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April 2024 Next

1st Subscription Concert


Béla Bartók – Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
David Chesky – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 7


Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Steven Mercurio, conductor
Maxim Lando, piano

While the first half of this concert might be described as a tribute to percussion instruments, the second half is dedicated to a time-honoured classic.

The Hungarian composer, but also outstanding pianist and musicologist Béla Bartók (1881–1945) was a central figure of 20th century European music. He died in exile in the United States, where he fled in 1940. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta was commissioned by Swiss conductor and patron Paul Sacher for the tenth anniversary of his Basel Chamber Orchestra. Bartók informed the conductor in advance that he envisaged a work for strings and percussion instruments, to which he intended adding a piano, celesta and xylophone, and he hoped that this instrumental arrangement would not cause any difficulties. He also stated that he planned to incorporate complicated rhythms.


2nd Subscription Concert


Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Steven Mercurio, conductor
Chloë Hanslip, violin


Bedřich Smetana – Vltava, symphonic poem from the cycle Má vlast
Max Bruch – Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1
Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”

Tonight’s concert features the two most famous and most frequently performed Czech works in combination with the popular Romantic violin concerto.

Bedřich Smetana (1824–1884), the bicentenary of whose birth we mark this year, never heard any of the symphonic poems of his Má vlast (My Country). He wrote the first two, Vyšehrad and Vltava, almost concurrently, from the end of September to 8 December 1874, when he completed Vltava within a mere 19 days, now completely deaf. The following year, 1875, he wrote another two poems, Šárka and From Bohemia’s Woods and Fields. Three years later he completed the work as a final six-part opus by adding Tábor and Blaník. He dedicated the cycle to the “royal city of Prague”, which he loved and where he had spent most of his life. 


3rd Subscription Concert


Johann Sebastian Bach – Suite No. 3 in D major
Vincenzo Bellini – Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra in E flat major
Antonio Vivaldi – Concerto for Two Trumpets and Strings in C major
Giacomo Puccini – La tregenda / Witches’ Dance from the opera Le Villi / The Fairies
Ottorino Respighi – I pini di Roma / The Pines of Rome, symphonic poem


Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Marcello Rota, conductor
Jiří Houdek, Jan Hasenöhrl, trumpets

After the opening suite, written by one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) for concerts given by the celebrated Leipzig ensemble Collegium musicum, the audience will be treated to two trumpet concertos. 

We are familiar with Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835) primarily as an opera composer, one of the most important representatives of the Italian bel canto. However, at the age of 22, he wrote Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra in E flat major, whose score was kept by the composer’s friend Francesco Florimo, the librarian and archivist of the monastery library in Naples, where the autograph was discovered in 1940. This work by Bellini, a master of melody, inspired a number of transcriptions; the composition on the 3rd Subscription Concert’s programme is its arrangement for trumpet, while there is also a version in existence for trombone.  


4th Subscription Concert


Bedřich Smetana – Wallenstein's Camp, Symphonic Poem
Gustav Mahler – Five Songs on Poems by Friedrich Rückert
Anton Bruckner – Symphony No. 7


Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Jan Pellant, conductor
Filip Bandžak, baritone

200th anniversary of the birth of Czech classic Bedřich Smetana (1824–1884) is also acknowledged by the CNSO at this subscription concert. On this occasion the orchestra will perform the symphonic poem Wallenstein’s Camp. Together with the compositions Richard III and Hakon Jarl it is part of a set of three so-called Swedish symphonic poems, since Smetana wrote them (under the influence of Franz Liszt and his innovative endeavours in the sphere of programme music) in Göteborg, where he worked in the years 1856–1861. Wallenstein’s Camp captures the atmosphere of life in a military camp at the close of the day, the soldiers’ merriment as night falls and the quiet of the camp as its occupants sleep, while the guard performs his sentry duties. The reveille fanfare wakes the camp and the soldiers set out on another march. 

Program and cast

Municipal House

  Municipal House (Czech: Obecní dům) is a civic building that houses Smetana Hall, a celebrate concert venue, in Prague, Czech Republic. Its address is Náměstí Republiky 5, next to the Powder Gate in the center of the city.
  The Royal Court palace used to be located on the site of the Municipal House. From 1383 until 1485 the King of Bohemia lived on the property. After 1485, it was abandoned. It was demolished in the early 20th century. Construction of the current building started in 1905. It opened in 1912.[citation needed] The building was designed by Osvald Polívka and Antonín Balšánek.

  The Municipal House was the location of the Czechoslovak declaration of independence.

  The building is of the Art Nouveau architecture style. The building exterior has allegorical art and stucco. There is a mosaic called Homage to Prague by Karel Špillar over the entrance.  On either side are allegorical sculpture groups representing The Degradation of the People and The Resurrection of the People by Ladislav Šaloun. Smetana Hall serves as a concert hall and ballroom. It has a glass dome. 

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