Hall: Concert Hall
Subscription: C1 - Symphonic concerts, Z1 - Golden subscription
Price: 25-80 zł
Can instrumental music express extra‑ musical, literary contents? This question always provokes lively discussions, and the repertoire of this concert is a good point of departure for comments on this subject. Listeners will be able to confront their emotional reactions with the intentions of the two Czech masters. Bedřich Smetana’s great cycle of six symphonic poems Má vlast is a homage to his fatherland and its centuries‑ old legends. The second part of the cycle, Vltava, is particularly popular because of its beauty and the highly suggestive programme. Following the course of the musically depicted river, the audience can observe many different landscapes, both pastoral and ominous, witness what happens on the river shore, until they reach the royal Prague, announced by majestic tones.
The symphony written by the 16 years younger Antonín Dvořák represents a different type of programme. During his several‑ year‑ long stay in the United States, the composer developed a fascination for native American Indian music and Afro‑ American spirituals – both almost completely unknown in Europe at that time. Though he does not quote them directly in his E Minor Symphony, he admits in his commentary to being inspired by their rhythms and modal turns. Also some literary references have been suggested, for instance to Longfellow’s poem The Song of Hiawatha. This brilliant, extremely original work immediately entered the canon of symphonic repertoires and remains one of Dvořák’s best known and most frequently performed compositions also today.
The style of the Rascher Saxophone Quartet (USA) inspired Philip Glass to compose his Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra (1995), which also exists in a version for quartet alone. This highly lyrical composition (with a wonderful hushed ‘lullaby’ in section three) may surprise many listeners with its rather traditional structure. Glass’s typical repetitiveness is only present here to a limited extent. Instead, he uses conventional elements of musical form, including broad cantilena themes.