MAY 2019

Tribute to the theremin at the Prague Spring

Concert of the Prague Spring festival called “Tribute to the theremin” will take place on 24 May 2019 in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague. Its focal point will be Fantasia for Theremin, Oboe, String Quartet and Piano, H 301 by Bohuslav Martinů, featuring famous Carolina Eyck, Bennewitz Quartet, oboist Alžběta Jamborová and pianist Karel Košárek. The program of the concert will also include Martinů's String Quartet No. 3, Butterflies and Birds of Paradise, String Quartet in G major by Joseph Haydn, and the world premiere of composition æther by Jakub Rataj.

Carolina Eyck Photo: Ananda Costa

The famous electronic instrument theremin, which was invented by Léon Theremin in 1920, will be heard in Bohuslav Martinů’s Fantasia and in æther, piece composed for the Prague Spring by the young Czech composer Jakub Rataj. “Martinů was one of the first composers to write for the theremin – his Fantasia was premiered in the autumn of 1945. It is especially well written for the instrument,” says Carolina Eyck, currently one of the most sought-after performers on the theremin who already performed the piece during Bohuslav Martinů Days Festival back in 2015. “In the cadenza Martinů wrote a beautiful folk melody which I play as a duet with the viola. It’s my favourite part of the piece since I studied the viola myself,” she says.

Martinů fans can also look forward to hearing Butterflies and Birds of Paradise, H 127 for piano performed by Karel Košárek and String Quartet No. 3, H 183 composed in 1929. “His String Quartet No. 3 explores the possibilities of the four-voice texture and is inspired by the purity of the Neo-Classical form and light gestures from which the musical phrases are shaped. It is here that the compositional techniques come closest to real Classicism, in particular, the means of expression employed by Joseph Haydn, who is thus an essential part of our programme as well,” members of the Bennewitz Quartet state, pointing to the intriguing associations emerging from their choice of works. “In the same way that Martinů has the greatest respect for music of past eras and openly adopts Classical approaches, Haydn was not afraid to acknowledge his love for Baroque opera and, in the free movement, presents us with a surprising musical drama, by turns both charming and stirring!”

Bennewitz Quartet Photo: Kamil Ghais

Last few tickets are available here.