IMF Kutná Hora 2017

Sunday, June 5 /  8:00 p.m. / Church of St. Barbara

OPENING CONCERT

Beethoven / Dvořák 

 

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata for Piano No. 8 in C minor Op. 13

I. Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio
II. Adagio cantabile
III. Rondo, Allegro

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata for Piano No. 31 in A flat major Op. 110

I. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
II. Allegro molto
III. Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro ma non troppo

Piers Lane – piano

Antonín Dvořák: Quintet for Piano, Two Violins, Viola and Cello

I. Allegro ma non tanto
II. Dumka. Andante con moto
III. Scherzo (Furiant)
IV. Finale. Allegro

Piers Lane – piano, Roman Patočka, Milan Pala – violins, Karel Untermüller – viola, Jiří Bárta – cello

 

Beethoven´s masterpiece piano sonatas, here as a reminiscence of last year´s offerings, coupled with a passionate Dvořák quintet, will join the forces of Australian pianist Piers Lane and his festival colleagues in an international team. Everybody hang on to your hats!

 

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The corpus of 32 piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is immensely varied, innovative, and by no means the least, hugely gratifying as regards listening experience. It´s definitely most welcome then that, one year after its presentation at this Festival in its completeness, this year´s edition offers the delight of hearing at least two of these sonatas. They are mutually separated by a period of twenty-three years, and therefore represent two distinct stages in the great German composer´s life and career.

The Sonata in C minor, Op. 13 “Pathétique” attests to Beethoven the young maverick, a virtuoso pianist capable of conjure up on the keyboard something very close to orchestral effects. The work´s dashing outer movements flank a wondrous adagio with a recurring melodious subject interspersed with contrasting episodes. The attribute “pathétique” ought to be interpreted in accord with its dominant connotation in its time, as “filled with emotion”.

Beethoven´s penultimate sonata was composed during the year 1821, at a time when he suffered from progressive loss of hearing that eventually left him completely deaf. Of his three late sonatas, this one is the most accessible. In its music, Beethoven aims for clarity and simplicity, embodied in heartfelt, lyrical themes. That notwithstanding, the work´s formal makeup is ultimately sophisticated in an almost refined manner: the final part has the individual subjects converging in a fugue, a form which in Beethoven´s treatment induces an impression of finiteness, and inevitability. No wonder that the composer, who was simultaneously working on his Missa Solemnis, turned here to Johann Sebastian Bach as a major source of inspiration and incomparable model.

Fifteen years after his Piano Quintet, Op. 5, Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) produced another work for the same combination and using the same key. This second quintet renders ample proof of the sheer mastery and supreme compositional assurance characteristic for the mature Dvořák. There is much to admire on this thoroughly affirmative, indeed joyful composition: exquisite instrumentation, flawless balance of the individual movements and the work as a whole, melodic invention, and one could go on. Already the first hearing will bring attention to echoes of Slavonic folk music, notably in the form of a melancholy dumka in the second movement, and a virtuoso stylization of the Czech folk dance, furiant, in the third movement. A good part of the quintet was written at Dvořák´s summer retreat in Vysoká whose idyllic atmosphere appears to have projected into this music.

                                                                                                                     sleeve-note: Dita Hradecká / translation: Ivan Vomáčka

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