In the concluding evening of concert series K, Josef Špaček will appear with
the marvellous Spanish contrabass player Uxía Martínez, and with their colleagues they will present a Schubert string quartet masterpiece orchestrated by Mahler.
Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 3
Gran Duo Concertante for violin and double bass
Franz Schubert / arr. G. Mahler
String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D 810 (“Death and the Maiden”)
Uxía Martínez Botana
Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra
violin, artistic director of the project
“It is the fulfilment of a dream we shared with Jiří Bělohlávek: after two years of preparations, we are ushering in regular concerts of the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. This name does not stand for one particular ensemble; instead it represents a project in which the orchestra members will be performing in various chamber groups,”said David Mareček, Chief Executive Officer of the Czech Philharmonic, in the spring of 2018. Jiří Bělohlávek was convinced that it was healthy for the Czech Philharmonic to play in a smaller ensemble. In a smaller orchestra, with a repertoire spanning the Baroque to the present, the musicians can hone the intonation, phrasing and collaboration of individuals within the whole. The Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, consisting exclusively of the members of the Czech Philharmonic put together for a specific occasion, has been officially established in the 123rd season. For its debut performances this season in front of the Prague public, it has chosen Reinhard Goebel, Jiří Rožeň, Ondřej Vrabec, Jana Brožková, Simona Šaturová, Josef Špaček and Uxía Martínez Botana. We can look forward to the bold plans for this new project in the following seasons of the Czech Philharmonic.
UXÍA MARTÍNEZ BOTANA
Selected by the American bass magazine No treble as one of the world top 10 bass players and recognised by the international critics for her “great intensity and exceptional technique”, Uxía Martínez Botana started her double bass studies at the early age of 6 with the bass player Witold Patsevich. She continued her studies in Spain and later in the Netherlands at the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam where she finished her double bass bachelor with Peter Stotijn and Baroque bass with Maggie Urquhart.
She got her first professional contract with the Symphony Orchestra of Galicia (Spain) at the age of 16. Later, Uxía has worked as a bass player in orchestras such as The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Netherlands Philharmonisch Orkest under the direction of Marc Albrecht and The Amsterdam Sinfonietta under the direction of Candida Thompson. Uxía has been Guest Principal Double Bass at the Philharmonie Zuid-Nederland, Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO), Orchestre D’Auvergne, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) and Antwerp Symphony Orchestra. She is currently the Principal Double Bass of the Brussels Philharmonic. Since January 2016 she is as well the Principal Double Bass of the Weinberger Kammerorchester (Zurich) under the direction of Gábor Takács-Nagy. Since 2018 she is also Double Bass teacher at the ESMUC College of Music of Catalonia in Barcelona (Spain).
Beside her work in orchestras, Uxía Martínez Botana has developed a brilliant career as a soloist and as a chamber musician. As bass soloist, some of her outstanding performances were in 2012 the premiere of works by composer Wladimir Rosinskij in the festival “Two days and Two nights of New Music” Odessa (Ukraine) acclaimed as “powerful and breathtaking”. In 2010 Her interpretation of Parable XVII by Vincent Persichetti has been acclaimed by the international critic as “astonishing emotional intensity and master control over the instrument”. In 2014 She had her solo debut at the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam) with “The New European Ensemble”. In February 2017 she had as well her solo debut with the Symphony Orchestra of Galicia under the baton of Dima Slobodeniouk premiering works by Wladimir Rosinskij. In 2019 she had her solo debut with Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and violinist Josef Špaček. She has also performed solo recitals in the Luxembourg Philharmonie Hall, Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.
Uxía Martínez Botana is regulary invited to participate in important festivals all over Europe: The Gergiev Festival (Netherlands), Schleswig Holstein International Chamber Music Festival, Spanungen (Germany), Kuhmo International Chamber Music Festival (Finland), The Kronberg Academy “Chamber Music Connects the World” and “Masters in Performance of the Kronberg Academy”(Frankfurt, Germany), Musiqʼ3 Festival (Belgium), Stellenbosch International music Festival (South Africa) Schubertiade Schwarzenberg Hohenems (Austria) among many others.
Uxia is as well the founder of the Rubik Ensemble formed by six international soloist: Nikita Boriso Glebsky (violin), Solenne Paidassi (violin), David Cohen (cello), Dana Zemtsov (viola), Uxía Martínez Botana (double bass) and Andreas Hering (piano).
Uxía Martínez Botana has been selected by the Stichting National Muziekinstrumenten Fonds (The Dutch National Instruments Foundation) as one of their artist. In February 2016 she received the English Double Bass known as “The English Lady ”(1800 ca.), the instrument belongs to the “Willem Vogelaar” collection. She also plays a “Ludwig Neuner” (1854) loaned by a private sponsor.
violin, artistic director of the project
Josef Špaček is fast emerging as one of the most accomplished violinists of his generation. He studied with Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School in New York, Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and with Jaroslav Foltýn at the Prague Conservatory. He was a laureate of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and won top prizes at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in Denmark and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York.
Highlights during the 2017/2018/2019 seasons include a return visit to the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Marc Albrecht, as well as debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Capitole de Toulouse and Thomas Søndergård, the Bamberger Symphoniker and Manfred Honeck, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Maxim Emelyanchev, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Michael Sanderling, the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and David Zinman, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Aziz Shokhakimov, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and Tomáš Netopil, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Christian Vásquez, the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen and Daniel Blendulf and the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra and Lio Kuokman. He continues to appear as a soloist of the Czech Philharmonic for concerts, both in Prague and on tour, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, Jakub Hrůša and Thomas Adès.
