The War Requiem
On the programme of Musikfest Bremen festival, there were big symphonic concerts, recitals, staged and vocal productions. The three weeks of the festival productions are the highlight of cultural life not only for Bremen, beautiful Hanseatic city, but also for the whole Northern Germany region.
At this year’s festival, the ensembles from all over Europe were present, and the listeners could enjoy music ranging from 16th century to contemporary.
1st September 2009 is the date when we reminded the 70th anniversary of beginning of the World War II. The concert in St. Petri Church was dedicated to this event. The Bremer Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno and the solo singers performed Britten’s War Requiem under the baton of Markus Poschner. The excellent solo singers were Susanne Bernhard (soprano), Thomas Cooley (tenor) and Thomas E. Bauer (baritone).
The purpose of programming particularly Britten’s War Requiem on this day is obvious - the British pacifist B. Britten expressed in this piece his antiwar and anti violence position. As a text for War Requiem, he used the Missa pro Defunctis (Mass for the dead) in Latin, and the poetry of Wilfred Owen, who was Britten contemporary.
In the sold out cathedral there were about 2000 people audience listening to this emotional piece. The minute of silence after choir’s Amen in the end was a symbolic conclusion of the evening.
Dvořák's music sounded in Rhein valley
In the first August week magic tones of Antonín Dvořák music coming out from the Friedrich von Tiersach hall of the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden have been floating over the Rhein valley. The concert organizer Rheingau Sommer Burghofspiele has decided to open the new concert series devoted to this giant of the classical music and invited the artists untmost competent.: Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Zdeněk Mácal and with young czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček. Concert programme set up of the most famous Dvořák music works (Carnival, Piano concerto in G minor and Symphony No. 9 „From the New World“) and their fenomenal performance have totaly subjugated the concert visitors and long lasting warm applaus followed. Dvořák series lifted up with excelent rating and there is remaining nothing else than to wish „Happy sailing, Mr. Dvořák“ in coming years.
Setimmane musicali Meranesi – Meraner Musikwochen - Merano Music Festival
In the spa and cultural centre of South Tyrol – the Meran Kurhaus, took place the second concert of this year’s Merano Music Festival. The festival has already 24 years long history.
On the concert performed the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Vladimir Valek. In the second half, they played three parts of Smetana’s My Homeland – Šárka, From Bohemia’s Woods and Fields and Vltava. As an encore, the orchestra played two of A. Dvorak Slavonic Dances – No. 9 and 15.
A. Dvorak famous violin concerto was programmed for the first part of the evening. The German violinist Sophia Jaffé played it in lively, dance and Slavonic manner. Her cooperation with the conductor and the orchestra was excellent. After their concert this August, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and Ms. Jaffé are invited for the next Merano Music Festival, member of the European Festivals Association.
Her singing is the crown of every piece
The famous Frauenkirche Church in Dresden, which was in ruins after the World War II., was recently restored. After the reconstruction, the church is used for lectures, exhibitions, cultural programmes, and concerts, of course.
In 2007, when the chorusmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno Petr Fiala was preparing the programme of Mozart early sacred compositions for the new CD, nobody knew that Frauenkirche Foundation would like this exceptional programme so much, that they will include it into their concert series as it is on the CD, without any changes.
The concert with the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno, the Czech Chamber Soloists, soprano Hana Skarkova, under the baton of Petr Fiala took place on the last Saturday in June. All the performers were highly acclaimed by the Dresden audience.
The audience in Dresden knows the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno from their regular cooperation with the Dresdner Philharmonic. So no wonder, that the venue with the capacity over 1000 people was sold out. The atmosphere in Frauenkirche church is fantastic and inspiring, and makes the concert even more remarkable for the performers and for the audience well.
