
Variations on a Theme by Haydn in B flat major, Op. 56a (19')

Antonín Dvořák
Symphonic Variations, Op. 78 (23')

Performers

Lisa Batiashvili violin

Jakub Hrůša conductoor

Czech Philharmonic

Marek Eben host

Photo illustrating the event Czech Phil: The Spring Stars III Lisa Batiashvili

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

14 Apr 2021  Wednesday 8.15pm

Live stream

Concert will be broadcasted on ČT art on 14th April at 8.15pm. It will be available only in the Czech Republic.

Concert will be broadcasted on ČT art on 14th April at 8.15pm. It will be available only in the Czech Republic.

Concert will be broadcasted on ČT art on 14th April at 8.15pm. It will be available only in the Czech Republic.

Performers

Lisa Batiashvili  violin

“Batiashvili’s fearless playing is so tonally rich and technically immaculate.” (The Guardian)

Lisa Batiashvili, the Georgian-born German violinist, is praised by audiences and fellow musicians for her virtuosity. An award winning artist, she has developed long-standing relationships with the world’s leading orchestras, conductors and musicians.

Batiashvili is also the Artistic Director of Audi Sommerkonzerte, Ingolstadt. For the 2019 festival – ‘Fantastique’ – Batiashvili curated a diverse programme featuring artists such as Daniel Harding with Bayerische Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Gautier Capuçon, Les Vents Francais and Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. For the 2020 festival, Batiashvili will design a programme to celebrate Audi’s anniversary year.

In the 2019/2020 season Batiashvili performs with, among others, the Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Berlin Staatskapelle / Daniel Barenboim, London Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle, Orchestre de Paris / Lahav Shani, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig / Andris Nelsons, and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich / Paavo Järvi.

Recording exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon, Lisa’s latest album – ‘Visions of Prokofiev’ (Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Yannick Nézet-Séguin) – won an Opus Klassik Award and was shortlisted for the 2018 Gramophone Awards. Earlier recordings include the concertos of Tchaikovsky and Sibelius (Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim), Brahms (Staatskapelle Dresden / Christian Thielemann), and Shostakovich No. 1 (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Esa-Pekka Salonen).  

Bastiashvili has had DVD releases of live performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker / Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Bartók Violin Concerto No.1) and with Gautier Capuçon, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann (Brahm’s Concerto for Violin and Cello). 

She has won several awards: the MIDEM Classical Award, the Choc de lʼannée, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana International Prize, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festivalʼs Leonard Bernstein Award and the Beethoven-Ring. Batiashvili was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year in 2015, was nominated as Gramophone’s Artist of the Year in 2017, and in 2018 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Sibelius Academy (University of Arts, Helsinki).

Lisa lives in Munich and plays a Joseph Guarneri “del Gesù” from 1739, generously loaned by a private collector.

For further information please visit the homepage http://lisabatiashvili.com/.

Jakub Hrůša  conductor
Jakub Hrůša

Born in the Czech Republic, Jakub Hrůša is Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.

He is a frequent guest with many of the world’s greatest orchestras. Recent performing highlights include debuts with the Vienna Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, and NHK Symphony, to all of which he was immediately re-invited. In addition to his titled positions, he also enjoys close relationships with the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony.

