The Czech Philharmonic will be touring Spain, Luxembourg and Germany in January and February of 2013. The orchestra will perform two different programs under the baton of Krzysztof Urbański, presenting Czech classics by composers Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana in ten cities across Europe.
|21. 1. 2013||PAMPLONA / Auditorio y Palacio de Congresos de Navarra / program #1|
|22. 1. 2013||ZARAGOZA / Auditorio de Zaragoza / program #1|
|24. 1. 2013||MURCIA / Auditorio Víctor Villegas / program #1|
|27. 1. 2013||LUXEMBOURG / Philharmonie Luxembourg / program #1|
|29. 1. 2013||HAMBURG / Laeisz-Halle Hamburg / program #1|
|30. 1. 2013||BIELEFELD / Rudolf-Oetker Halle Bielefeld / program #1|
|3. 2. 2013||STUTTGART / Liederhalle Stuttgart / program #2|
|4. 2. 2013||MUNICH / Philharmonie im Gasteig Munchen / program #2|
|5. 2. 2013||COLOGNE / Philharmonie Koeln / program #2|
|6. 2. 2013||BERLIN / Philharmonie Berlin / program #2|
“Wit, aristocratic poise and elegance; mercurial shifts of mood, intensity and lightness of touch in near-miraculous balance.”
– The Glasgow Herald
Sol Gabetta achieved international acclaim upon winning the Crédit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2004 and making her debut with Wiener Philharmoniker and Valery Gergiev. Born in Argentina, Gabetta won her first competition at the age of ten, soon followed by the Natalia Gutman Award as well as commendations at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition and the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. A Grammy Award nominee, she received the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award in 2010 and the Würth-Preis of the Jeunesses Musicales in 2012.
Following her highly acclaimed debuts with Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle at the Baden-Baden Easter Festival in 2014 and at Mostly Mozart in New York in August 2015, this season saw Gabetta debut with Los Angeles Philharmonic and Houston Symphony. She also performed with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Brussels’s Palais des Beaux Arts also welcomeed her as their resident artist. To conclude 2015/2016 Gabetta joined the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on a European tour with performances at Lucerne Festival, Grafenegg Festival as well as Salzburger Festspiele.
Gabetta performs with leading orchestras and conductors worldwide including the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bamberger Symphoniker, Bolshoi and Finnish Radio Symphony orchestras and The Philadelphia, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras. She also collaborates extensively with conductors such as Giovanni Antonini, Mario Venzago and Krzysztof Urbański.
In summer 2014 Gabetta was Artist in Residence at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, having already held residencies at the Philharmonie and Konzerthaus Berlin. She is a regular guest at festivals such as Verbier, Gstaad, Schwetzingen, Rheingau, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and Beethovenfest Bonn.
As a chamber musician Gabetta performs worldwide in venues such as Wigmore Hall in London, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, with distinguished partners including Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Bertrand Chamayou. Her passion for chamber music is evident in the Solsberg Festival which she founded in Switzerland.
Sol Gabetta was named Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2013 ECHO Klassik Awards for her interpretation of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto with Berliner Philharmoniker and Lorin Maazel. She also received the award in 2007, 2009 and 2011 for her recordings of Haydn, Mozart and Elgar Cello Concerti as well as works by Tchaikovsky and Ginastera. With an extensive discography with SONY she has also released a duo recital with Hélène Grimaud for Deutsche Grammophon.
Thanks to a generous private stipend by the Rahn Kulturfonds, Sol Gabetta performs on one of the very rare and precious cellos by Givanni Battista Guadagnini dating from 1759. Gabetta has taught at the Basel Music Academy since 2005.
Considered a leading figure of Norwegian romantic music and the founder of the nation’s modern school of composition, Edvard Hagerup Grieg sought to include techniques derived from Norwegian folk music in the romantic musical style of his period. These can be heard in one of his first truly mature works, the Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16, written in 1868. Norwegian inspirations are particularly conspicuous in the final movement: its energetic main theme is derived from the halling, a folk dance, and there are figurations reminiscent of performances on the traditional Hardanger fiddle.
The year 1896 was important for the history of Czech music for two reasons: on 4 January, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was founded, and on 19 March, Antonín Dvořák conducted the premiere of his Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 during his ninth and final concert tour in England. Although Dvořák was very happy about this composition, even writing about the “pure joy” which this work brought to him, in his modesty he could not know or guess that it would become one of his most frequently performed pieces, and for many people the best cello concerto ever, sometimes called the “king”. The paradox is that Dvořák had never been particularly drawn to the concertante form and did not recognise the cello as a solo instrument: he actually complained that it “whinges up above, and grumbles down below”. Nevertheless, by serendipitous circumstances, in the autumn of 1894 he decided to compose a concerto for cello. His first attempt at a solo concerto for this instrument was made almost thirty years ago, but Dvořák held this early concerto in such low regard that he did not mind the loss of its autograph (found after the composer’s death) and never included it in any list of his works.
