- Programmes

Zuzana Růžičková

The Bohuslav Martinu Festival 1996  
 
The Opening Concert
Saturday, December 7, 1996, 7:30 p.m.
Dvorak Hall, Rudolfinum, namesti Jana Palacha, Prague 1

Bohuslav Martinu: Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra, H. 353
Moderato
Poco andante
Poco allegro

Zbynek Mueller - oboe

Bohuslav Martinu: Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orchestra, H. 246
Poco allegro
Adagio
Allegretto

Zuzana Ruzickova - harpsichord

Bohuslav Martinu: Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani, H. 271
Poco allegro
Largo
Allegro

Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra
Jiri Belohlavek - conductor
Jaroslav Saroun - piano
Petr Holub - timpani


Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra was written in 1955 in Nice on request by Jiri Tancibudek, the Australian oboist of the Czech descent. Having composed in this same year the folk cantata Opening of the Wells, religious oratorio Gilgamesh and Neo-Impressionist orchestral Les Fresques by Piero della Francesca, Martinu achieved here an extraordinary synthesis of a variety of different styles of artistic expression, characteristic of his later works. The composition was staged for the first time in August,1956, by Jiri Tancibudek along with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt. Since then, the oboe concerto of Bohuslav Martinu became a standard piece of the concert repertoire all over the world.
In February 1935, Martinu composed a brief piece named Deux pieces pour cembalo for a French harpsichordist Marcelle de Lacour. It was not long before the same musician approached him again with the request to write the Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orchestra, completed in September 1935. Its premiere took place in Paris in January 1936 in a concert conducted by Bohuslav Martinu's student, Vitezslava Kapralova. Tranparency, fragility and economy in using the vehicles of expression belong to the composition's characteristic features. At the time when Martinu's piece was taking shape, the harpsichord ranked among the nearly forgotten instruments and the fact thet the composer decided to employ it in the contemporary music further undelines his programmatic shift towards the Neo-Classicism, one of the most important and enriching musical trends of the first half of the 20th century. The original sound composition was achieved by using the piano in the orchestra accompanying the harpsichord concerto.
Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani from 1938 is closely tied to the personality of Paul Sacher, the world renowned Swiss conductor, who enriched the body of 20th century music by commissioning a number of its later essential masterpiece through his Basel Chamber Orchestra. It was him who in 1938 asked Martinu to compose a piece for an upcoming concert. The request came along with an invitation to the Sacher family estate at Schoenenberg, not far from Basel. Martinu, who had been introduced to Sacher by Conrad Beck, the Swiss composer, and had known him already for some years, gladly accepted the offer and came accompanied by his wife.
In the quiet atmosphere of the distanced country estate in neutral Switzerland, Martinu wrote one of his strongest and later most famous masterpieces. This work, also called "Double Concerto," is a reflection of numerous intense impressions, both from the composer's personal life and the political events of the time. The cover of the manuscript score bears the dedication to "my dear friend Paul Sacher to commemorate the quiet and fearful days spent at Schoenenberg amongst the deer and the threat of the war." Martinu finished the last movement of the sketch on precisely the same day of the signing of the Munich Treaty. The quiet of the country estate allowed Martinu to incorporate his musical ideas into a perfectly moderate form. The opening concert was performed by the Basel Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Paul Sacher in Basel in February, 1940, and Martinu was able to come from Paris and attend it despite the highly complicated international situation. Among the applauding audience was also the famous composer, Arthur Honegger.
 
The Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1994 under the leadership of Jiri Belohlavek, its conductor. It has continued in the successful activity of the former New Czech Chamber Orchestra, whose best professionals remained to form the string instrument basis of the newly established ensemble. They have been joined by some of the bet representatives of the new generation of Czech wind soloists. The Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra counts 39 musicians (the strings, complete woodwind instruments, trumpets, French horns and timpani) and its repertoire focuses on Classical and Romantic period masterpieces, some rarely played 20th century musical composers and Czech composers. The Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra has often joined well known Czech and foreign musicians, agencies and festivals in their production. It is regularly featured on Czech television and radio and has been reorded by major Czech labels, such as Supraphon, Panton and Clarton. The ensemble is the CLASSIC' 94 Award Laureate.
Zbynek Mueller is the Prague Conservatory oboe graduate from professor Frantisek Xaver Thuri's class, where he also took time to dedicate himself to the conducting. Presently, Mueller frequents the Academy of Performing Arts as professor Jiri Mihule's student, while he has received a number of awards in international competitions (among others, the Concertino Praga 1989, the 48th Prague Spring International Musical Competition). For two years, he was the first oboist of the National Theatre Opera Orchestra, and since April, 1995, he has performed at the same post in the Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, which has featured him occasionally as a conductor, too. Zbynek Mueler is also a co-founder of the "In uno spirito," the last year's Prix Mercure Award winning wind quintet at the Semmering International Summer Academy courses in Austria.
The Prague Academy of Performing Arts graduate Zuzana Ruzickova's highly successful career of a concert performer started by winning the Munich International Harpsichord Competition in 1956, as well as by studies under the guidance of professor Roesgen-Champion in Paris. Her repertoire contains 16th century compositions up to 20th century music: Frescobaldi, Vivaldi, Couperin, Scarlatti, Hãndel, Purcell, Bartok, Poulenc, de Falla, to name several international classics; and Martin, Kalabis, Rychlik to name some of the Czech composers. Throughout her career however, Ruzickova has paid a special attentiont to the work of J. S. Bach within her repertoire. The musician frequently appeares on both the European stages and overseas (U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Australia), she has also been invited to perform as a soloist along with the best Czech and international ensembles. She has been regularly featured as a guest at important international festivals, above all the ones centred on J.S. Bach. Zuzana Ruzickova, along with having conducted several master classes in Prague, Zurich, Stuttgart and Riga, is also a longterm professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. For a number of years, she chaired the Czech Society of Ancient Music and she was the Neue Bach-Gesellschaft Board of Directors President in Leipzig. Also notable is her cooperation with the Czech record label Supraphon (over 60 recordings), as well as with a number of other international labels (such as Columbia Tokyo, Nippon, Philips, etc.). Zuzana Ruzickova is a triple Laureate of the Grand Prix du Disque de l'Academie Charles Cros Paris, as well as of a number of other international and domestic musical competitions.
A graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Jiri Belohlavek went to study with Sergiu Celibidache. In 1970, he became the young conductors' national competition winner and an assistant-conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. A year later, that is in 1971, ha was a finalist of the Herbert von Karajan International Competition. Between 1972 and 1978, we would find Belohlavek as a conductor of the State Philharmony Orchestra in Brno and since 1977 - 1989 as a chief-conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. His cooperation with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra has been a long-lasting one (since 1981, he became its permanent conductor, and between 1990-1992, he was its chief-conductor). In 1994, Jiri Belohlavek founded the Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he became artistic director. With the above mentioned ensembles, the conductor toured worldwide many times. He is a regular guest invited to conduct world leading orchestras and performs at the renowned international festivals (in Luzern, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Montreux, Prague Spring, among others). Recently, Belohlavek accomplished a large project requested by the British Chandos label, which included recordings of 16 compact discs with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Two of them were awarded a prestigious Diaspason d'Or Prize. In 1995, Belohlavek's recording of Smetana's "Ma Vlast" (My Country) was recognized by the Supraphon label's Golden Disc Prize


 

 


 
 

The Bohuslav Martinu Festival 1996  
 
Concert of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation’s Piano Competition Laureates
Saturday, December 12, 1996, 11:00 a.m.
Martinu Hall, Academy of Performing Arts, Malostranske namesti 13, Prague 1
(Laureate was announced on December 1, 1996)

Sergey Prokofiev: Gavota a Scherzo, op. 12
Ivo Kahanek (3rd prize)

Claude Debussy: Pour le piano
Jiri Kollert (3rd prize)

 

