Tuesday, October 4, 2011:Classical Covers

Leoš Janáček 'covered' Dvořák's Moravian Duets

Janáček’s Classical “Cover”

You probably have several favorite cover versions of songs recorded previously by other rock or pop singers.

You’ll be interested to know that this practice didn’t originate with old rock ‘n roll singers, but actually can be found in classical music from a much earlier era.

For example, Leoš Janáček put his composer’s pen to work in a new arrangement of Antonín Dvořák’s Moravian Duets (Moravské Dvojzpěvy).

And you can hear the result in concert Tuesday evening, Oct 11 at the Church of St Simon and St Jude. The Kühn Mixed Choir will present Moravian Duets as part of a very interesting mix of music.

Also on the program is Zdeněk Lukáš’s Requiem Opus 252. Lukáš, born in 1928, was basically a self-taught composer whose only formal training came from personal tutoring. Although the future composer started out as a school teacher he eventually found his voice, and wasn’t afraid to use it, despite its fresh originality during an era of conformity.

By the end of his life, in 2007, he had created more than 300 compositions, ranging from folksong arrangements to music for radio to experiments with electronic music and non-traditional scales. Today he’s gaining in popularity and his pieces are played in various concerts around Prague. (Mr Lukáš was introduced to Opus Osm readers in an article published on May 10.)

Martinů’s Madrigals

And then we come to another part of next Tuesday’s program, a selection of Bohuslav Martinů’s Madrigals. Just take a look at some of their intriguing, double-entendre titles which are anything but traditional or stuffy; in fact, most of them might inspire some rock artists even today. (Their roughly equivalent titles follow in English:)

Aj, Stupaj Můj Koníčku Na Most (Go Ride T’wards the Bridge, My Pony)
Půjdeme, Chodníčka Nevíme (We’re Going, But We Don’t Know Where)
Daj mi Bože Vědět (Oh Lord, Do Let Me Know)
Hej! Máme na Prodej (Hey! We’ve Got for Sale)
Hlavěnka mne Bolí (My Head Aches!)
Chceme my se, Chceme, ale Potajemně (We Want Each Other, We Want—but Nobody Else Knows)
Jak Je Mně, Tak Je Mně (I’m Fine, Really Fine)
Ešče Jednů (One More Time)

The evening’s concert mix also includes selections from Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s Žalmy (Psalms). The Kühn Mixed Choir, under the direction of Marek Vorlíček, appears as part of the Prague Symphony Orchestra’s Choir Series. – oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Relief of Leoš Janáček, Olomouc, by Michal Maňas

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