The first and the most important impulse for Dvořák to choose this genre was a cello concerto by the American composer and cellist Victor Herbert. At that time, Dvořák was the director of the National Conservatory in New York; Herbert taught the cello there and was also the principle cellist with the New York Philharmonic Society. Dvořák was so excited by Herbert’s work that he studied its score in great detail and several months later began to compose his own cello concerto. Perhaps in line with the deeply intimate Biblical Songs created in the spring of 1894, Dvořák continued on this personal level, revealing in his new work his experiences at that particular time in his life: being homesick and missing his children (except for his son Otakar who was with him in the U.S., his other five children remained in Bohemia), longing after his summer home in Vysoká, where he could work undisturbed, and reminiscing about gravely ill Josefina Kounitzová, his sister-in-law and friend, whom Dvořák had loved in the past. The combination of Dvořák’s creative élan and inner melancholy gave rise to his innermost composition, dominated by a firm compositional order, which is not without hope. Josefina is memorialized in the concerto by the melody of Dvořák’s song Leave Me Alone from the cycle Four Songs, Op. 82, of which Josefina was particularly fond.
The concerto is in three movement. It opens with a grandiose orchestral introduction, expanding from two main themes. While the first is characterized by bigger melodic intervals, the second theme consists of a sweet, gentle melody. A seemingly spontaneous idea was born after a long and laborious struggle, after which Dvořák found its correct form. He himself admitted that the lyrical theme of the introductory Allegro made him tremble. In the second movement he went even further, creating one of his most impressive lyrical expressions. This is where the quotation from the song Leave Me Alone is heard. Then comes the rondo, which represents the symbol of hope, of resurrection after a dark night on the cross, an image of the pain transformed. Dvořák wrote it a few weeks before he left New York for good; this might be why it is elated by an eager expectation, which, however, was spoiled upon Dvořák’s return to Bohemia by the news of Josefina’s premature death. In response to this sad fact, Dvořák radically changed the conclusion of the whole concert, inserting a new section of sixty bars before the original short coda, after which the solo violin again quotes Josefina’s favourite song.
The world premiere of the concerto was held in London’s Queen’s Hall on 19 March 1896 and was conducted by the composer himself. Originally, the composition was to be premiered by Dvořák’s close friend and mentor of the cello part, Hanuš Wihan, to whom the work was dedicated, but in the end its performance was entrusted to a young English cellist, Leo Stern. It is rumoured that the change of cellists was caused by Wihan’s rather insensitive insistence to play his own virtuoso cadenza, which Dvořák resolutely rejected, but the real reason was probably bad timing. Stern went to see Dvořák in Bohemia and worked hard with him, practising almost seven hours a day in order to master it because the composition was extremely difficult for him in terms of intonation. Stern also presented the work at the Prague premiere on 11 April 1896 and later in Leipzig, Chicago and New York.
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70,one of Antonín Dvořák’s masterworks, was written at the invitation of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London, which made the composer an honorary member in 1884. At that time Dvořák already enjoyed in England the unshakeable position as one of the greatest living composers. In late November 1884, he completed the score of his cantata, The Spectre’s Bride, and since the Philharmonic Society planned to present the world premiere of Dvořák’s new symphony – to be conducted by the composer – as early as the spring of the next year, he quickly started work on it. He completed the opus within three months and on 22 April 1885 he could introduce it at a Philharmonic Society concert in St James’s Hall, London.
The dramatic, sombre atmosphere of the Seventh Symphony, rich in ideas and a masterpiece of form, is often put into the context of the Czech nation’s struggle for identity within the multinational Habsburg Empire. Even if we abstract from the possible connections with the social, cultural and political situations of the Czechs at the time, we see that the symphony’s message is readily intelligible as a general statement about human existence.
The opening movement – Allegro maestoso – unusually starts in pianissimo with a plaintive, gloomy main theme in violas and cellos. The auxiliary theme, in B flat major, brings a sudden change of atmosphere, but its clarity is soon disrupted: the internal struggle continues and the doubts are far from being dispelled. Despite an airy melody presented by the clarinet, the lyrical second movement gradually develops an increasingly urgent and agitated aspect. The third movement that follows – Scherzo – is perhaps the work’s best-known. It is distinguished by a strong rhythm in its main theme, but its carefree dance character is dampened both by the D minor tonality and a contrasting countermelody, adding a certain melancholy to its liveliness. Like the opening Allegro maestoso, the final movement is in sonata form. After a dramatic surge, the gloomy atmosphere lightens up – it is as if the conclusion, in D major, symbolised a firm determination and a convincing victory of the will.
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