Bohuslav Martinu: Huit preludes, H. 181
1. En forme de Blues. Poco andante
2. En forme de Scherzo. Vivo
3. En forme d'Andante. Adagio
4. En forme de Danse. Allegro vivo
5. En forme de Capriccio. Allegretto
6. En forme de Largo. Lento
7. En forme d'Etude. Presto
8. En forme de Fox-Trot. Allegro

Barbora Sejakova
(2nd prize and award for the best interpretation of Bohuslav Martinu's work)

Igor Stravinsky: Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka
Petr Novak (1st prize)

Ivo Kahanek (*1979)
He studied at a basic art school in Frydek-Mistek. In 1996 he studied for 4 years at the Ostrava Conservatory under Prof. Marta Toaderova. He won the first prize in the whole-republic basic art school competition in Opava, third prize and a special commendation in the international competition in Kilo (Sweden). At the national level of the competition "Concertino Praga" he won the first prize, and at its international level he received second prize. He was a winner of the third prize of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation's Piano Competition 1996.

Jiri Kollert (*1974)
He studied the first year of the Brno Conservatory under Prof. J. Hlouskova then he transferred to the Prague Conservatory to study with Prof. Emil Leichner. In 1996 he continued his studies at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts under Prof. Milan Langer and Emil Leichner. He was the winner of the international competition "Virtuoso per musica di pianoforte" in Usti nad Labem. In 1996 he won first prize and a special commendation for the best interpretation of Bohuslav Martinu's work in the interational competition in Karlovy Vary. In the same year he won the Leos Janacek competition in Brno and also an award for the best interpretation of a French composer's work in "Jihoceska klavirni soutez" (South-Bohemian Piano Competition) in Tabor. He was a winner of the third prize of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation's Piano Competition '96. Jiri Kollert has completed a number of master courses and co-works with the Prague Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and the conductor Jiri Belohlavek. Since the third year of his studies at the Prague Conservatory he has bee a member of the piano trio Concertante with who he performs in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Barbora Sejakova (*1978)
In 1996 she was a fifth-year student at the Prague Conservatoire under Prof. Emil Leichner. In 1994 she received a special commendation of the first level in an international competition in Karlovy Vary. She also won the same commendation in the Bedrich Smetana competition where she received the Vaclav Holzknecht prize. In 1995 she won the third prize in the Frederyk Chopin competition in Marianske Lazne. In 1996 she won a number of awards – first prize in the "Czech-Japanese competition", second prize and a prize from the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation in the Leos Janacek competition in Brno, second prize and a prize from the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation in the "Jihoceska klavirni soutez" (South-Bohemian Piano Competition) in Tabor and finally second prize and a prize from the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation for the best interpretation of Bohuslav Martinu's work in the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation's Piano Competition '96.

Petr Novak (*1974)
He graduated from the Conservatoire Plzen where he studied nder Prof. Jindrich Duras. In 1996 he was a student of Prof. Emil Leichner at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts. He has won many competitions, in 1992 he received second prize, the prize of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation and a prize from the Czech Music Fund in the competition "Beethoven's Hradec". In 1993 he won a special commendation of the second level in the Frederyk Chopin competition in Marianske Lazne. A year later he was third in the second level of an international competition in Karlovy Vary. In 1996 he received many awards – he was a winner of the second category in the second international competition "Jihoceska klavirni soutez" (South-Bohemian Piano Competition) in Tabor, a recipient of a special commendation in the Leos Janacek competition in Brno and a winner of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation's Piano Competition '96. Petr Novak has also performed as a soloist in a number of concerts.


