Tuesday, November 1, 2011:Early Autumn

Early Autumn, Early Concert

If switching your clock back to standard time last Saturday has you a little off balance [Czech: “Nejsem ve své kůži,” or, “I'm not in my own skin”], you can still enjoy an evening of live classical music without staying up past your new bedtime.

How?

By attending the Czech Philharmonic “Early Evening” series of concerts which conveniently start right after work, at 5:30 pm. In fact, there’s one tomorrow (Wed, Nov 2), just in time to ease you into the annual “fall back in the fall” standard time change. The concert is part of the Czech Chamber Music Society series, and features pianist Daniel Wiesner, accompanied on cello by Albanian Bledar Zajmi.

The internationally acclaimed musicians have decided to include two standard works, one by Martinů, one by Dvořák, for the concert at the Rudolfinum.

Cellist Bledar Zajmi (left), and pianist Daniel Wiesner perform Wednesday

“If I Had Known,” a traditional folk song, provides the theme for Martinů’s Variations on a Slovakian Theme, written by the Czech master in 1959. After a short piano introduction, the main theme is introduced by the cello. From there, watch for all kinds of variations, from a syncopated rhythm to a visit to the melancholy, to the lively final passages in sprightly Slovak rhythms.

Recycling: A Time-Tested Practice

Although we like to think modern folks inventing recycling, the idea is actually very old, and it pertains not only to plastic, paper, or glass but even to classical music. Composers from all ages borrowed ideas, themes, and other techniques from their own earlier or other composers’ works. Dvořák did, too.

His Silhouettes for Piano, Opus 8, from 1879, is an example. If you know your Dvořák, you may hear themes from his symphonies or his Cypresses song cycle in tomorrow’s concert.

And if you’re not very familiar with classical music, this early evening concert is an enjoyable way to meet these well-known Czech composers (Beethoven and Strauss are on the program, too), presented by two very accomplished musicians.

And then you’ll still have the rest of the evening to savor what you’ve just heard. – oo

– Mary Matz

About the Musicians

Daniel Wiesner graduated from the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU). He enjoys a distinguished career performing internationally and recording extensively. He has won many prestigious international awards, and also premieres contemporary music by Czech composers. Bledar Zajmi began playing the cello at age 6, by 12 was performing internationally, and later won a scholarship to study at HAMU. The recipient of awards in several top international competitions, Mr Zajmi performs abroad and regularly records for Czech radio and television.

Photo Credits: Top: Petra Setnička; bottom: Bledar Zajmi website

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