Copied
{{item.Category}}
{{item.Title}}
{{item.DescriptionShort}}
Show all results

No results found

The term you entered does not match any records. Try changing your search term.

Search

Czech Philharmonic • London


At the first of two evenings at London’s BBC Proms, the Czech Philharmonic will present itself in traditional, proven repertoire. Famed Royal Albert Hall will resound first to Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with Anastasia Kobekina, followed by Suk’s Asrael Symphony. All of this will be heard under the baton of the orchestra’s principal guest conductor Jakub Hrůša.

Programme

Antonín Dvořák 
Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 

Josef Suk 
Asrael. A funeral symphony for large orchestra in C minor, Op. 27

Performers

Anastasia Kobekina cello

Jakub Hrůša conductor

Czech Philharmonic

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic • London

London — BBC Proms

Tickets available from the presenter
Tickets and contact information

To purchase online, visit the event presenter's website.

Performers

Anastasia Kobekina  cello

Jakub Hrůša  principal guest conductor

Jakub Hrůša

Born in the Czech Republic, Jakub Hrůša is Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, Music Director Designate of The Royal Opera, Covent Garden (Music Director from 2025), Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. 

He is a frequent guest with the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Vienna, Berlin, Munich and New York Philharmonics; Bavarian Radio, NHK, Chicago and Boston Symphonies; Leipzig Gewandhaus, Lucerne Festival, Royal Concertgebouw, Mahler Chamber and The Cleveland Orchestras; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Tonhalle Orchester Zürich. He has led opera productions for the Salzburg Festival (Káťa Kabanová with the Vienna Philharmonic in 2022), Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera House, and Opéra National de Paris. He has also been a regular guest with Glyndebourne Festival and served as Music Director of Glyndebourne On Tour for three years.

His relationships with leading vocal and instrumental soloists have included collaborations in recent seasons with Daniil Trifonov, Mitsuko Uchida, Hélène Grimaud, Behzod Abduraimov, Anne Sofie Mutter, Lisa Batiashvili, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Rudolf Buchbinder, Gautier Capuçon, Julia Fischer, Sol Gabetta, Hilary Hahn, Janine Jansen, Karita Mattila, Leonidas Kavakos, Lang Lang, Josef Špaček, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Alisa Weilerstein and others. 

As a recording artist, Jakub Hrůša has received numerous awards and nominations for his discography. Most recently, he received the Opus Klassik Conductor of the Year 2023 prize and the ICMA prize for Symphonic Music for his recording of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for his recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, both with Bamberg Symphony. In 2021, his disc of Martinů and Bartók violin concertos with Bamberg Symphony and Frank Peter Zimmermann was nominated for BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone awards, and his recording of the Dvořák Violin Concerto with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Augustin Hadelich was nominated for a Grammy Award. 

Jakub Hrůša studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where his teachers included Jiří Bělohlávek. He is President of the International Martinů Circle and The Dvořák Society. He was the inaugural recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize, and in 2020 was awarded both the Antonín Dvořák Prize by the Czech Republic’s Academy of Classical Music, and – together with Bamberg Symphony – the Bavarian State Prize for Music. 

Compositions

Antonín Dvořák
Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104

At the end of his stay in America, Antonín Dvořák wrote his Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 (B191), his most famous work in the genre alongside his concertos for piano (G minor, Op. 33) and violin (A minor, Op. 53). Yet he had long regarded the cello, an instrument that supposedly “whines up high and mumbles down low”, as unsuitable for solo playing, and he basically discarded his first, youthful attempt at writing a cello concerto. His opinion of the cello changed under the influence of wonderful performers: Hanuš Wihan, with whom he had played in a piano trio during his “farewell tour”, and the American composer and cellist Victor Herbert, Dvořák’s colleague at the conservatoire in New York. Dvořák was truly captivated by Herbert’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 30 (1894). He began work on sketches for his own concerto in B minor on 8 November 1894, just ten days later he began orchestrating it, the score was finished on 9 February 1895, and he made a major revision to the finale after returning to Bohemia.

The concerto consists of the usual three movements: the opening Allegro is composed in sonata form, the second movement (Adagio ma non troppo) is warmly lyrical, and the third movement (Finale. Allegro moderato) has the layout of an extended rondo with motivic connections to both preceding movements. The whole concerto exudes a sense of melancholy and desire for the homeland and for family. At the same time, there is an awareness of the impending return from the labyrinth of the world to the paradise of the heart; the music is very emotional and full of beautiful melodies as well as wonderful orchestration. It is no exaggeration to call it one of the most admired compositions of its genre. Dvořák himself was aware of the concerto’s exceptional qualities, referring to it in a letter to Josef Bohuslav Foerster as a work that brought him “outrageous joy” and that decidedly exceeds his two earlier concertos in importance. The cello and orchestra become such equal partners that the concerto has sometimes been described as Dvořák’s tenth symphony. The music’s intimate message is highlighted by a motif from Kéž duch můj sám (Leave Me Alone), a song in Dvořák’s cycle Four Songs, Op. 82 that was a particular favourite of the composer’s sister-in-law Josefina Kounicová. The motif is heard in the second movement and again in the finale, which was revised after Josefina’s death in May 1895.

