Joyful Surprise

Opus Osm

Conductor Petr Altrichter with the FOK and Prague Philharmonic Choir last Thursday

Joyful Surprise

Conductor Petr Altrichter at the FOK

The Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK) kicked off its new season with opening concerts last Wednesday and Thursday. We were looking forward to a memorable concert, but we weren’t prepared for the surprise awaiting us.

Sure, we expected to be impressed by Igor Tchetuev’s performance of Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No 4 in G Major, and we were. We were looking forward to Martinů’s Frescoes of Piero della Francesca, and found it intriguing.

But the real surprise came when the Orchestra and The Prague Philharmonic Choir joined their talents for excerpts from Dvořák’s Te Deum. What a delightful surprise to watch conductor Petr Altrichter on stage! He could conduct for a cat food commercial and make it thrilling.

Of course, Te Deum is a joyful composition, pure Dvořák; it makes you want to dance in the aisles. And here is Mr Altrichter, helping it achieve its full glory.

He rolls his arms, big, as if skimming along in an invisible hand cart; he casts his fingers out, dashing the notes against an invisible wall. He throws his arms up, as if surprised, himself. He even jiggles up and down.

And at the end, he brings the mighty choir and orchestra to the peaceful concluding sustained notes, with the simple, fluid motion of a cat’s paw.

Watch an excerpt from last Thursday’s performance, and see it for yourself.

Get ready to dance. — oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Photo and video: Miroslav Setnička

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