Monday, May 14, 2012: Making Classical Convenient
A typical concert-going experience goes something like this: You go home after work, maybe change your clothes, grab some dinner, head to the concert hall for the concert that starts around 7 or 8 pm — then, by the time the concert is over, it’s already dark out and you’re ready to call it quits for the evening.
Does this sound all too familiar? Well, why not try mixing up the schedule a bit? That’s what the Herold Quartet (Heroldovo Kvarteto) did recently at The Rudolfinum by holding a concert at 5:30 pm instead of a more conventional, later time.
The quartet, which is named after the Czech musician and composer Jiří Herold (1875 – 1934), performed as part of the Early Evening concerts of the Czech Philharmonic / Czech Chamber Music Society (Český Spolek pro Komorní Hudbu).The earlier start time certainly did nothing to hurt attendance: There was hardly an empty seat in the house.
Nor was the earlier start time indicative of a lack of quality: The Herold Quartet, which performed compositions by Leoš Janáček, Luboš Sluka, Ludwig van Beethoven, and an encore piece by Josef Suk, demonstrated why The Independent has called the ensemble “absolutely perfect.” First violinist Petr Zvdihal, second violinist Jan Valta, violist Karel Untermüller, and cellist David Havelík showed that they are not only masters of technique, but of artistic expression.
And the cherry on top of this lovely musical evening? By the time the concert finished, the evening was far from over. The sun hadn’t even set yet — in fact, there was even still time for the enthusiastic concert-goer to attend another performance, if one so desired.
If you’d like to give an early concert a try, there’s a prime opportunity to do so tomorrow (Tues, May 15). The violin duo Due in Eterno will perform at The Rudolfinum at 5:30 pm with Eva Gina. The members of Due in Eterno, Ivana Frajtová and Ivana Kovalčíková, first met at the Primary Arts School Slavičín, and were winning awards together by age 11. Eighteen years later, they’re still playing together and have gone on several international tours.They will be joined on Tuesday by Eva Gina, a Czech composer, cellist, singer, and morin khuur player. The morin khuur is a traditional Mongolian bowed string instrument, and has been designated as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. The three musicians will perform one of Mrs Gina’s compositions, as well as compositions by composers Bohuslav Martinů and Ján Skladaný.
If you really want to fill your evening with music, you’d probably still have time to attend another concert, by walking over to either The Municipal House or to the Church of Saints Simon and Jude, later that evening. The Vienna Philharmonic will perform at the Municipal House’s Smetana Hall at 8 pm. Meanwhile, at the Church of Saints Simon and Jude, renowned American harpsichordist Mark Kroll will perform with violist Mark Ludwig, violinist Martina Bačová, flutist Jan Ostrý, and cellist Petr Nouzovský, also at 8 pm. (Both concerts are part of the Prague Spring International Music Festival, and tickets are selling quickly.)
In any case, attending the Due in Eterno’s concert doesn’t have to be the end of your evening — it can be just the beginning. — oo
– Anna Walsh
Photo Credits: Top: Due in Eterno website; bottom: Eva Gina website