As a conductor of opera, he has been a regular guest with the Glyndebourne Festival, conducting Vanessa, The Cunning Little Vixen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmen, The Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni, and La bohème and serving as the Music Director of Glyndebourne on Tour for three years. Elsewhere he has led productions for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Carmen), Vienna State Opera (The Makropulos Case), Zurich Opera (The Makropulos Case), and Opéra National de Paris (Rusalka). His relationships with leading vocal and instrumental soloists have included collaborations in recent seasons with Behzod Abduraimov, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piotr Anderszewski, Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Joshua Bell, Jonathan Biss, Yefim Bronfman, Rudolf Buchbinder, Renaud Capuçon, Isabelle Faust, Bernarda Fink, Martin Fröst, Julia Fischer, Vilde Frang, Sol Gabetta, Véronique Gens, Christian Gerhaher, Kirill Gerstein, Vadim Gluzman, Karen Gomyo, Augustin Hadelich, Hilary Hahn, Barbara Hannigan, Alina Ibragimova, Janine Jansen, Karita Mattila, Leonidas Kavakos, Sergey Khachatryan, Denis Kozhukhin, Lang Lang, Igor Levit, Jan Lisiecki, Albrecht Mayer, Johannes Moser, Viktoria Mullova, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Kristine Opolais, Stephanie d’Oustrac, Emmanuel Pahud, Olga Peretyatko, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Josef Špaček, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov, Simon Trpčeski, Mitsuko Uchida, Klaus Florian Vogt, Yuja Wang, Frank Peter Zimmermann, and Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider.

As a recording artist, recent releases have included Dvořák and Brahms Symphonies with Bamberg Symphony (Tudor), Suk’s Asrael Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony (BR Klassik), and Dvořák’s Requiem and Te Deum with the Czech Philharmonic (Decca). In 2020, two of his recordings – Dvořák and Martinů Piano Concertos with Ivo Kahánek and the Bamberg Symphony (Supraphon) and Vanessa from Glyndebourne (Opus Arte) – won BBC Music Magazine Awards.

Jakub Hrůša studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where his teachers included Jiří Bělohlávek. He is currently President of the International Martinů Circle and the Dvořák Society, and was the inaugural recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize. In 2020, he received both ICMA and Grammy® nominations, and was awarded the Antonín Dvořák Prize by Czech Republic’s Academy of Classical Music.

Marek Eben  host
Marek Eben

Compositions

Camille Saint-Saëns
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61

The French composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) earned respect for his exceptional musical talent, excellent education and profound knowledge and organizational and pedagogical skills. He was a child prodigy who at the age of five performed Beethoven’s piano sonatas in public. Further successes soon followed. He studied composition and playing the organ at the Paris Conservatory (and became a top European organist), and later went on many concert tours, co-founded the Société Nationale de Musique in Paris (1871), and devoted himself to music criticism and also some scientific disciplines. He won many awards and accolades and represented the artistic elite, but he was also a complex and moody man with a tendency to depression. He befriended several celebrities, such as Franz Liszt, but his family life was not happy. At the end of the 1880s, he lost his privileged position at home because of the change in fashion, and became a representative of a rather conservative stream; his elegant musical style and craft was perceived by the up and coming Impressionists as obsolete.

During his tours through Europe, Saint-Saëns visited Prague twice, in 1882 and 1886. Each time it was an important social affair, culminating in his appearance at a concert in the roles of piano virtuoso, conductor and composer. On his first visit, Saint-Saëns met Bedřich Smetana, whom he held in high esteem. Saint-Saëns’s second visit to Prague was connected with the staging of his opera Henry VIII at the Königlich Deutsches Landestheater (Royal Provincial German Theater), but the plan failed due to some disagreement. However, the rejection on the part of the Germans was counterbalanced by the warm reception on the part of the Czechs, with Saint-Saëns’s concert at the National Theater.

Today, only a part of Saint-Saëns’s large body of work consisting of all genres is performed – such as several chamber compositions, concerts, symphonies, the suite Le Carnaval des Animaux [The Carnival of the Animals] and the symphonic poem Danse macabre. Violin Concerto No. 3 in A minor, Op. 61 dates from 1879–1880 and was inspired, among other things, by the famous Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate, who presented it to the public for the first time on 15 October 1880 at a concert by the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra. This composition gives an opportunity for soloists to show off their brilliant technique and highlight lyrical romantic passages. The introductory fast movement (Allegro non troppo) is followed by the slow Andantino quasi allegretto, whose sound is reminiscent of Saint-Saëns’s opera Samson et Dalila from 1877. The final movement (Molto moderato e maestoso – Allegro non troppo) is built on two contrasting themes and a dialogue between the soloist and the orchestra, bringing the whole composition to a jubilant close.

