PRESS RELEASE Brno, 16. 12. 2020
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. “The first to come out, with sales beginning tomorrow, is Antonín Reicha’s oratorio Lenore. The following week is the turn of an album comprising Antonín Dvořák’s Bagatelles and Symphony No. 1, but in an essentially new arrangement,” says Filharmonie Brno director, Marie Kučerová. The series will continue issuing unique recordings in future.
Both new albums were played by our orchestra led by chief conductor Dennis Russell Davies this year in Besední dům. “I consider it a significant act, because the pieces by Antonín Reicha and Antonín Dvořák we play are generally almost unknown, even amongst musicians in the Czech Republic. I’m incredibly proud that we are bringing you these works, and I trust that you will discover them and fall in love with them just as we have done,” says Davies.
The composer never heard his dramatic oratorio Lenore during his life, with attempts at its performance befallen by a number of unfortunate circumstances and coincidences. First of all, the ban by the censor in Vienna, which could not even by overturned by Reicha’s friend, Ludwig van Beethoven. Then on the eve of its premiere in Leipzig, the city was occupied by Napoleon’s troops. “The subject of the oratorio is Gottfried August Bürger’s ballad of the same name, which has the same theme as Erben’s Svatební košile (The Spectre’s Bride). Fragmented sentences, poetic cries, the voices of military songs, the chorus of repeated words… The words are ripe for converting to music. And it is very possible that Reicha’s open-minded nature attracted him to the controversy the poem gave rise to, a poem which the Lutherans said made mockery of religion and abused scripture and biblical teachings,” says Filharmonie Brno Programme Director, Vítězslav Mikeš, who is convinced that Lenore has a great future ahead of it on stages around the world.
Both recordings were processed by chief sound engineer Jaroslav Zouhar, also a Filharmonie Brno trombonist. “We filmed Lenore at the dress rehearsal and also at live concerts. The result, then, is a mix of four different recordings. In addition, we also recorded certain solo passages in an empty hall, so the echo and other details had to be carefully balanced out so that the singing sounded as if it was performed in a full hall. It was fascinating work,” says Zouhar.
The orchestra has performed Dvořák’s pieces in a form listeners will not have heard. Davies has rewritten Bagatelles, originally for two violins, a violoncello and harmonium, for an orchestra. 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.
The covers of both albums in the new series portray distinctive photographs by Brno artist Vojtěch V Sláma, and are linked by the theme of water. The CDs are available at Filharmonie’s ticket office on Besední street, and from mid-January also from our new online store on Filharmonie’s website, and subsequently from the Supraphon sales network and also to download as MP3 files. The Lenore double album costs 390 CZK, and the Dvořák album 290 CZK.
Listeners can enjoy a taste of the new CDs today at 7 pm during a special concert which will feature parts of Lenore, Dvořák’s Bagatelles and his Symphony No. 1. It will be broadcast on Filharmonie Brno’s Facebook page and website. A recording of our February performance of Reicha’s Lenore will be broadcast by ČT art tomorrow at 10.15 pm.
Media contact Kateřina Konečná, Head of PR and Marketing, Filharmonie Brno
+420 775 426 040 firstname.lastname@example.org