 

The Bohuslav Martinu Festival 1996  
 
The Chamber Concert
Sunday, December 8, 1996, 7:30 p.m.
Martinu Hall, Academy of Performing Arts, Malostranske namesti 13, Prague 1

Bohuslav Martinu: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1, H. 182
Allegro
Andante
Allegretto

Ivan Straus - violin
Jirina Kolmanova - piano

Bohuslav Martinu: Piano Trio D-Minor No. 2, H. 327
Allegro moderato
Andante
Allegro

The Antonin Dvorak Trio
Frantisek Maly - piano
Jiri Hurnik - violin
Daniel Veis - violoncello

Bohuslav Martinu: String Sextet, H. 224
Lento. Allegro poco moderato
Andantino
Allegretto poco moderato

The Suk Quartet

Ivan Straus - first violin
Ludvik Hasek - second violin
Karel Rehak - viola
Frantisek Host - violoncello
Karel Spelina - viola
Daniel Veis – violoncello

Composed in 1929, Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 is one of five sonatas Martinu wrote for violin. The first two of them the author regarded as juvenilia and did not even authorize them. Sonata No. 1 is, however, a virtuoso masterpiece, richly using solo violin cadence. At the close of his jazz-influenced period, represented, among others, by the La revue de cuisine ballet (1927), jazz operas and orchestral compositions Le Jazz and Jazz Suite (both written in 1928), Martinu successfully merged here the jazz features and the rhapsodic charater of the music in a masterly manner. The first and second violin sonatas were, not long after being written, staged in Prague by the composer's closest friend and violinist Stanislav Novak and pianist Karel Solc.
Piano Trio No. 2 in D-Minor was written in February, 1950, in New York at the request of the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Barely 3 months after the piece was composed, it was premiered on the occasion of the Haydn Library Inauguration. As a freelance composer, who was then writing primarily at the request of musicians or institutions, Martinu was always careful to meet demands of each specific "client." A big Haydn admirer himself, Martinu could not miss the opportunity to write an uncomplicated and transparent composition, notable for its excellent instrumental work, carefully structured musical ideas and a classically balanced form. As well as in numerous compositions by Joseph Haydn, Martinu's Piano Trio No. 2 resonates with the folk music inspiration, above all by its non-existent complication and rhythmic pregnancy. Along with the Sinfonia Concertante No. 2 (1949) and Sinfonietta La Jolla (1950), this composition belongs among the author's last works and highlights of the Neo-Classicist period of Bohuslav Martinu.
String Sextet was completed within a week in May, 1932. Violinist himself, Martinu composed a piece remarkable for its thorough understanding of instrumental possibilities of the strings and admirable sound fullness. Adding only the base accompaniment, Martinu was thus able to remake the piece into the chamber symphony. A year later, the composition won the critical acclaim in the Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge American competition where it was anonymously sent by Martinu. The author, however, considered the telgraph message telling him that his piece not only won but also gained large financial support, to be a "good Montparnasse friends' joke..." and it took a whole month before his friends could persuade him to claim the award. Due to the purchase of the publishing rights to the La revue de cuisine, La Bagarre, Rhapsodie, Arabesques, Nocturne and several other compositions by editor Leduc, Martinu's financial situation began slowly to improve after years of hardships.

Having graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Ivan Straus continued, as a postgraduate student, at the Moscow Conservatory under the leadeship of professor Barinova. Afterwards, he became a teaching assistant back at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts, an institution he was forced to leave in 1975. Since then, he has been a head of the strings department at the newly founded conservatory in Pardubice. After 1989, he was finally allowed to return to the Prague Academy of Performing Arts, later to become, as of 1990, Vice dean for foreign affairs. He was a member of the Laterna Magica ensemble, cooperated with the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, and having concluded his studies, he became the Czech Trio member. Before Straus came to perform as a soloist of the Prague Symphony Orchestra, where he stayed until his return to the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, he played the solo violin parts along with the Pardubice Chamber Orchestra. As of 1979, he became the first violinist of the Suk Quartet, dedicating himself to the contemporary composers - both Czech and foreign. Straus' longlasting respect for Bohuslav Martinu's work deepened even futher after he had known the composer's widow, Charlotte, personally; and their friendship seems to project nowadays into Vice-president of the Bohuslav Martinu Foundation Straus' active promotion of Martinu's art.

