Tuesday, April 17, 2012: Child’s Play

Opus Osm

Children get the chance to play musical instruments during intermission at the Children's Concerts by the Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK).

Child’s Play

Kids took the stage again at the latest concert especially for children, designed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK). The theme this time was “earth,” the fourth and final topic in the series focused on the four elements.

Once again the program creators offered a treat for more than just the ears. Young dancers from Balet Praha Junior, the Taneční Centrum Praha conservatory, performed in the contemporary style to Zdeněk Lukáš’ Concerto Grosso III for Six Violins and Chamber Orchestra, and in a more traditional, folk style to Janáček’s Pilky.

That piece received a charming introduction when youngsters from the FOK’s Fík Music Club took the stage – or more precisely, the floor – and presented their own version of the folk song. Some hammered on wood blocks, xylophones, tambourines; others mimed young wood cutters pulling and pushing a two-person saw, all to background accompaniment by a couple of orchestra musicians and the Carmina Bohemica youth choir.

Leoš Janáček wrote Pilky as part of a set of six Lachian Dances, folk pieces written in 1888-89 and based on traditional tunes from the Wallachia region in his native Moravia, today known as the Moravian Wallachia, or Valašsko region.

According to Pilky, winter is rapidly coming in Wallachia, and a woodcutter has to hurry to saw enough firewood to last through the coming snows. The tempo of the music increases as, perhaps, the woodcutter sees the first few flakes descend.

You can watch a part of the charming performance in the video below. You’ll see the Fík Music Club perform (and the FOK’s reaction). Then the youngsters take their bows to the audience applause.

Whether you enjoy the music as a fully developed orchestral composition or as mere child’s play, Pilky and all the works presented at the Children’s Concert were well worth an hour or so on a beautiful Saturday spring day. — oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Miroslav Setnička

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