Previous highlights include subscription concerts with the Czech Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, a return visit to the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino and James Conlon, his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek, his Berlin debut with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Thomas Sanderling, his Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Thomas Søndergård, his Tokyo debut with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša and debuts with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto and Gerard Korsten, the Sønderjylland Symphony Orchestra and Johannes Wildner and the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen and Adrien Perruchon (recorded by Mezzo Live HD TV), as well as recital debuts in among others Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and La Jolla, San Diego.
In addition to the above-mentioned orchestras, Josef Špaček has appeared across Europe, the US and Asia with orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Essener Philharmoniker, Tonkünstlerorchester Niederösterreich, Orchestre National de Belgique, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony and Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
The late Jiří Bělohlávek was an avid supporter of Josef Špaček and regularly invited him. Other conductors he works with include Semyon Bychkov, James Conlon, Christoph Eschenbach, Asher Fisch, Valery Gergiev, Roy Goodman, Jakub Hrůša, Manfred Honeck, Eliahu Inbal, Jun Märkl, Rossen Milanov, Tomáš Netopil, Thomas Sanderling and Thomas Søndergård.
Josef Špaček gives recitals and takes part in chamber music festivals in Europe (among others at the Rudolfinum in Prague, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Evian Festival, Kaposfest and Schloß Elmau), Asia and the USA (i.a., Kennedy Center, La Jolla, ChamberFest Cleveland and Nevada Chamber Music Festival).
Supraphon released a highly praised recording of the violin concertos by Dvořák and Janáček, and of the Fantasy by Suk, with the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek (“Recording of the Week” of The Sunday Times, “Recording of the Month and of the Year” of MusicWeb International and 5* in Diapason), as well as a recital CD with works for violin and piano by Smetana, Janáček and Prokofiev with pianist Miroslav Sekera. In 2010 he recorded works by H. W. Ernst for Naxos. His first CD, released in 2006, includes a complete recording of the Sonatas for Solo Violin by Eugène Ysaÿe.
He has served as concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the youngest in its history. The orchestra has named him “Associate Artist” as of January 2016.
Josef Špaček performs on the ca. 1732 “LeBrun; Bouthillard” Guarneri del Gesù violin, generously on loan from Ingles & Hayday.
Giovanni Bottesini won fame both as the conductor of the world premiere of Verdi’s Aida and as a great contrabass virtuoso and composer of many works for that instrument, which was an extreme rarity in a solo role at the time. The course of the life of the future “Paganini of the contrabass”, as Bottesini later came to be know, was determined by chance. His father did not have enough money to pay for Giovanni’s studies at the Milan Conservatoire, so the boy was unable to attend without earning a scholarship, and those were only being offered for two instruments at the time: contrabass and bassoon. The young Bottesini prepared for his successful entrance audition in a matter of weeks, and after a few years he began his successful career as a touring solo contrabassist.
The Gran Duo Concertante for Violin and Contrabass was originally a duo concertante for two contrabasses. In an attempt to make the work more viable, the composer rewrote one of the contrabass parts for solo violin shortly after the premiere. This is the version of Bottesini’s little one-movement piece that is most frequently played.
Ottorino Respighi composed his three suites of Ancient Airs and Dancesduring the period after he had been appointed as professor of composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Caecilia in Rome in 1913. The suites are also related to Respighi’s scholarly interest in Italian music of the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries and his efforts to familiarise his contemporaries with this wealth of music. All three suites are only partially Respighi’s own, because he employs historical musical material, for which he merely creates a new “arrangement”.
Suite No. 3 is written for strings alone. The second movement is Respighi’s tribute to the music of the Burgundian lutenist Jean-Baptiste Besard, and in the fourth movement he uses a Passacaglia for Baroque guitar by Lodovico Roncalli. In the other movements, he combines lute pieces by Santino Garsi da Parma with music by other composers whose names are not known to us.
In comparison with the other compositions on today’s concert, the String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D 810 (“Death and the Maiden”) by Franz Schubert is the most urgently dramatic, and its musical architecture is more sophisticated – especially in the expansive first two movements. The quartet takes its name from the second movement, in which Schubert presents the melody of his song Death and the Maiden (1817) and some lovely variations. In a musical dialogue, a girl sends death away because life is so beautiful and sweet, but death urges her to give him her hand and yield to his embrace, in which she will find quiet and rest. The use of this song in his 1824 string quartet is connected with the very difficult period that preceded its composition, when Schubert was facing worries over his health and finances.
Schubert’s urgent musical message is usually conveyed by four musicians – the four players of a string quartet. Mahler made an arrangement for string orchestra (i.e. with contrabasses and with a large number of players playing each part in the score) in the 1890s. When the second movement was performed at that time, some critics complained that in the orchestral version, the work made too genteel an impression, lacking tension. Mahler had arranged the entire quartet, but he never again played a note of it. It was finally discovered in the 1980s in the estate of his daughter Anna, and since then it has been heard on the concert stage.
This website uses to provide services, personalize ads, and analyzing traffic cookies.