Czech Dreams, 22/5 – 8/12/2014
Theme: National music and identity in a changing society – the Czech Republic, Norway and Spain
Since the second half of the 19th century, composers in a number of European countries have sought a distinctive national musical language which is accepted both at home and abroad as being a characteristic and representative contribution from their country to the canon of European classical music. The establishment of so-called “national” schools and the search for and creation of unique roots within the framework of existing models are among the most remarkable stories of modern European culture. Throughout a period of almost one hundred years, it has been possible to follow various models used in the search for a national language in music ranging from the arrangement of the progressions in folk music traditions through to thematic links with national events or personalities and on to the abuse of music by the representatives of totalitarian states for the purposes of various forms of nationalism. No matter how clear it is that this process in classical music has ended after many decades, the affiliation to “national schools” still plays a strong role in our understanding of the works of composers from that period.
The Czech Republic, Norway and Spain represent three geographically and historically different countries which have demonstrated many similarities and differences during the creation of their unmistakable, easily identifiable and generally accepted national styles. At the same time, they represent three cultures which were often considered to be peripheral during the 19th century, but from which composers, who were respected in the twentieth century as fundamental personalities from European musical history, have emerged. The investigation of the various ways and strategies used in this development as well as the demonstrable impulses which their contemporaries and successors in other European countries have adopted from composers such as Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Edvard Grieg and Manuel de Falla, for example, will form the main dramaturgical axis for the programs of this year’s Concentus Moraviae Festival.
In addition to classical music of 18-21 century also other genres will be presented in this year’s festival, from Czech, Spanish and Norwegian folk music (including gipsy folklore and arrangements of famous virtuoso compositions) and jazz (historical as well as contemporary), to the tango, flamenco and alternative music. Acting has its place in this year's edition (Melodrama Four-legged Crow by Kryštof Mařatka) as well as dance, Dvořák's symphonic poems on Erben's ballads will be variegated by recitation of texts of the original “Bouquet of Flowers“ by the phenomenal Soňa Červená.
Concerts of Josef Špaček, the concert master of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the first Artist in Residence in the history of the Concentus Moraviae, will belong to highlights of the festival, as well as performances by top Czech artists of young and middle generation and by musicians from Spain and Norway.
Aleš Březina, the dramaturge