Bohemian Legends

Philharmonia Orchestra with Bristol and Gloucester Choral Societies

Conductor Jakub Hrůša
Piano Lukáš Vondráček
Soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin
Mezzo soprano Monica Groop
Tenor Peter Berger
Bass Mischa Schelomianski
Organ Thomas Trotter

Philharmonia Orchestra with Bristol Choral Society and Gloucester Choral Society

Smetana Overture to The Bartered Bride
Dvořák Piano Concerto
Janáček Glagolitic Mass

Janácek’s thrilling large-scale choral encounter Glagolitic Mass is brought to life in all its ground-shaking glory by the Philharmonia Orchestra, one of the world’s finest orchestral ensembles, and the tremendous power of a full choir of over 200 voices including members of both Bristol and Gloucester Choral Societies. Internationally-renowned conductor Jakub Hruša leads this very special all-Czech programme that also features the vivacious overture to Smetena’s opera The Bartered Bride, and Dvorák’s sometimes puckish piano concerto, given a relatively rare outing by a fiery young pianist The Washington Post insists is “someone to watch”.

Pre-concert interview: Jakub Hrůša
6.25pm, free with a concert ticket to the main concert

Enhance your experience

Discovering Music Talk
Saturday 5 April, 11am

Bristol based conductor Jonathan James hosts this popular series of talks that dig deeper into the themes and ideas behind the music. In an entertaining and incisive style Jonathan explores and uncovers the building blocks of each programme, putting the music performed into historical and social context.

The composers

Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) is widely regarded as the father of Czech music, and beloved by his homeland for this reason. Internationally he is best known for his symphonic cycle Má vlast (‘My Homeland’), and his opera The Bartered Bride, which is regarded as the first work of the Czech operatic style. The overture to this opera stands as a concert piece in its own right, and continues to delight audiences the world over.

Antonín Leopold Dvořák (1841-1904) followed Smetana’s nationalist example, with Czech folk music heavily influencing his style. Known as a supreme symphonist, his most famous work is of course his 9th, otherwise known as the New World Symphony. Of the three concertos he composed for piano, violin and cello, the piano concerto is the most rarely performed.

Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) completes this triumvirate of Czech musical genius. Janáček devoted many years to studying the folklore of his homeland, as well as the works of his musical forebears such as Dvořák. His later works demonstrated his skill in reimagining the folk music of the Slavic lands in a modern musical language, first shown in his opera Jenůfa. Although not religious, Janáček was highly spiritual, believing in the divine energy of nature and the universe – a belief he affirms in exultant style through the Glagolitic Mass.

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