Bedřich Smetana (1824 - 1884)
Antonín Dvořák (1841 - 1904)
Biblical Songs op. 99
Symphony No. 5 in F major op. 76
Program subject to change
It is not without reason that Smetana is often referred to as the first truly Czech composer, even though he spoke mainly German in the first half of his life. More importantly, however, is the fact that with the cycle of six symphonic poems, “Má Vlast” (“My Fatherland”), he contributed the key work in the establishment of an independent Czech musical culture. If there were an official classical music hit parade, then “Vltava“, the second piece in the cycle, would undoubtedly rank among the front runners. Antonín Dvořák, not quite a generation younger than Smetana, continued his compatriot’s efforts to create a Czech national music with great success, especially in his nine symphonies. While the first four arerelatively early works and ambivalent in their artistic success, Dvořák’sFifth, composed in only six weeks in summer 1875, was truly a firstsymphonic masterpiece. Almost twenty years later – and temporarily resident in the USA – Dvořák, saddened by the death of Tchaikovsky, turned his attention to a series of biblical songs. They are all imbued with a sense of deepest piety, which manifests itself in reverence and unconditional faith in God, but also in jubilant confidence.
18.30 Concert introduction by Lion Gallusser
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