In February 2015, the Czech Philharmonic will visit four concert halls in Spain. Lead by its Chief Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek and joined by widely-acclaimed Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk, the orchestra will perform pieces by Abril, Schumann, Strauss and Dvořák.
<h3>15. 2. 2015 / ALICANTE / Auditorio</h3> <ul> <li>A. G. ABRIL: <em>Celebidachiana</em></li> <li>R. SCHUMANN:<em> Cello Concerto in A major, Op. 129</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em> Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Symphonic poem, Op. 28</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em><em> Der Rosenkavalier, suite from the opera, Op. 59</em></em></li> </ul> <h3>16. 2. 2015 / ZARAGOZA / Auditorio</h3> <ul> <li>A. G. ABRIL: <em>Celebidachiana</em></li> <li>R. SCHUMANN:<em> Cello Concerto in A major, Op. 129</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em> Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Symphonic poem, Op. 28</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em> Der Rosenkavalier, suite from the opera, Op. 59</em></li> </ul> <h3>17. 2. 2015 / MADRID / Auditorio Nacional de Música</h3> <ul> <li>A. DVOŘÁK: <em>Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104</em></li> <li>A. G. ABRIL: <em>Celebidachiana</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em> Der Rosenkavalier, suite from the opera, Op. 59</em></li> </ul> <h3>18. 2. 2015 / OVIEDO / Auditorio Príncipe Filipe</h3> <ul> <li>A. G. ABRIL: <em>Celebidachiana</em></li> <li>R. SCHUMANN:<em> Cello Concerto in A major, Op. 129</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em> Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Symphonic poem, Op. 28</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em> Der Rosenkavalier, suite from the opera, Op. 59</em></li> </ul> <h3>19. 2. 2015 / SAN SEBASTIAN / Kursaal</h3> <ul> <li>A. G. ABRIL: <em>Celebidachiana</em></li> <li>R. SCHUMANN:<em> Cello Concerto in A major, Op. 129</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em> Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Symphonic poem, Op. 28</em></li> <li>R. STRAUSS:<em> Der Rosenkavalier, suite from the opera, Op. 59</em></li> </ul> <p> </p> <ul> <li><strong>Truls MØRK</strong> – cello</li> <li><strong>Jiří BĚLOHLÁVEK </strong>– conductor</li> </ul>
Truls Mørk’s compelling performances, combining fierce intensity, integrity and grace, have established him as one of the most pre-eminent cellists of our time.
He has appeared with orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris, Staatskapelle Dresden, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony and Cleveland orchestras amongst others. Conductor collaborations include Myung-Whun Chung, Mariss Jansons, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, and Christoph Eschenbach.
Forthcoming highlights include concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Vladimir Jurowski), Berliner Philharmoniker (Alan Gilbert), Philharmonia Orchestra (Jakub Hrůša), Wiener Symphoniker and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (both with James Gaffigan), hr-Sinfonieorchester (David Zinman), and Münchner Philharmoniker (Lionel Bringuier). Truls Mørk will tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Mariss Jansons) to London and Paris, and with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Neeme Järvi), where he performs Brahms’ Double Concerto with Vadim Repin. In North America, Mørk collaborates with Vadim Repin in summer 2013 performing Brahms’ Double Concerto at the Mostly Mozart Festival under David Afkham, and with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Kent Nagano) as well as a return to The Philadelphia Orchestra (Yannick Nézet-Séguin) which will include a performance at Carnegie Hall. Mørk makes a return to both the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Symphony in 2014, which will be followed by a European tour with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis.
Truls Mørk continues to give regular recitals at major venues and festivals throughout the world.
As part of the 2011 Bergen International Festivalhe performed the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas over two evenings, together with the Variations for cello and piano – last presented at the Festival in this format by Jacqueline du Pré in 1970.
Truls Mørk is a committed performer of contemporary music and in spring 2012 gave the UK premiere of Rautavaara’s Towards the Horizon with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Other premieres have included Pavel Haas’ Cello Concerto with the Wiener Philharmoniker (under Jonathan Nott), Krzysztof Penderecki's Concerto for Three Cellos with the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Charles Dutoit) and Haflidi Hallgrimsson’s Cello Concerto, co-commissioned by the Oslo Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony and Scottish Chamber orchestras.
Rautavaara’s Towards the Horizon was recorded for Ondine with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under John Storgårds and nominated for a Grammy Award. Mørk’s recording of the highly acclaimed Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Cello Concerti disc for Virgin Classics with Les Violons du Roy under Bernard Labadie was awarded a 2011 ECHO Klassik Award. Other recordings include the Brahms Double Concerto with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Riccardo Chailly and Vadim Repin on Deutsche Grammophon, and Haflidi Hallgrímssonʼs works for cello and orchestra for Ondine. For Virgin Classics, amongst others he has also recorded Schumannʼs Cello Concerto with Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the complete Bach Cello Suites as well as the Britten Cello Suites, which won a Grammy Award in 2002.
