16. 10. 2020, 7 pm

Janáček Theatre

Bamberger Symphoniker

Conductor: Jakub Hrůša

Leoš Janáček (1854–1928): Great Suite from the Opera The Cunnning Little Vixen (adapted Jakub Hrůša)

Richard Strauss (1864–1949): An Alpine Symphony, op. 64

This concert by the Bamberger Symphoniker under the leadership of their chief conductor Jakub Hrůša will present the works of two generationally related authors and their perspectives on the countryside, which are very different from one other.

It was probably the fact that such an exceptional composer as Leoš Janáček composed only a few works for the symphony orchestra that led conductors, soon after Janáček´s death, to adapt his opera scores into opera suites which could be performed at symphonic concerts. The first such suite was created from the opera The Cunning Little Vixen by the excellent conductor Václav Talich, but only using music from Act 1. In 2017, the conductor Jakub Hrůša decided to use the purely orchestral passages to create a Grand Suite from the same opera. He was well aware of the fact that orchestral music without singing forms more than a third of the whole piece. He created a suite which follows the plot of the opera chronologically and covers the parts intended for the orchestra. The result is more than excellent and helps us to realize just how distinctive, impressive and engaging the orchestral component of the opera which Janáček composed in 1922-24 is. This extensive orchestral suite will be performed Brno for the first time.

An Alpine Symphony is one of the less frequently performed symphonic poems by Richard Strauss, who composed it during the war years of 1914–15. After his Symphonia Domestica he decided that from then on he would only compose for the opera, but fortunately he didn´t stick to his resolution. He had a beautiful view of the alpine peak Zugspitze and the mighty Wetterstein Mountains from the window of his country house in Garmisch, and he decided to transfer this natural scenery into the score. With the symphony Strauss wished to create an impressive alpine musical panorama describing exclusively visible facts rather than a work exploring our spiritual relationship to nature. His musical painting is an exceptional work: in the score we can find cow bells and at one point the instruments are used to simulate a storm. When the symphony was first introduced in Berlin, the reviewers called it an idyll (just as Janáček called The Cunning Little Vixen a “forest idyll”) and commented on the presence of a certain simplicity or naivety that was unexpected of Strauss. The author himself commented on the work with the words: “For once I wanted to compose like a cow giving milk.”

Author: Jiří Zahrádka