Thursday, June 7, 2012: The Perfect Line-Up (1)
Part 1 of 2
The two main protagonists making the perfect line-up for the Prague Spring concert Monday evening sat perched among the audience in rows 6 and 9 of the impressive Dvořák Hall. Until Mr Hurník and Mr Sommer walked onto the stage to receive their ovation, only the professional photographer and an attentive reader of the program matched them with their names.
Ilja Hurník and Lukáš Sommer are major composers of Czech classical contemporary music, with more than six generations between them. The compositions by the young and the seasoned composers formed the core of the May 28 concert performed by the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice under the baton of the charismatic conductor Marko Ivanovič.
The Young Composer: Lukáš Sommer hears a lot of praise and comments on his young age (28) and early success. A graduate of composition at the Faculty of Performing Arts, guitar player, and music journalist, he drew early attention as a student of composition and has received international recognition for his Concerto for Harp and Orchestra. Yet when you think of Mozart, or Chopin, these men skyrocketed into their careers very young as well.Mr Sommer’s talent was behind the Prague Spring festival’s commission of an orchestral piece. The piece featured Roman Novotný, the flutist of the Czech Philharmonic and teacher at the Conservatory.
As the composer told Opus Osm, it took him two years before the three-movement Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, titled The Letter to Father, could be played live.
In the introduction to his work, Mr. Sommer declines to give any further explanations of his music and leaves listeners to judge for themselves. Unquestionably personal in nature, the composition really recalls the structure of a linear letter. The flute guides the listeners through it as the voice of the writer, without repetitive themes.
You can hear sad, disturbing notes and stormy fights. The second and third movements, called “Fantasia” and “Nenia,” seem to mellow the conflict through the engagement of harp and xylophone, which add an almost fairy-tale quality.
The premiered composition with excellent Mr. Novotný’s flute was warmly received and even earned an encore.
Tomorrow: Part 2 of The Perfect Lineup – Ilja Hurník: The Seasoned Composer
– Zuzana Sklenková
Photo Credits: Top: Prague Spring International Music Festival 2012; bottom, James Mensch