16. 11. 2022, 7 p.m.

Reduta Theatre 

Violin: Josef Špaček 

Piano: Miroslav Sekera

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Leoš Janáček: Sonata for Violin and Piano, JW VII/7

Igor Stravinsky: Divertimento for Violin and Piano

Leoš Janáček: 1. X. 1905 (From the Street, 1st October 1905), JW VIII/19

Sergei Prokofiev: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 D major, op. 94a

Timewise, Janáček´s Sonata for Violin and Piano was created in close proximity to his Fairy Tale. The composer worked on it in 1914 – 15 while influenced by the political situation at that time, as evidenced by the following recollection: I wrote the Violin sonata at the beginning of the war, in 1914, when we were waiting for the Russians in Moravia. Ballad was the first composition, and was probably originally intended as a separate work, with the other movements not being composed until 1915. The composer waited until 1920 to revise it, and the first performance took place in Brno on 24th April 1922 during an evening of Moravian musical novelties organized by the Club of Young Moravian Composers. 

In 1928 Stravinsky composed the ballet The Fairy´s Kiss based on a fairy tale by H. Ch. Andersen. The ballet was created as a tribute to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky on the 35th anniversary of his death.

Stravinsky based this remarkable one-act ballet on the melodies from some of Tchaikovsky´s early piano compositions and songs. Shortly afterwards, an orchestral suite was also born, as is the case with Stravinsky, and in 1932 Samuel Dushkin collaborated with the composer to create a version for the violin and piano called Divertimento, which was finally expanded in 1947. 

Janáček´s piano composition 1. X. 1905 (From the Street, 1st October 1905) is a work that was created spontaneously in reaction to a tragedy which occurred during a demonstration for the foundation of a Czech university in Brno. As Brno was a predominantly German city, the German municipal representatives were concerned that this would provide Czechs with an increase in influence, and so they declared a “Volkstag” on 1st October 1905, inviting German associations and organizations from the wide surrounding area to Brno in order to demonstrate their disapproval over the founding of a Czech university in Brno. The Czech inhabitants of Brno reacted by organizing a large anti-German demonstration. Street fighting occurred between both camps, requiring intervention from the police and later the army. During one of the clashes, young Czech worker František Pavlík was killed near Brno’s Community Hall. This tragic event prompted Janáček to write the composition From the street I. X. 1905. However, he burned the last movement immediately before its Brno premiere on 27th  January 1906, and after the next performance in Prague he actually threw the whole manuscript into the Vltava River. The work was first performed by pianist Ludmila Tučková, who luckily kept a copy of the original, though she waited till 1924 to reveal it to the public. Thanks to her, this piano composition, which had been forgotten for many years by both the composer and all around him, was preserved.

In the summer of 1943, Sergei Prokofiev fled the war-torn area of the Eastern front to the Central Asian city of Almaty, where he worked intensively on an extensive and demanding score for Eisenstein´s film Ivan the Terrible. During this large job, the composer felt the need to compose something that contrasted with film music. He wrote a piece which he himself described as a sonata in a delicate, smooth classical style. This composition is the Sonata for Flute and Piano in D major, Op. 94, which he soon reworked for the violin and piano upon the urging of the violinist David Oistrach. It had its premiere on 17th June 1944, performed by David Oistrach and Lev Oborin. 

Jiří Zahrádka

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