September Sunshine for Prague

Opus Osm

Sol de Praga chamber trio specializes in compositions from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Sol de Praga’s Concert Brings Sunshine to Prague

In This New Chamber Trio, All Members are Under 19

If you haven’t heard Sol de Praga yet, it’s understandable. The chamber trio comprising three young students has been together less than a year. Julie Svěcená (18), violin; and Libor Suchý (17), clarinet, are studying at the Prague Conservatory. Matyáš Novák, just 14, piano/violin, is already taking classes at AMU.

But already they’re making news.

Sol de Praga earned second place in this year’s Concertina Praga competition, clarinetist Libor Suchý tells Opus Osm. Aside from their victory performance in The Rudolfinum in July, they’ve had time so far for only a handful of public concerts, explains violinist Julie Svěcená.

Opus Osm caught them Sat, Sept 1 at the Czech Technical Library, in a friendly, informal setting enjoyed by a full and very appreciative audience. Their appearance is part of Václav Hudeček’s concert series “Z Hvězdiček Rostou Hvězdy” (roughly, “Big Stars from Little Stars Grow” [as the English proverb, "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow"]) highlighting students from Prague Conservatory.

The trio prefers compositions by 21st and 20th century composers, the clarinetist tells us. “The 20th century is better for composers, and better for the clarinet,” he says. The three agree that Aram Khachaturian and Gian Carlo Menotti are their favorites. “There’s magic in this music,” violinist Svěcená explains.

It’s a little early to judge work from the 21st century, but already the trio’s pianist Matyáš Novák has contributed at least one composition himself: Sol de Praga, a lively signature piece you can watch in the excerpt, below.

Julie Svěcená explains that for her 18th birthday in April, her trio-mates presented her with a package of chocolates. “Oh boy, chocolates,” she recalls saying, “But when I opened it up, there was this sheet music.” It was Sol de Praga.

“I thought it was a good present,” the composer explains shyly.

“We also have to say something about our teacher and coach, Dana Vlachová,” Libor Suchý says. “Yeah,” the others nod. The trio expresses gratitude to their coach, a Prague Conservatory teacher and violinist for the Czech Quartet. Julie Svěcená tries to explain, “She gives us …” but her voice trails off, at a loss to put it into words.

“– A lot of energy and inspiration,” Libor Suchý fills in the gap. “She has new and other ideas, she gives us another way to look at music,” he says.

Enjoy some of that energy, and music from a 21st-century composer, in Matyáš Novák’s Sol de Praga, below. — oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Miroslav Setnička

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