As the critics writes:
“…in full harmony, with a very beautiful sound and great passion, the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno and the Czech Chamber Soloists under the baton of Petr Fiala performed their concert. With every piece the artists climbed to Mozart spiritual and music world, and they succeeded to take with them also the audience…”
The brilliant soprano solo of the evening Hana Skarkova gained the sympathies of the audience from her first appearance in “Regina Coeli”. The critics wrote:
“…Her singing is highly cultivated, the beautiful coloraturas are perfect to the tiniest nuances. Her singing is the crown of every piece. In spite of the technical proficiency she has capacity for crescendos and decrescendos and for deepness full of style.”
The success of the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno, representing the South Moravia region and city of Brno, brought its fruit in the form of invitation to next concert in Frauenkirche.
Monaco with the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno
When we say Monaco or Monte Carlo, we usually think of the Casino, F1, or the princely family. As every summer for already 50 years, another attraction is the classical music festival „Les Concerts du Palais Princier de Monaco“. During the history of the festival, which takes place on courtyard of the Princely Palace, have performed such stars as conductors Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Rafael Kubelík, soloists Vladimir Ashkenazy, Evgenij Kissin, Yehudi Menuhin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Itzak Perlman, Lucia Popp, Jessye Norman or Luciano Pavarotti. The festival brought to Monaco a lot of world premieres.
In fact, Prince Rainier III. and Princess Grace restored in 1959 the 200 years old tradition. Already in the 18th century, the princes of Monaco used the open the doors of their palace, and organize cultural evenings for Monaco inhabitants.
In the frameworks of the jubilee festival this summer were performed the same compositions as in 1959 – Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and Richard Strauss. At the closing concert was performed probably the most famous symphony – Beethoven 9th Symphony with Schiller's Ode to Joy.
The Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno with the chorusmaster Petr Fiala, the Echo Klassik “Ensemble of the Year 2007”, was invited to perform at this prestigeous event. Monte Carlo Orchestre Philharmonique performed under baton the new chief conductor Yakov Kreizberg, who will be also the artistic director of the orchestra from September 2009.
A lovely conclusion of the closing concert performance of the 50th „Les Concerts du Palais Princier de Monaco“ was the last sentence in the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno biography - we quote the programme brochure: „Monte Carlo est heureux d'accuiller ce brillant ensemble pour la premier fois.“ (Monte Carlo is happy that we can welcome for the first time this brilliant ensemble.)
Richard Wagner Festival Wels 2009 with Czech and Slovakian artists
The jubilee 20th Richard Wagner Festival (RWF) in the Austrian Wels this year was performed for the first time mainly by Czech and Slovak artists. The interest of the audience, which comes to Wels not only from all over Europe, but from whole world, was immense. On the posters, we could see “ab Januar ausverkauft” – which means that the premiere performances were sold out since January.
As usually there were two operas programmed – Parsifal (production from 2008) and this year premiere of Lohengrin. The stage director of both the performances was Herbert Adler, the stage and costume designer Dietmar Solt. Both the performances took place in Theater im Greif.
The two performances of Parsifal were on May 26th and 28th 2009. The soloists were Endrik Wottrich as Parsifal, Jukka Rasilainen (Amfortas), Hans Sotin (Titurel and Gurnemanz), Anton Keremidtchiev (Klingsor) and Judith Németh (Kundry). The soloists we accompanied by the Brno Philharmonic and the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno (choirmaster Petr Fiala) under the baton of Maestro Ralf Weikert.
The premiere of Lohengrin was on May 24th, the second performance on May 30th, both conducted by Maestro Ralf Weikert. In the main roles of Lohengrin and Elsa von Brabant excellent Christropher Ventris and Petra Maria Schnitzer, supported by Kurt Riedel and Hans Sotin (Heinrich der Vogler), Lioba Braun (Ortruda), Jukka Rasilainen (Friedrich von Telramund) and Anton Keremidtchiev (Heerrufer). For the first time in Wels performed the Slovak Philharmonic and the Slovak Philharmonic Choir (choirmaster Blanka Juhanakova).
