fri06oct19:00BALLADS FROM THE GÖTTINGER HAIN / MORAVIAN AUTUMNBEETHOVEN
ŠTĚPÁN
TOMÁŠEK
19:00 Besední dům

Time

(Friday) 19:00

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Event Details

One of the climaxes of the 2019/2020 philharmonic season in Brno was the performance of Anton Reicha’s feature-long oratorio Lenora after Gottfried August Bürger (1747–1794), a leading 18th-century German poet who was a member of a literary association known as the Göttingen Grove (Göttinger Hain). Appearing in the eponymous role in Reicha’s Lenora was the Czech soprano Martina Janková, who was so enchanted by Bürger’s ballads and their settings by various composers that she decided to devise an original programme for her recital, which in addition to songs by Ludwig van Beethoven and Josef Antonín Štěpán will also offer the perspective of another composer – Václav Jan Tomášek (1774–1850) – on Lenora.

 

LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Seufzer eines Ungeliebten und Gegenliebe (Sigh of the Unloved – Love Requited)
Das Blümchen Wunderhold (The Loveliest Flower)
Mollys Abschied (Molly’s Farewell)

 

JOSEF ANTONÍN ŠTĚPÁN
Schwanenlied (Swan Song)

 

VÁCLAV JAN TOMÁŠEK
Lenora, cantata for voice and piano, Op. 12

 

Martina Janková soprano
Dennis Russell Davies piano
Taťjana Medvecká recitation

 

Download concert programme here.

The Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) literary movement influenced many artists – not just in what is today Germany, but also in the lands of the erstwhile Danube Monarchy – who emphasised intense emotion in response to Enlightenment rationalism. In Germany multiple literary associations were inspired by these ideas, and the Göttinger Hainbund (Göttingen Grove League) was one of the most important. Lyrics by Gottfried August Bürger (1747–1794), a leading poet of the Göttingen association, inspired many composers including those featured in tonight’s programme.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s songs are less well known than the titan’s much more familiar symphonic and piano works. His Lieder are primarily settings of German lyrics. The songs Seufzer eines Ungeliebten und Gegenliebe (Sigh of the Unloved – Love Requited), Das Blümchen Wunderhold (The Loveliest Flower) and Mollys Abschied (Molly’s Farewell) were written in the second half of the 1790s, shortly after Beethoven moved to Vienna for good. These small pieces afford a glimpse of the composer’s strong pre-Romantic tendencies.
Josef Antonín Štěpán (1726–1797) was a leading composer in the galant style. During the War of the Austrian Succession, when Prussians invaded Bohemia, his father with his family fled to Vienna. In 1763, Josef Antonín was appointed the court harpsichordist and, three years later, also officially the court teacher on the instrument. His pupils included the later French queen Marie Antoinette. In his songs, Štěpán set German lyrics to music; some of them, for example, Das Veilchen in Hornung and Schwanenlied (Swan Song) became popular during his lifetime.
Václav Jan Tomášek (1774–1850) hailed from Skuteč in East Bohemia. His education and social skills helped him to become acquainted with crucial figures of the artistic world of his era, including Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Wolfgang Goethe. In his Prague home he led an important salon frequented by the true eminences of European scientific and cultural life, and was known as the “Musical Pope of Prague”. Bürger’s text tells the story of a revived cadaver who comes to reclaim his beloved; it later inspired the Czech writer Karel Jaromír Erben’s ballad The Wedding Shirt. The horror text, replete with charged dramatic moments, also impressed Tomášek who set it in his solo cantata Lenora of 1805.

Petr Slouka

Location

Besední dům

Komenského náměstí 534/8, Brno