Jirina Kolmanova graduated from the Janacek Academy of Performing Arts in Brno from Dr. Ludvik Kundera's class, later to study in Moscow under the guidance of professor Theodor Gutman (1965-1966). Since then, she has been involved in teaching at the Janacek Academy of Performing Arts in Brno,where, as of 1993, she became a chamber music professor. Jirina Kolmanova is a frequently sought-after chamber musician - both home and abroad. She has completed a number of solo and chamber radio recording projects, among others Piano Concerto No. 2 by Bohuslav Martinu.

The Antonin Dvorak Trio was created in 1988. Its members are Frantisek Maly, the pianist, Jiri Hurnik, the violinist, and Daniel Veis, the violoncellist: three international awards laureates, soloists and musicians of worldwide experience. Although the primary focus of the Antonin Dvorak Trio is the work of the Czech composer, whose name the Trio is proud to bear, its repertoire includes all essential trio pieces from the Viennese classics to 20th century music. Along with the rich concert activity, the Antonin Dvorak Trio is also a frequently recorded ensemble.

The Suk Quartet was created in 1968 within the Czech Phiharmonic Orchestra, when it performed as the Symphonics' Quartet. In 1970, it not only acquired its present name, the Suk Quartet, but it was also given the obligation of promoting its patron's name and of mapping some of the less frequented realms of the chamber music, especially Czech chamber music. Since the 1970's, the ensemble premiered over a hundred Czech and international authors' pieces. It is throughout the occassional cooperation with other instrumentalits, that the Suk Quartet broadens its repertoire: so far, it performed along with Josef Suk, Pavel Stepan, Karel Spelina, Emil Leichner, Bohumil Zahradnik, among others. The ensemble has had numerous recording projects with the Panton, Supraphon and Sarastro labels, i.e. the recording of compete Beethoven's string quintets. Lately, the Suk Quartet completed its work on the recording project of Hans Pfitzner in cooperation with the Balance label.

Apart from being the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra soloist, the violist Karel Spelina also conducts classes at the Prague Conservatory. He has stadily dedicated himself to the chamber music (in the Pilsen Radio Quartet between 1962-1970, since 1970 the "Ars rediviva" ensemble, the Bohuslav Martinu Piano Quartet since 1978), however, he performed several times as a soloist with leading Czech orchestras, too. His wide repertoire contains both the majority of essential titles, as well as a number of contemporary compositions. About 20 pieces were written on Spelina's request, later to be premiered by the violist himself. He is an author of numerous radio and LP recordings.

The violoncellist Daniel Veis studied first in Prague under Vaclav Adamira and Josef Chuchro, later in Moscow under Natalia Shakhovska at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 1978, Veis was awarded a silver medal in the Petr Ilich Tchaikovsky International Competition. Since then, he has dedicated himself to an active concert schedule both at home and abroad. As a soloist, Veis appears with the leading orchestra ensembles, focuses on chamber music, and is frequently featured by Czech television and radio stations. He has been recorded by major Czech labels. In his repertoire, we find a number of contemporary compositions (He won the Panton Award for the recording of Vladimir Sommer violoncello concerto.). In 1989, Daniel Veis became the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra soloist. He is also engaged in teaching at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where he occasionally conducted some master classes. He is a frequent guest at the international competition panel juries.



 

The Bohuslav Martinu Festival 1996  
 
The Concert of the International Chamber Music Academy Brandys nad Labem
Monday, December 9, 1996, 7:30 p.m.

Martinu Hall, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Malostranske namesti 13, Prague 1


Bohuslav Martinu: Czech Rhapsody for Violin and Piano, H. 307
Lento - Andante poco moderato – Moderato – Allegretto – Adagio - Allegro non troppo

Pavel Sporcl - violin
Alexander Lonquich - piano

Bohuslav Martinu: Mazurka - Nocturne for Oboe, Two Violins and Violoncello, H. 325
Moderato poco allegro
Adagio
Alexej Ogrincuk - oboe
Ida Levin - violin
Pavel Sporcl - violin
Josef Karlicek - violoncello

 
 

Ida Levin

Bohuslav Martinu: Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, H. 182
Allegro
Andante
Allegretto