This year’s Richard Wagner Festival in Wels took place under the auspices of Dr. Heinz Fischer, the president of Austria.
The Brno Philharmonic in Tyrol
When the Brno Philharmonic musicians arrived to the Italian city of Toblach/Dobbiaco, surrounded by nice mountains, it was clear to everybody, why Gustav Mahler liked to spend his summer holidays here. The genius loci of the city inspired Gustav Mahler’s Society to create a music festival in Toblach 29 years ago.
The Brno Philharmonic under the baton of their former chief conductor Leoš Svárovský had the honour to play this year opening festival concert. On the programme was Mahler Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor. The nice concert hall with capacity of app. 600 people is part of the first mountain hotel, and was sold out at the opening concert. This venue offers interesting programmes to the music lovers not only during the G. Mahler’s festival, but all the year round.
Zdeněk Mácal conducting the Düsseldorf Symphonic again
After s short pause Maestro Zdenek Macal returned to the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra to conduct the closing concert of their concert season.
The programme idea of this season was to introduce at each of the concerts one less known musical instrument, and in the second half of the concert one of the most popular classical pieces.
At the three concerts for the adult listeners, and one for the schoolchildren, in June was introduced didgeridoo in the composition of Peter Sculthorpe. Didgeridoo, the musical instrument of the Australian Aborigines, natural wooden trumpet made of Eucalyptus tree was new for many of the listeners, and they liked it.
Maestro Macal agreed with this idea, as he knew Peter Sculthorpe compositions from his previous engagement with the Sydney Symphony. Moreover, Maestro Macal created a nice programme – Suk’s Fairy Tale, Sculthorpe Memento Mori, and Dvorak the most popular symphony From the New World.
The enthusiastic and joyful cooperation between the orchestra and Maestro Macal brought not only positive reaction of the press and appreciation from the orchestra, but also invitation to another concert for Maestro Macal.
Sophia Jaffé’s debut in Israel
Sophia Jaffé was invited to Israel to play Brahms Violin Concerto with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. There were two concerts in the end of June, the first one in Jerusalem, the second in Herzliya.
Both the concerts were a great success – see the e-mail below sent to ARS/KONCERT by Maestro Amos Talmon, conductor, founder of Music Angels Foundation and music director of the Grand Symphonic Series, Herzlyia.
“...Sophia was a great success in every respect: The audience loved her, the orchestra loved her and I loved her....
She is an incredible violinist , a great musician , una bella figura on stage !
Her Brahms was deep, moving and properly giocoso at the end.
The whole concert was an immense success, with Jerusalem Radio Symphony under baton of Petr Vronsky providing Sophia with a very precise , supporting and loving accompaniment !...”
Recording of the Month for Puella Trio!
The Puella Trio’s second CD was released in May 2009. The CD brings three compositions by contemporary Czech composers – Petr Fiala, Sylvie Bodorová and Petr Eben (to commemorate the 80th anniversary of birth of Petr Eben).
In spite of the short time of existence, the CD gained the interest of listeners, and the music journalists as well.
It became Recording of the Month on MusicWeb. Dominy Clements wrote that it is one of the best chamber recordings of this year – see.
The Fall of the Antichrist in Terezin
Terezín Festival of Forbidden Music is young festival, but it has already gained important place on the Czech cultural scene. The festival programmed Czech premiere of Viktor Ullman’s opera The Fall of the Antichrist for the opening concert on June 21st. The opera concert version in the Terezin Church of Resurrection was performed by our renowned artists – Aleš Briscein (Governor, tenor), Václav Sibera (Artist, tenor), Tomáš Kořínek (Priest, tenor), Roman Janál (Technician, baritone), Roman Vocel (Guardian, Bass), Veronika Hajnová (Angel, mezzo soprano), Petr Frýbert (Narrator, tenor), and Prague chamber choir.
The expressive music is based on Albert Steffen’s anthroposophistical drama, and was performed by the North Bohemian Philharmonic Teplice, under the baton of Maestro Leoš Svárovský.
