Anyone thinking of Czech music has a specific sound in mind: colourful, passionate, decidedly rhythmical, mildly exotic and almost always with a melancholy undertone. These and many other facets of the music of Bohemia and Moravia are to be found in this concert with Mariss Jansons and violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann. Following works by Smetana and Bohuslav Martinů, the evening culminates in Antonín Dvořák’s famous Symphony No. 9 From the New World.
With at least two of his works, Bedřich Smetana added to his country’s cultural heritage: the cycle Má vlast, and the opera The Bartered Bride, from which we will hear the fast-paced overture in this concert. Bohuslav Martinů’s Second Violin Concerto is more restrained, reflecting the composer’s state of mind when he wrote the work in exile in the USA during the Second World War. His homesickness is conveyed through many of the Czech folk-inspired melodies. Five decades before, Dvořák’s Symphony “From the New World”, full of inspiration and verve, originated in a similar way, leaving a lasting monument to Czech (much more than to American) folk music.
Mariss Jansons, chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks has long been a close friend of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Among his recordings which first attracted the attention of the international music world is his recording of Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony, full of emotional depth and exciting details: a performance that still impresses today.