The English cellist Leo Stern played the concerto’s premiere on 19 March 1896 in London with the Philharmonic Society under Antonín Dvořák’s baton. Stern studied the new concerto very diligently, being aware that it “is quite unlike any other cello concerto” and “is very difficult as regards intonation”. He acquitted himself honourably, however, so he also played the premieres in Prague (11 April 1896) and elsewhere. Although the Cello Concerto is dedicated to Hanuš Wihan, Prague audiences never heard him play it, a fact explained in part by a dispute over a cadenza, which Wihan wanted to add to the concerto, but which Dvořák resolutely refused. Mostly at fault, however, was Wihan’s busy schedule with commitments to the Bohemian Quartet and the Prague Conservatoire.

Josef Suk
Asrael. A funeral symphony for large orchestra in C minor, Op. 27

“Highly esteemed, dear friend! I am constantly thinking about you and remembering you with gratitude”, wrote Josef Suk to the conductor Karel Kovařovic in January 1907. “It is truly brilliant how you bring everything to life; everything is filled with spirit, and none of the other conductors [...] have so much feeling for the beauty of sound and shading.” The letter was sent from Berlin, where the Bohemian Quartet was on tour. Meanwhile in Prague, the orchestra of the National Theatre was preparing for the premiere of Suk’s Asrael Symphony under Kovařovic’s baton. Suk also asked that the announcements in the press report that the symphony was dedicated to the memory of Antonín Dvořák, who had died on 1 May 1904, and of Dvořák’s daughter Otilie, who had become Suk’s wife and died soon after her father on 6 July 1905. The dedication “to the exalted memory of Dvořák and Otilie” was printed in the first edition of the score. 

The composer named the symphony after the angel of death Azrael, a figure who appears in Eastern religions. A few years earlier, Suk had composed incidental music to Julius Zeyer’s fairy tale Radúz and Mahulena (1898) and music for the same poet’s dramatic legend Under the Apple Tree (1901). The subjects of both works and Suk’s musical treatment of them can be seen to foreshadow Asrael. A recollection may have led to associations with the angel of death and the choice of the title. Between 1890 and 1900, the National Theatre was giving performances of the operatic legend Asrael by the Italian composer Alberto Franchetti (1860–1942), who was for a time a competitor of Giacomo Puccini. The action takes place between heaven, earth, and hell, and it is the story of the love of two angels, Nefta and Asrael. Their love is ruined by the fallen angel Lucifer, whom Asrael must serve. Nefta descends to earth, and in the form of a nun she overcomes evil and fights for Asrael’s return to heaven. The public was fascinated with Orientalism and poetic symbolism in those days, and that helped the production get 60 performances in Prague, an unusually high number. Although we have nothing to document that Suk ever saw it, he could hardly have failed to notice the frequent discussions of the work and its descriptions in the press and in public forums.

Suk’s five-movement composition is divided into two parts. The first three movements are a remembrance of Dvořák, and the main idea is a fate motif that is heard initially in the first movement and that permeates the symphony. The second theme is derived from it, and another idea is a remembrance of happy times. Death announces itself in the next movement, then it carries off its victim in the third movement, which draws melodic material directly from Dvořák’s Requiem, among other things. The second part of the symphony belongs to Otilie, and in it a fervent song of love is disturbed by another tragic loss. Like Gustav Mahler’s symphonies, this is a programmatic symphony with content that is not formulated in words—everything is said by the dedication to two beloved persons. The premiere of the Asrael Symphony took place on 3 February 1907 at an afternoon concert of the orchestra of the National Theatre led by Karel Kovařovic. The other work on the programme was Dvořák’s Te Deum (the concert was repeated on 24 February). In describing the effect the symphony had on him, the music critic Emanuel Chvála concluded: “As a confession from life, this intimate work is of great value overall as an artistic statement. [...] It is our country’s most modern composition, and let us hope that it will become one of our most enduring works”. The symphony was performed again on 7 January 1912 with Vilém Zemánek leading the Czech Philharmonic augmented by players from the orchestra of the National Theatre. This was the first concert of the Czech Philharmonic in the newly built Municipal House. Then on 17 October 1919 the Asrael Symphony was heard with the same orchestra for the first time under the baton of Václav Talich, in whom the work found a congenial interpreter. Over the years, Talich gave the symphony more than 20 performances including one in 1922 while guest conducting in Vienna and another while working in Stockholm. He recorded the symphony with the Czech Philharmonic in 1952.

zrušit
Copied
{{item.Category}}
{{item.Title}}
{{item.DescriptionShort}}
Show all results

No results found

The term you entered does not match any records. Try changing your search term.