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Czech Chamber Music Society • Concert for the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Jiří Novák


Chamber ensembles | Czech Chamber Music Society

Programme

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violin Concerto in D major, K 216

Bedřich Smetana
String Quartet No. 1 in E minor “From My Life”

Performers

Hana Kotková violin

Wihan Quartet

Chamber Orchestra of the Pupils and Friends of Jiří Novák

Jiří Vejvoda commentary 

Photo illustrating the event Czech Chamber Music Society • Concert for the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Jiří Novák

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

Available seats
922
4
Tickets and contact information

Reservation of seats for current subscribers:
until 3 June 2024, 20.00
Sale of individual tickets for subscription concerts:
from 10 June 2024, 10.00
Ticket sales for all public dress rehearsals:
from 11 September 2024, 10.00

Customer Service of Czech Philharmonic

Tel.: +420 227 059 227
E-mail: info@czechphilharmonic.cz

Customer service is available on weekdays from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.

 

Performers

Hana Kotková  violin

Wihan Quartet  

Wihan Quartet

The Wihan Quartet has been described by International Record Review as: "one of the best quartets in the world today." In 2015 the Quartet celebrated 30 years since its formation, and over the years it has developed an outstanding reputation for the interpretation of its native Czech heritage, and of the many classical, romantic and modern masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire.

The Quartet’s recording of Dvorak Op.34/Op.105 was chosen as a "Recording of the Year" by MusicWeb International and BBC Music Magazine said of their Dvorak Op.61 recording: "This is the finest recorded performance I have encountered to date" The Wihan’s release of Schubert G Major received an "Outstanding" from International Record Review and The Sunday Times said of the recording: "This is playing of the highest quality…..Their tempo allows you to savor to the full the harmonic richness of this extraordinary music."

During the 2012/13 season the Quartet was Czech Chamber Music Society Resident Ensemble at the Rudolfinum Dvorak Hall, Prague. In 2008 the Quartet completed the first ever cycle of Beethoven Quartets in Prague and also repeated this cycle at Blackheath Halls, London. This landmark series of Beethoven concerts in Prague was recorded for release on CD and DVD for Nimbus Alliance and received many accolades.

The Wihan Quartet has won many International Competitions including The Prague Spring Festival and the Osaka "Chamber Festa". In 1991, they won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the London International String Quartet Competition. The Quartet are the "Richard Carne Quartet in Residence" at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London. They are also great supporters of the work of the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, which gives inspirational concerts and master classes to young people in many parts of the UK.

Jiří Zigmund, retired from the Wihan Quartet in 2014. The Quartet was very fortunate to find an excellent viola player in Jakub Čepický, son of Leoš, and his first recording with the Quartet of Suk, Dvorak and Janacek was released on Nimbus Alliance in 2016: "the Wihan Quartet give a very special performance of Dvorak's last and greatest quartet.....one of the most experienced and admired of chamber ensemble, The Wihan Quartet gives a deeply considered ensemble performance. The sweetness of tone achieved in the Adagio is remarkable and the first movement has irresistible impetus.....this CD shows the Wihan to be in fine form....." BBC Music Magazine, May 2016.

In 2017, after 32 years as a member of the Wihan Quartet, cellist Ales Kasprik retired from the Quartet. The Quartet have been very fortunate to find a wonderful cellist to perform with them: the excellent Michal Kanka, cellist with one of the best Czech string quartets, the Prazak Quartet.

Komorní orchestr žáků a přátel Jiřího Nováka  

Jiří Vejvoda  

Compositions

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violin Concerto in D major, K 216

Bedřich Smetana
String Quartet No. 1 in E minor “From My Life”

Bedřich Smetana apparently gave his First String Quartet in E minor the nickname “From My Life” before its first public performance. He worked on the quartet from October until 29 December 1876, by which time he was already suffering from deafness. The impulse for the work’s creation was the founding of the Czech-German Chamber Music Society in Prague. The quartet was supposed to have been presented at the society’s first concert in February 1877, but the performance did not take place when the performers realised the difficulty of their task. The quartet was first heard in April 1878 at a private performance (with Antonín Dvořák playing the viola part) in the home of the composer’s friend Josef Srb, a Czech historian and writer. For the occasion, Smetana supplied the quartet with detailed commentary describing the quartet’s programme, saying he wished to “depict the course of my life in tones”. The opening movement expresses a romantic mood and the desires of youth, and there is a foreboding of future tragedy near the end, “the fateful whistling of the highest tones in my ear, which announced the onset of my deafness in 1874.” The polka in the second movement evokes joyous times, “when as a composer of dance pieces I surrounded myself with the world of youth, where I became known for my passionate dancing.” The difficulty of the middle section, Meno vivo (in D flat major), was said to have been the reason for cancelling the originally planned premiere. The third movement “recalls the bliss of my first love for the girl who later became my faithful wife.“ The tragic mood of this movement bears musical witness to the sorrow caused by the premature death of Smetana’s first wife Kateřina Otylie. The final movement is a summary of positive and tragic impressions, with the often surprising overlapping of those polarities, just as they came about in the composer’s real life.

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