Initially taught by his father, Truls Mørk continued his studies with Frans Helmerson, Heinrich Schiff and Natalia Schakowskaya. His numerous awards include the Norwegian Critics’ Prize in 2011 and the 2010 Sibelius Prize. Truls Mørk plays on the rare 1723 Domenico Montagnana ‘Esquire’.
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Czech Philharmonic
Principal Guest Conductor, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor Laureate, BBC Symphony (London)
Renowned Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was appointed Music Director and Artistic Director of the Czech Philharmonic in 2012, following on from his successful tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now a Conductor Laureate. He was Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra (1977–89), Music Director of the Prague Philharmonia (1994–2004), was appointed President of the Prague Spring Festival in 2006. From 2013 to 2017, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
In opera, he has collaborated with the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Zurich Opera, and the National Theatre in Prague. He has also conducted and recorded several opera-in-concert presentations with the BBC Symphony, to great acclaim. Confirming his preeminence as the conductor of Janacek, this past season he conducted the Czech Phil in a concert presentation of Jenůfa at the London Royal Festival Hall, as well as in full production the San Francisco Opera. This was followed by a performance of Janacek The Makropulos Case with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms.
Under his leadership the Czech Philharmonic is enjoying unprecedented success both at home in Prague, and on extensive tours. Together they have toured in the past three seasons on three continents, including Europe, Asia and North America. Their recent residency in Vienna at the Musikverein was a great success, and has lead to similar events being planned in other world capitals. The Czech Philharmonic announced in January 2017 that their partnership with Maestro Bělohlávek is now officially extended to 2022!
In addition to his ongoing Prague seasons and touring engagements with the Czech, he continues to perform as a guest conductor with the world’s major orchestras, including recent appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (including at the London Proms), New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Washington National Symphony, and Deutsches Symphony Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In the coming season, in addition to major projects with Czech Phil, he looks forward to engagements with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra Munich, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, and more.
With the Czech Philharmonic, he will conduct a major Asian tour in Autumn 2017 with concerts in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, in addition to appearances on tour in Europe, the highlight of which will be a performance of Janáček Glagolitic Mass at the Salzburg Festival in August 2018.
Jiří Bělohlávek has recorded extensively, with recent projects with the Czech Philharmonic including the complete symphonies and concertos of Dvořák. The series with Decca continues in the coming season, when a major disc of Suk will be recorded.
In 2012 he was awarded an honorary CBE for his services to British music.
Composing the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in A minor Op. 129 was preceded by the Schumann family moving again, this time to Düsseldorf, where in September 1850 Robert Schumann assumed the post of music director responsible for the operation of the orchestra, choir and church performances. At the time, he was going through a happy period, which reflected in the mood of the cello concerto. Written within two weeks in October 1850, its three movements make up a lyrical musical poem with palpable motivic relations. Although Schumann did not live to see its first public presentation (1860), the piece was a success and would establish itself on concert stages. Within the context of the composer’s oeuvre, it ranks beside the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor, which was premiered by his wife, the outstanding pianist Clara Schumann Wieck.
Strauss composed his most famous opera, Der Rosenkavalier, in 1913 as a huge waltz fantasy and indeed as a critique of the metropolitan, elegant, hedonistic life-style, the musical expression of which is the Viennese waltz of the Strauss name. However, according to all indications the arrangement of the Suite from Der Rosenkavalier is the work of the conductor Artur Rodziński, who also conducted its premiere with the New York Philharmonic. From the orchestral introduction, the composition presents an unbroken succession of the key scenes and personalities of the characters and their relationships, replacing vocal with instrumental parts. Brought to an ecstatic climax, it continues and concludes with one of the many waltzes.
In 1891, Antonín Dvořák was offered the directorship of the New York Conservatory. After some hesitation, the composer accepted this challenge – which was interesting in both artistic and financial terms – and the next year sailed with his family across the Atlantic. Beyond leading the institution, his duties included teaching composition, and he also had the ambition of laying down the ideological foundations of American art music. Dvořák spent more than two-and-a-half years in America and wrote important instrumental works there. These include, in addition to his String Quartet No. 12 in F Major “American”, his most often played orchestral compositions, namely, Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” and the work that opens this evening, Cello Concerto in B Minor.
Dvořák completed his only concert work for the cello whilst still in New York, but reworked its conclusion on returning to his homeland. Although the work adopts the traditional three-movement concerto form, it is conceived rather symphonically. It starts with an extensive orchestral introduction, presenting the two contrasting themes of the first movement, which is in loose sonata form. The cello then resolutely introduces a new exposition of the first theme, which the soloist continues to work with, until the second theme is outlined. The sonata development is very brief and the recapitulation, full of virtuoso runs for the solo instrument, has also been treated very freely by the composer. The second movement takes a symmetric ternary form with a dramatic middle section and lyrical outer sections. Here the writing for the cello is characterised by semitone “sighs” and numerous double-stops. The final movement is a rondo and has been read as a joyful harbinger of the composer’s return to the motherland. Immediately upon its premiere, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto gained significant popularity and to this day continues to be a favourite in the repertoires of the world’s greatest cellists.
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