PRESS RELEASE Brno, Czech Republic, February 2021
Music which you can’t just buy anywhere. This would be an apt summary of the new series of recordings which Filharmonie Brno has begun issuing under its own label. „After Antonín Reicha´s Lenore we offer Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 1 and Bagatelles , but in an essentially new arrangement,” says Filharmonie Brno director, Marie Kučerová. The series will continue issuing unique recordings in future.
Dvořák´s pieces were recorded by orchestra led by Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Dennis Russell Davies during summer 2020. “ I’m incredibly proud that we are bringing these works, and I trust that the audience will discover them and fall in love with them just as we have done,” says Davies.
The orchestra has performed Dvořák’s pieces in a form listeners will not have heard. In Dvořák´s score, Dennis Russell Davies, who decided to bring the Bagatelles into the orchestral repertoire, assigns the original violin voices to the string sections, from which he occasionally allows soloists to play; his main modification, however, is dividing the part of the harmonium among eight wind instruments (flute, two oboes, B flat clarinet, two bassoons and two French horns). In this small orchestra sound the “music making at home” character of the original Bagatelles is missing, but what is not lost is any part of their Dvořákian essence.
He has also done some work on Dvořák’s Symphony No. 1, known as The Bells of Zlonice. “The young composer submitted the piece for a competition and never heard how it sounded when played by an orchestra. In time, he forgot about the symphony. I rearranged his work with all respect to his later compositions from the position of an older teacher advising a talented artist at the beginning of his career,” says Davies.
Dvořák shortly after composing two chamber works resolved at the age of twenty-four to compose his Symphony No. 1 in C minor, which was written in a remarkably short time (between February 14 and March 24, 1865). As fate would have it, however, he was never to hear his First Symphony played. He had submitted the manuscript of the score to a competition in Germany to improve its chances of being performed, but it never made it back into his hands. The manuscript score was only discovered in 1923 in the estate of the Oriental studies scholar and university professor Rudolf Dvořák (no relation to the composer), who supposedly had purchased it in an antiquarian bookshop in Leipzig.
Dennis Russell Davies (1944), a graduate of New York’s renowned Juilliard School, began his conducting career as Music Director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota (1972–1980), and from 1977–2002 was also Chief Conductor of the American Composers Orchestra in New York, as well as, from 1991–1996, Principal Conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Since 1980, he has resided primarily in Europe. Davies has been General Music Director of the Staats-oper Stuttgart (1980–1987), Chief Conductor of the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Music Director of the Bonn Opera and Artistic Director of the Bonn Beethoven Festival (1987–1995). Subsequently, in Austria, he was professor of orchestral conducting at the University Mozarteum Salzburg and Chief Conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orches-tra; in 2002, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Bruckner Orchester Linz and the Landes-theater Linz, a 15-year tenure which saw the inauguration, in 2013, of the new Linz Opera House. During 2009–2016, he also held the post of Chief Conductor of the Sinfonieorchester Basel. Guest engagements have included appearances with major orchestras and at prestigious opera houses throughout the United States, Japan and Europe. Since the 2018/2019 season, he has been at the helm of the Filharmonie Brno as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director; as of fall 2020, he has also assumed the position of Chief Conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig. Davies is known not only for his extraordinary breadth of repertoire, but also for his ongoing collaborations and close working relationships with prominent composers, past and present, including Luciano Berio, William Bolcom, John Cage, Manfred Trojahn, Philip Glass, Heinz Winbeck, Laurie Anderson, Philippe Manoury, Aaron Copland, Hans Werner Henze, Michael Nyman and Kurt Schwertsik. As conductor and pia-nist (or both simultaneously), Davies has released over 80 widely acclaimed recordings. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2014, the French Ministry of Culture named him Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres; and in 2017 he was awarded the Austrian Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst, First Class. More at www.dennisrusselldavies.com
The current Filharmonie Brno was formed in 1956, with the merging of the Brno-based radio and regional orchestras, and since then has be-longed among the elite of Czech orchestras, both in terms of size and significance. Throughout its history, the orchestra has been led by such eminent Czech and international conductors as Břetislav Bakala, František Jílek, Petr Altrichter, Jiří Bělohlávek, Sir Charles Mackerras, Jakub Hrůša and Tomáš Netopil. Since the 2018/2019 season, the Filharmonie Brno’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director has been Dennis Russell Davies. The orchestra regularly records for Czech Radio and Czech Television, as well as for various recording labels (Supraphon, Sony Music, IMG Records, BMG, Channel 4).
Today the Filharmonie Brno is recognized not only as a major presence in the field of symphonic music at home and abroad, but also as the primary organizer of musical life in the second largest Czech city; an active promoter of festivals; and a creative leader in orchestral programming. It cur-rently performs in the neo-Renaissance Besední dům, “Brno’s Musikverein” designed by Theophil Hansen in 1873, and looks forward to a new state-of-the-art concert hall, being designed by the architect team of Tomasz Konior and Petr Hrůša, and acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota. More at www.filharmonie-brno.cz/en
Media contact Kateřina Konečná, Head of PR and Marketing, Filharmonie Brno
+420 775 426 040 firstname.lastname@example.org