The concert ended by long standing ovations, which is not usual by this type of music. Moreover, the performers received personal congratulations afterwards.
Also, the Czech TV referred about this concert.
Sophia Jaffé excels
The Czech audience had chance to hear the phenomenal German violinist Sophia Jaffé at two concerts in June. On 7th June, she performed at Václav Hudeček Encounters festival in Moravské Budějovice. On the programme was Phantasy in g minor for violin and orchestra by Josef Suk. The concert was highly acclaimed by the audience and by the artistic director of the festival Mr. Václav Hudeček as well. To the success contributed also the Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc under the button of Stanislav Vavřínek.
The second concert was on 9th June, recital with piano at the Concentus Moraviae festival, in the nice hall of chateau in Žďár nad Sázavou. Sophia Jaffé and pianist Björn Lehmann performed an interesting programme (Garcia, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Landowska, Messiaen, Suk and Bartók), which was recorded by the Czech TV.
Bernstein Kaddish at the Smetana’s Litomyšl Festival
Bernstein 3rd Symphony is very demanding piece, and it was on the programme of Smetana's Litomyšl festival in 2008. The 2008 concert was cancelled because of heavy rain and storm. This year was Kaddish programmed again on the 25th June 2009. It was raining during general rehearsal, and the rain stopped only after the first ten minutes of the concert performance.
Despite these circumstances this year the performers - Soňa Červená (narrator), Jana Wallingerová (mezzosoprano), Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno, Bonifantes Boy Choir Pardubice, Brno Philharmonic and conductor Leoš Svárovský - did a great concert.
On the ground plan of a symphony, Kaddish is a kind of melodrama, demanding in all the aspects - expressional, dynamical, rhythmical and philosophical. The ethical statement of the Bernstein piece was extremely strong, also thanks to the concerned recitation of Ms. Soňa Červená. The sensitive audience awarded the performers by long lasting standing ovations.
57. Festspiele Europaeische Wochen Passau 2009
This year’s festival Festspiele Europaeische Wochen Passau – European Weeks Passau takes place in Eastern Bavaria, Bohemia and Upper Austria under the motto “Honour to whom honour is due”.
The reason for this motto are the numerous festive and commemoration days celebrated in this period. The anniversaries are connected with the important personalities of the European cultural life like Henry Purcell, George Friedrich Handel, Joseph Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Richard Strauss, Otto Dix, Alfred Kubin and Bohuslav Martinů.
The 57th festival is held in the period of the Czech Republic presidency in the EU, and under the patronage of His Excellency Karl Furst zu Schwarzenberg, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and present President of the European Council.
The festival concerts take place in the most beautiful churches, monasteries and castles as well in the open air.
Czech Republic was represented by the mezzo-soprano Karla Bytnarova at the opening ceremony. On the next day performed the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice with the chief conductor Leos Svarovsky and oboist Vilem Veverka. The concert was a great success, and it shall be difficult for the forthcoming festival projects to compare with.
About 500 persons audition, and the crew of the Bavarian TV in the sold out auditorium of the Furstenzell Church enjoyed the programme consisting of Handel Music for the Royal Fireworks, Mendelssohn 4th Symphony, and Martinu Oboe Concerto in the excellent interpretation of Vilem Veverka.
At the concert was present also ambassador of the Czech Republic in Berlin Mr. Rudolf Jindrak.
Artists represented by ARS/KONCERT appeared at 2009 International Music Festival Janáček May
34th International Music Festival Janáček May offered to its numerous visitors a serie of outstanding performances and wide-ranging programmes and we are more than pleased to inform the foremost artists represented by ARS/KONCERT were present.
