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Hrůša conducts Novák and Dvořák

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Rudolfinum: Dvořák HallAlšovo nábřeží 12, Prague, Central Bohemian Region, Praha 1, Czech Republic
Dates/times in Prague time zone
Bamberg Symphony
Jakub HrůšaConductor
Jan MráčekViolin

As Goethe said, »He who is not curious never learns anything.« This concert will start by telling the musical tale of a naked horsewoman, introducing the compelling composer Vítězslav Novák, who was born in 1870. His abundantly melodic works captivate with their late romantic tonal colour, and Novák was once called the »greatest landscape painter in Czech music.« In 1907, he wrote the overture to the play »Lady Godiva«, which revolves around an 11th-century legend recounting probably the most provocative tax protest in history: in order to persuade her domineering husband to cut the taxes he had imposed on the suffering populace, Lady Godiva rides naked through the streets of Coventry. It is easy to hear from the overture, which ends with peals of bells, that Novák studied in Prague with Dvořák – of whose famous »Slavonic Dances« we will play a selection. These dances were only written because Brahms had drawn his publisher’s attention to Dvořák in 1877, and the publisher then advised Dvořák to write works like Brahms’ »Hungarian Dances«. No sooner said than done: Dvořák employed the characteristic rhythms and melodies of Slavic dance music – and the dances were a huge success. In addition to these Czech gems, we will play a magnificent violin concerto interpreted by the Czech violinist Jan Mráček. This concerto was written by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who was always eager to explore new musical genres – though these explorations did not always come about voluntarily: born in Brno in 1897, he later was forced to flee to the USA, where he wrote numerous film scores for »Tinseltown« Hollywood – the traces of which can be heard in his 1945 concerto. In this high romantic cinematic adventure, the violin goes on a nostalgic journey through the most beautiful scenes of the films quoted.

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