Ida Levin – violin
Alexander Lonquich - piano

Bohuslav Martinu: Rondes for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Two Violins and Piano, H. 200
Poco allegro
Poco andantino
Allegro
Tempo di valse
Andantino
Allegro vivo

Maurice Bourgue – oboe
Robert Pickup - clarinet
Diego Chenna - bassoon
Jaroslav Roucek - trumpet
Ida Levin - violin
Elisabeth Bogensberger - violin
Alexander Lonquich - piano

Bohuslav Martinu: La Revue de Cuisine, H. 161
Prologue
Tango
Charleston
Finale

Ludmila Peterkova - clarinet
Jaroslav Kubita - bassoon
Jaroslav Roucek - trumpet
Elisabeth Bogensberger - violin
Elisabeth Ragl - violoncello
Alexander Lonquich - piano

Bohuslav Martinu: Sextet for Wind Instruments and Piano, H. 174
Prelude
Adagio
Scherzo
Blues
Finale

Maurice Bourgue - oboe
Stegania Bandino - flute
Ludmila Peterkova - clarinet
Jaroslav Kubita - bassoon
Diego Chenna - bassoon
Alexander Lonquich - piano


During the 1940's, at least one new composition is dedicated to violin almost every year: 1941 - the Concerto da camera for violin and string orchestra with piano and percussions; 1942 - the Madrigal sonata for flute, violin and piano; 1943 - the Violin Concerto No. 3. The Czech Rhapsody was written in July, 1945. Virtuoso composition for violin and piano, it is dedicated to the renowned violinist Fritz Kreisler. In his letter from July 10th, Martinu makes several remarks to Milos Safranek about his composition: "...it is a form I thought that I would not be doing again, and it is quite demanding..." It is worth noticing that the same name, Rapsodie tcheque, bears yet another composition by Martinu, written at the end of the World War I. Dedicated to the Czech writer Alois Jirasek, it is a cantata for baritone, choire, orchestra and organ from 1918.
In 1949, the musical world remembered the 100 anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin's death. At the request of the UNESCO, Martinu composed a piece for untraditional combination of instruments: oboe, two violins and violoncello, named the Mazurka- Nocturne. The premiere took place on October 3, 1949 at an official concert in Paris, along with the compositions by Florent Schmitt, Jaques Ibert, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Heitor Villa-Lobos, etc. As the name of the piece suggests, Bohuslav Martinu decided for two favourite forms of Chopin. The characteristic musical features of Martinu and Fryderyk Chopin - dotted rhythm and syncopes - have highly originally merged in this fragile composition.
The Rondes for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Two Violins and Piano were composed in November, 1930. The piece clearly announces new tendencies in the work of Bohuslav Martinu: it is not only for the unusual employment of seven instruments, but also for the original name of the composition, which was the Moravian Dances. The changes were already noticed by Martinu's contemporaries, among others by the pianist and musicologist Vaclav Stepan, an important promoter of contemporary music: "Around 1930, Martinu undertakes a new developmental step, leading him to inner simplicity. The shift is noticeable in the vehicles of composition, assertive and more tonal harmony, bigger metrical symmetry of motivic sections, sobier polyphony, his like of a smaller ensemble apparatus, chamber orchestra elaborateness, and, finally, in supreme importance paid to each movement's perfect construction. As for the contents, the shift is recognizable by the neatness and preciseness of musical idea, as well as by its austere definitiveness. Forces broke loose and a sharp wit, dominating his work up to now, have to share their reign with the restrained lyricism or agile, yet disciplined ecitement." The Rondes dedicated by Martinu to Jan Kunc, Director of the Conservatory in Brno, were, as well as La revue de cuisine, staged in Paris during Alfred Cortot's concerts.
At Easter, 1927, Bohuslav Martinu wrote a one-act jazz ballet, named La revue de cuisine. In November of the same year, the composition was premiered in Prague by Jarmila Kroeschlova, the author of the theme, and her artistic dance group. In January, 1930, one suite of the ballet was featured in Alfred Cortot concert in Paris, only to meet with remarkable success, leading to the request of Entre Soi, the exclusive chamber ensemble, to perform the piece again. It was not long before an importat Parisian editor Leduc expressed his interest to purchase the rights not only to La revue cuisine, but also to La Bagarre and a number of chamber, piano and instrumental compositions by Martinu. In the middle of the 20's Bohuslav Martinu shared his ideas about jazz and its use in the classical music with the Dalibor magazine: "...the post-war rediscovery of jazz is one of the requirements of contemporary societal will, [...]. All of a sudden, the jazzband features transfer into the symphonic composition, following the path of earlier forms. Throughout this act of artistic creation, they meet in a new form, as polka, e.g., in our context. [...] If we take Stravinsky, who was first to use these forms, we can see the way he controls the rhythmic quality of the piece, what new he is creating, and how he stands firm behind this rhythmic chaos. In that way, it is dominated not only by the jazzband features, but also, maybe even more powerfully, by Slavic rhythms. Oftentimes, I think about etraordinarily pregnant rhythms of our Slavic songs, about Slovak songs and their characteristic instrumental accompaniment, and it seems to me that we have no need to limit to the jazzband. At the same time, I cannot deny the part it plays within the


