Meet Old & New Czech Cello Works at Festival Brikcius
Festival Brikcius’ third chamber music concert series opens Nov 6 and spotlights Czech and other cello composers in five upcoming concerts.
The Festival commemorates several anniversaries of the birth and deaths of these composers well-known and not-so-well-known outside the Czech Republic.
So test your musical knowledge: How many of these Czech composers on the Festival Brikcius concert program do you recognize?
· The headliners: Bohuslav Martinů, Antonín Dvořák, Iša Krejčí, Josef Suk, Leoš Janáček;
· “Terezín” / Jewish composers: Erwin Schulhoff, Gideon Klein, Zikmund Schul, David Popper;
· Contemporary composers: Jiří Matys, Petr Hejný, Jan Jirásek, Luboš Fišer, Miloš Štědroň, Irena Kosíková.
“I chose these composers because I love their works,” explains Festival founder cellist František Brikcius, “and each of them has unique music language with specific characteristics. All together they form the best of the Czech music heritage in the cello repertoire,” he tells Opus Osm.
Mr Brikcius says he generally focuses on interpretation of cello compositions of the 17th-21st centuries, and “Every composer I play is my favorite,” he explains. “I try to treat them individually; the same goes for every composition.” He particularly recommends Czech composer and organist Irena Kosíková, whose works have been performed in many countries around the world.
Her ballet music Makanna, featuring reader Jan Židlický, Mr Brikcius, and the Talich Chamber Orchestra, is the program for Nov 27, and its launch occurs as a free public home viewing on YouTube at 7:30 pm Prague time.
Other, live concerts in the series focus on six contemporary Prague and Brno composers Nov 6; Anna Brikciusová’s poetry read by Mr Židlický, accompanied on the cello by the author Nov 16; a program of Czech works including some ‘Terezin’ composers Nov 20; and French pianist Justine Verdier and Mr Brikcius performing works by Suk, Janáček, Krejčí, Dvořák, and Martinů Dec 18.
Adds the cellist, “I simply have to mention Janáček’s magic Pohádka for cello and piano,” one of the features at the final concert.
Each year Festival Brikcius celebrates performances by the Brikcius cello duo – Mr Brikcius and his sister Anna. “My sister Anna is a great cellist as well as a splendid poet,” he says. But is playing with a sister an advantage or disadvantage? “We are both leaders,” he responds, “and that is the main advantage and disadvantage.”
Anna Brikciusová also annually holds a poetry reading of her works during the Festival, Brikciusová Na Prádle.
Festival Brikcius is part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days commemorating the legacy of the Jewish journalist and musician who was murdered by extremists in 2002. – oo
Festival Brikcius concerts are Nov 6 and 20, and Dec 18, at 7:30 pm at The House at the Stone Bell; and Nov 16 at 6 pm at Kostel Sv Jana Křitele. The YouTube premiere of Makanna is at 7:30 pm Nov 27.
– Mary Matz, Opus Osm editor
Photo Credits: All photos, Marek Malůšek