Celebrated Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son, winner of the famous Chopin piano competition in Warsaw, provided for the impressive festival openning with famous Rachmaninov Piano concerto. Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Leoš Svárovský let the audiences bubbled during the Sinfonietta by L. Janáček in the fist half. Another no fewer dazzling performance of Brahms Violin concerto was brought to Ostrava by a young Serbian violinist Nemanja Radulović. His performance was undoubtly the best prove this young charsimatic artist has electrifying efect for the audience. Last but not least it was superior Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (chorusmaster Petr Fiala) which distincitvely contributed to the great highlights of the festival itself namely in Martinů cantata Bouquet of flowers and Dvořák Te Deum laudamus.
Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno on Cyprus
Presidency of the Czech Republic in EU was one of the reasons, that inspired the chief conductor of the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Maestro Spiros Pisinos to invite the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, one of the leading European choirs, to Cyprus.
There were held two concerts programming Beethoven 9th Symphony on 8th and 9th May 2009 to celebrate the Europe Day. The cast was really international - Cypriot orchestra and conductor, Czech choir, Greek (mezzo soprano Alexandra Papadjiakou and bass Christoforos Stamboglis) and Turkish (soprano Feryal Turkoglu a tenor Senol Talinli) soloists. In this way Beethoven and Schiller idea of brotherhood of all men and nations, that Maestro Pisinos wanted to bring to the island of Cyprus, came into life.
We would like to thank also to the ambassador of the Czech Republic in Cyprus Mr. Jan Bondy, who helped a lot the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno with their Cyprus concerts.
European Association of Artist Managers meeting
European Association of Artist Managers (AEAA) is one of the oldest (based in Paris in 1947) and most prestigious professional groupings of artist managers worldwide. Since 1995 ARS/KONCERT, spol. s r.o. represented by Zdenka Kachlová and Hana Svobodová has been its full member. They both regularly attend the General assemblies and board meetings (Z. Kachlová has been elected as board member in 2007). This year the General assembly was held upon the ivitation of Sibelius Academy in Helsinki from May 8–10, 2009.
Photo: AEAA members in front of the house of Jean Sibelius in Ainola.
Conductor Jakub Klecker debuted at Prague Spring Festival 2009
Those who attended the concert at Prague Spring Festival 2009 (May 18th) have had definitely several good reasons to come. One of them was for sure the concert program mixed of the music of Czech and Russian composers (Martinů, Janáček, Schnittke and Shostakovich) and second one were undoubtly the highly attractive performers such as Janáček Chamber Orchestra, pianist of Armenian origin Sergei Babayan, trumpetist Pavel Hromádka and last but not least young conductor Jakub Klecker, who conducted Concerto for Piano and Strings of Alfred Schnittke and Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings in C minor of Dmitri Shostakovich. The audience deservedly awarded all artists the spontaneous and long lasting applause.
Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno won great acclaim in Brussels
Schubert Mass A flat major was the pivotal part of the concert, which took place in Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels (BOZAR) in Brussels on April 26. The highly excited audiences in almost full BOZAR hall haven’t got any reason for doubt they are the wittnesses of an excellent expression of the great Schubert Mass performed by Belgian national orchestra under the baton of Walter Weller and Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno.
Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno has proved once again after the outstanding concert with Dvořák Requiem in BOZAR in April 2008 it belongs to the world class choirs.
"The Philharmonic Choir of Brno, which last year joined Weller and the BNO in a stunning performance of Dvorak's Requiem, was again brilliant, in effect a fifth soloist in Schubert's Mass."
Joel Brocker, AuxiPress, Bulletin, April 30th 2009
The star Sophia Jaffé shined at Brno
Phenomenal Violinist Sophia Jaffé performed with the Brno Philharmonic in March. Her remarkable intense interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major was celebrated by the Brno audience for its technical perfection. The orchestra was conducted by Petr Altrichter and the concert closed to a standing ovation.
The soloist's most recent appearance in Brno was in the final concert of the 2008 Moravian Autumn festival when she amazed the concertgoers with the technically very demanding Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 2 by Shostakovich, accompanied by the Bruckner Orchestra Linz under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies.