Czech Philharmonic

Simon Rattle, Czech Philharmonic

Even world-famous conductors have dreams. Sir Simon Rattle for example has dreamt of conducting the Czech Philharmonic in Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass since it first bewitched him as a young man when he heard the Orchestra’s Supraphon recording with Karel Ančerl. This sacred work will be preceded by the second set of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances. These, together with the first set, will be recorded for future release on PENTATONE.

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All dates

Wednesday

1/29/2025


7:30 PM


Rudolfinum - Dvořák Hall

Praha


130 - 1550 CZK

Thursday

1/30/2025


7:30 PM


Rudolfinum - Dvořák Hall

Praha


130 - 1550 CZK

Friday

1/31/2025


7:30 PM


Rudolfinum - Dvořák Hall

Praha


130 - 1550 CZK

Description

ABOUT THE CONCERT 

Even world-famous conductors have dreams. Sir Simon Rattle for example has dreamt of conducting the Czech Philharmonic in Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass since it first bewitched him as a young man when he heard the Orchestra’s Supraphon recording with Karel Ančerl. This sacred work will be preceded by the second set of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances. These, together with the first set, will be recorded for future release on PENTATONE.

Subscription series B

Programme

Antonín Dvořák
Slavonic Dances, Op. 72

Leoš Janáček
Glagolitic Mass, cantata for solo voices, mixed choir, orchestra, and organ

Performers

Iwona Sobotka soprano
Lucie Hilscherová alto
Pavel Černoch tenor
Jan Martiník bass

Prague Philharmonic Choir
Lukáš Vasilek choirmaster

Simon Rattle conductor

Czech Philharmonic

MORE INFORMATION

The older Janáček got, the more modern his compositions became. His music finally began to receive acclaim after the Prague premiere of Jenůfa in 1916 when he was already over 60. During his years of waiting for recognition, he cast aside conventions and sought to refine his unique musical language to its very essence.

The Glagolitic Mass is one of the most powerful sacred works in music history. In 1926, aged 72, Janáček set about writing music to the Old Church Slavonic text. Once his creative zeal had been ignited, he composed quickly and incredibly, sketched out the entire work in just three weeks. He continued to make substantial changes to the Mass even after its premiere on 5 December 1927 in Brno up until his death half a year later.

In a review of the premiere performance, the musicologist Ludvík Kundera called the composer an old man and a firm believer. Janáček’s often quoted retort - “No old man, no believer! Young fellow!” – must not be taken at face value as he was indisputably a spiritual person. Raised in a Benedictine monastery in the Old Brno district, he taught his children faith and prayer. Yet, during his lifetime, he clearly distanced himself from the Catholic Church and this may be why he chose to set the non-denominational Old Church Slavonic text of the mass to music. 

Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances were born from words of encouragement which Janáček, on the other hand, did not very often get to hear. Because of the commercial success of Antonín Dvořák’s Moravian Duets, the Berlin publisher Fritz Simrock asked Dvořák for “something in the manner of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances”. Dvořák reacted to this suggestion on 24 March 1878 by sending Brahms this message:
“Most honoured master! I have been entrusted with writing some Slavic dances for Mr Simrock. Not knowing how to begin, I tried to lay my hands on your famous Hungarian Dances, and I am taking the liberty of using them as a model for preparing the Slavonic Dances in question.”

Following the tremendous success of the first set of dances, Dvořak’s Berlin publisher asked for more. The composer hesitated at first because, in his words, “it’s damned hard to do the same thing twice”. Finally, when he did find inspiration for a second set, like for the first, he composed Slavonic Dances simultaneously for versions for piano four hands and for orchestra.

The second set of Slavonic Dances of 1886 covers a wider area of the Slavic territory than the first, presenting such dances as the odzemek from Moravian Silesia, the Ukrainian dumka, the Polish polonaise, and the Serbian kolo. However, Dvořák never directly quotes folk melodies in any of the dances. What audiences will hear are masterful stylisations resulting in entirely original compositions that are “pure” Dvořák.

Show more
Length 90 minutes
Music
Leoš Janáček
Author
Antonín Dvořák
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