Johannes Brahms
Variations on a Theme by Haydn in B flat major, Op. 56a

The German composer Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) represents a synthesis between Classicism and Romanticism. In his Variations on a Theme by Haydn in B flat major, Op. 56a he approached the traditional form of variation with respect, but filled it with late Romantic harmony and melody. Brahms composed this work during his summer vacation in 1873 at Tutzing in Bavaria. This was not the first time when Brahms worked with the form of variations: he had previously composed piano variations on the themes by Schumann, Handel and Paganini. In addition to the orchestral version, Opus 56 also includes an alternative version for two pianos.

Up to now the authorship of the theme is not known. Carl Ferdinand Pohl, an archivist of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, found an interesting divertimento for the winds which he showed to his friend Brahms. Brahms was especially taken by its second movement, bearing the heading “St. Anthony Chorale”. Whether this divertimento was written by Joseph Haydn, as supposed by Pohl, or another composer (Ignaz Pleyel came into consideration), Brahms processed the motif of “St. Anthony Chorale” in his Variations, Op 56 in a very successful way. He did not conceal the classical character of the theme, but aptly utilized color contrasts and a dialogue between wind and string instruments. The composition begins with the actual theme followed by eight variations and a finale. Brahms alternates fast and slow sections, dance (scherzo, waltz) with counterpoint; three variations are written in a minor key – it is hard to say which one is the most beautiful. It can be the monumental Finale built as a passacaglia with an ostinato bass, or a fervent fourth variation, again with a masterful counterpoint. The orchestral version of the Variations on a Theme by Haydn was first heard in the Great Hall of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna on 2 November 1873 with Brahms as a conductor. After this accomplishment, Brahms subsequently created his other great symphonic works.

Antonín Dvořák
Symphonic Variations, Op. 78

The world-famous and popular orchestral variations also include, in addition to Brahms’s Variations, Op. 56, Symphonic Variations, Op. 78 by Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904). Dvořák wrote this composition between 6 August and 28 September 1877 upon the request of Ludevít Procházka, who wanted to present a new work by this Czech composer at a charity concert to raise money for the construction of a new church in Prague’s district of Smíchov. The basis for Dvořák’s Variations was the musically ingenious theme from his own piece for a male choir I Am a Fiddler, which he wrote at the beginning of the same year. At first, Dvořák designated his composition by Opus No. 38, but Procházka premiered it on 2 December 1877 as Opus 40. When the composition came out in print in 1888 in Berlin (11 years after its inception), the publisher Simrock changed the Opus No. to 78 so that it was not regarded as juvenilia.

The second performance of Symphonic Variations in a new form on 6 March 1887 under Dvořák’s baton was a great success with the public at home, and it was soon presented to critical acclaim abroad. The Fiddler theme uses a Lydian fourth and has an uncommon metric structure; the theme itself is followed by 28 variations and a closing fugue. The basic key is C major with nine variations moving off into different keys. The composition shows instrumental mastery and exceptional imagination in the endless modification of the basic theme. The famous conductor Hans Richter, who performed the Variations in London and Vienna in 1887, highly praised the Variations and was astonished that Dvořák had kept such music “in a drawer” for ten years.

It cannot be excluded that Dvořák modeled his composition after Brahms’s Variations on the Theme by Haydn, which were heard in April 1877 at the Proksch Music Institute in Prague. At any case at the late 1870s the two composers established a life-long friendship and were interested in each other’s music. Their compositions were performed at the same concerts (for example, Brahms’s Piano Concerto in D minor was added to the premiere of Symphonic Variations), and even attended some successful performances together. To this day, orchestral variations by Brahms and Dvořák often appear side by side on a concert program or occur in a recording.

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