IMF Kutná Hora 2017

Saturday, June 11 / 8:00 p.m. / Church of St. Barbara 


Dvořák / Suk

In the memory of Maestro Josef Suk and his concert appearance during the first edition of this festival in 2008

Antonín Dvořák: Miniatures for Two Violins and Viola Op. 75a,  B149

I. Cavatina. Moderato
II. Capriccio. Poco allegro
III. Romance. Allegro
III. Elegie. Larghetto

Pavel Šporcl, Miroslav Ambroš – violins, Karel Untermüller – viola

Antonín Dvořák: Bagatelles for Two Violins, Cello and Harmonium Op. 47, B79

I. Allegretto scherzando
II. Tempo di minuetto. Grazioso
III. Allegretto scherzando
IV. Canon. Andante con moto
V. Poco allegro

Pavel Šporcl, Miroslav Ambroš – violins, Jiří Bárta – cello, Jan Simon – harmonium

Antonín Dvořák: Terzetto for Two Violins and Viola in C minor Op. 74, B148

I. Introduzione. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Larghetto
III. Scherzo. Vivace
IV. Tema con variazioni. Poco adagio

Pavel Šporcl, Miroslav Ambroš – violins, Karel Untermüller – viola

Josef Suk: Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello in A minor Op. 1

I. Allegro appassionato
II. Adagio
III. Allegro con fuoco

Pavel Šporcl – violin, Karel Untermüller – viola, Jiří Bárta – cello, Jan Simon – piano


In memory of Maestro Josef Suk and his concert at the Festival´s inaugural edition in 2008. A faithful replica of that concert, with the same programme featuring the same combination, and Pavel Šporcl as the first violin.


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In 2008, the legendary violinist, Josef Suk (1929-2011) appeared at the then freshly established chamber music festival in Kutná Hora, flanked during his concert by a posse of younger fellow musicians, which was exactly how he liked it. On that occasion, he performed music by his grandfather and great-grandfather, Josef Suk and Antonín Dvořák, respectively. Tonight´s programme replicates that historic appearance, even the artists are the same, with the one sad exception of Maestro Suk, whose place as leader is taken over by Pavel Šporcl.

The programme offers an array of compositions reflecting the intimate aspect of Dvořák´s music, distinct from his no less famous imposing works for large oratorio forces and symphony orchestras. Humour, a sense of ease, refinement, and profound emotionality are the key attributes of these unpretentious yet immaculate compositions. The Miniatures for Two Violins, Cello and Harmonium was written at the behest of Dvořák´s friend, the cellist Josef Srb-Debrnov, who staged small-scale chamber concerts in his home. The fact that he then had no piano on site accounts for these short pieces´ unusual combination, with harmonium. Underlying their outward simplicity is their composer´s evident mastery in the leading and linking of the individual voices, as well as his feeling for the tone palette of the various combinations, and the formal perfection of his execution. In its turn, the Trio in C major for Two Violins and Viola was once again written for home music-making, this time practiced by a neighbour of the Dvořáks, chemistry student Josef Kruis, an amateur student of violin with Jan Pelikán, a member of the National Orchestra theatre. Dvořák would occasionally join the two with the viola, and it was on one of those occasions that he placed on the music stands the score of this new piece. However, the trio actually proved too difficult for young Kruis, so the composer proceeded to supply another, more technically manageable piece, the Bagatelles.

Josef Suk (1874-1935) wrote his Piano Quartet in A minor in 1891, as his first work in the compositional class of Antonín Dvořák. Subsequent praise from Maestro Dvořák earned the then only seventeen-year-old violinist instant success: the quartet´s publication was made possible thanks to support from the Emperor Francis Joseph Bohemian Academy, and by the spring of 1892 it was already out in printed form. The three-part Piano Quartet in A minor was copiously performed by the celebrated Czech Quartet in which Josef Suk played the second violin, and as time passed it became a sought-after title in the Czech chamber music repertoire.

                                                                                                                     sleeve-note: Dita Hradecká / translation: Ivan Vomáčka

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