Josef Suk, Martin Turnovský

The Bohuslav Martinu Festival 1996  
 
Final Orchestral Concert
Thursday, December 12, 1996 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 13, 1996, 7:30 p.m.
Dvorak Hall, Rudolfinum, namesti Jana Palacha, Prague 1


Bohuslav Martinu: Les Fresques de Piero della Francesca, H. 352
Andante poco moderato
Adagio
Poco allegro

Bohuslav Martinu: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 2, H. 293
Andante. Poco allegro. Moderato
Andante moderato
Poco allegro
Josef Suk - violin

Bohuslav Martinu: Symphony No. 5, H. 310
Adagio. Allegro
Larghetto
Lento. Allegro

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Martin Turnovsky - conductor

In January 1943, the famous violinist Mischa Elman heard in New York the Symphony No. 1 by Bohuslav Martinu, performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Similar experience made him ask Bohuslav Martinu for a new composition, which he was ready to include in his repertoire. Only two months later, the composer presented to Elman a completed score of the Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra, to the first movement of which he later added some cadence on the violinist's request. Martinu wrote a short introductory note to accompany the premiere which read: "I had a following idea of the Concerto's structure: Andante, wide and lyrical canto of remarkable intensity leading to allegro, which makes best of the technique and virtuoso quality of the instrument; all seemingly a single movement composition. The final form has a concerto structure. I tried to maintain the first movement, the lyrical one, serious, as well as the middle part, that is allegro, the andante theme returns close to the end of the movement. The second movement, as if it were a certain kind of "relaxing bridge," which leads us up to final allegro. It is an intermezzo moderato, almost bucolic in a sense, which is accompanied only by a part of the orchestra and transfers into "attacco", into the final part, conducted in allegro. This movement favors the violin virtuoso technique, interrupted by wide and massive "tutti." The Concerto ends in a certain "stretto" in allegro vivo pace. [...] To compose for the solo violin requires one to be in a special state of mind. [...] All we wish to express by a violin solo part must be contained in a single melodic link, which has to substitute, in a way, the impact of other constituents." A highly successful premiere on the eve of 1944 was both for Martinu and Elman an important step to become one of the world No. 1 composers and violinists.
In several respects, the Les Fresques de Piero della Francesca, from 1955, resemble the composer's return to his beginnings. Long 40 years after Martinu, inspired by the famous Arnold Boecklin's picture, had written the "Villa by the sea" symphonic composition, he went back in the Les Fresques to make a specific picture reference become source of his inspiration. At the time Martinu wrote the orchestral piece, however, his only inspiration was only a picture of Piero della Francesca's Les Fresques, reproduced in a book his close friend Rudolf Kundera, painter, showed him in Southern France. What is more important, though, is the rediscovery of the charming world of impressionism, to which Martinu had waved good bye at the beginning of the 1920's. However, while the impressionism represented by Debussy, Ducas and Roussel entirely overcome Martinu back then, this time, he approached it in a highly subjective and unmistakable manner. In a letter Martinu addressed to Policka, his native town, in reference to this composition, he mentioned: "It is far from descriptive, naturally, but it expresses impressions Les Fresques had arisen in me in the Arezzo church. The first movement depicts this well known group of women with the Queen of Saba; the second is Constantin's Dream; while the third is the overall impession the Les Fresques gave me. The composition is rather impressionistic in its character "The piece is dedicated to Rafael Kubelik, who premiered it at the Salzburg Music Festival, in 1956.
In 1946, Martinu composed the Symphony No. 5 in New York, dedicating it to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, in which he himself had performed years ago. 12 months later, the piece was first staged in Prague, conducted by Rafael Kubelik. Symphony No. 5 was to conclude the sequence of 5 symphonies composed in the USA between 1942-1946. What makes it diferent from its four predecessors, is a loose concept of composition and a tragic character, further emphasized by a highly original instrumentation. Its unusually personal tone nurtures the use of Moravian folk song Bolava hlavenka, "My Head Is Aching." Later, the composer Martinu described his Symphony No. 5 as: "...a well organized piece, organic and well structured. There are only a very few moments which would not satisfy me any more, [...]. It does not bear an old symphonic form, but newer and better construction."

