With Czech Accent


Taking part in the concert are the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and Chorus, as well as Bolshoi Opera Company soloists Yekaterina Shcherbachenko (soprano), Yevgenia Segenyuk (mezzo-soprano), Maxim Paster (tenor), Taras Shtonda (bass). Jiri Belohlavek, the world-famous Czech conductor, known above all for his interpretations of the works of Czech composers, will be on the podium.

The Big Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire which is over one hundred years old is situated right in the heart of old Moscow: it is very beautiful, has excellent acoustics and is justly considered to be one of Russia’s leading concert venues. Many outstanding Russian and foreign musicians have appeared here. The Bolshoi Theatre has been giving its season ticket concerts at the Conservatoire Big Hall for several years now as is only natural for a Company and Orchestra possessing such accomplished musicians.

Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 which may be heard in the first half of the concert is a unique work which is rarely performed. In Dvorak’s own words, he wanted to write music which would be quite different to the rest of his symphonies — a work “informed with particular ideas which would be given a novel treatment”. Permeating the light-hearted radiance and optimism of this work, are pathos and grotesque and much else that will be apparent only to the attentive listener.

The second half of the concert is devoted to Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass, an acknowledged masterpiece of 20th century music which, though often played at the world’s leading concert halls, is rarely heard in Russia. The Glagolitic Mass also has a dual nature: though written in strict accordance with the structure of the Catholic mass this work, dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia, amounts to an openly rapturous celebration of the universe, more characteristic of the Slav pagan tradition, rather than to a celebration of Christian humility.