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra considers January 4, 1896, as the date of its founding; that day the ensemble, conducted by Antonin Dvorak, performed a programme exclusively featuring the conductor's works. Despite substantial material hardships, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra grew into artistic maturity and has performed with influential Czech and foreign artists. Vaclav Talich became chief conductor of the ensemble after the founding of the first Czechoslovak Republic and remained in his post for several decades. Under Talich's leadership, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra grew into one of Europe's finest ensembles. It often invited renowned soloists and conductors to Prague, and systematically built up a permanent repertoire. After World War II, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was nationalized and its headquarters were established at Rudolfinum Concert Hall. On the 50th anniversary of its foundation, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, led since 1942 by Rafael Kubelik, inaugurated the Prague Spring Festival in 1946. The ensemble has remained a cornerstone of this world renowned festival to the present day. After Rafael Kubelik's emigration, the Czech Philharmony Orchestra's chief conductors were Karel Ancerl (1950-1968), Vaclav Neumann (1969-1988), the conductor of the first collected recordings of Bohuslav Martinu's symphonies, Jiri Belohlavek (1990-1991) and Gerd Albrecht (1993-1996).

Josef Suk graduated from the Prague Conservatory as professor Jaroslav Kocian's student. His career as a world renowned violinist began in 1954 with a solo recital in Prague and it was not before long, that he ranked among the world's best in his field. Suk's repertoire is a very wide one and it contains the pieces of all stylistic periods. Since the very beginning, Suk has also dedicated himself to chamber music, above all with the Suk Trio and the Suk Chamber Orchestra, of which he was a founder. The cooperation with leading labels (Supraphon, EMI, Decca, Columbia, among others) constitutes an important part of Suk's professional career and has also won him acclaim and a number of important awards.
Having graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague from Karel Ancerl's class, Martin Turnovsky became a student of George Szell. After the owerwhelming success in the international competition of conductors in Besacon, he conducted in Brno and Pilsen. Between 1966-1968, he was the artistic director of the State Opera in Dresden. In 1968 he performed all over the Europe and overseas. He became a head of the Norwegian State Opera in Oslo, between 1979-1982 he directed the Bonn Opera House. Turnovsky has cooperated with world renowned opera and symphonic ensembles, with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, among others. From 1992-1995, he headed the Prague Symphony Orchestra, FOK. Turnovsky has recorded with a number of Czech and international leading labels and his recording of the Symphony No. 4 by Bohuslav Martinu along with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque prize.

 
 

 


Poslední aktualizace: 2005-02-28 15:10:19