BEDŘICH SMETANA. MY FATHERLAND – HEART OF BOHEMIA
Concert under the honorary patronage of the Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Warsaw, Mr. Miroslav Kolatek
26 February 2023, 7 p.m.
Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Martyna Zych | conductor
Bedřich Smetana – Má vlast (My Fatherland):
Z českých luhů a hájů
Martyna Zych – photo Mateusz Żaboklicki
Fascinated by the style of Berlioz and Liszt (and friends with the latter), Bedřich Smetana was one of the first Czech romantics and was held in high regard as a pianist and teacher, though his work did not quite resonate at first. After a period of national liberty activity during the Springtime of Nations, attempts at founding his own music school, and, later, several years of work in Sweden, he decided to return to the national style, creating the opera The Brandenburgers in Bohemia, among others. It became a milestone of the author’s fame which was further confirmed with the following works (e.g. The Bartered Bride, Dalibor, Libuše). The year 1874 was a tragic turning point in the author’s artistic life, as he lost his hearing. Despite this unimaginable tragedy, the musician would not stop composing, and the first work created after the onset of his illness was a symphonic poem titled Vyšehrad, which opened the great cycle of My country – Má vlast. It consists of six pieces, the last of which – Blaník – was finished in 1879. Each part refers to a place, a period in the Czech history, or Czech legends, creating an outstanding musical expression of raw patriotism enthusiastically received by the author’s countrymen. At the same time, owing to the fame it quickly gained, the poem set was an efficient and attractive way of propagating the Czech aspirations of independence to the international audience. The relatively short poems, beautiful in their melody, colourful in their orchestration and suggestive in their illustrativeness, can be performed separately (Vltava is particularly popular thanks to its majestic main theme preceded by one of the most charming symphonic episodes – an introduction with wonderful solos for flutes and clarinets, symbolising interwoven streams from which a grand river will be born…) and as an integral set like in the February concert. Smetana himself gave short comments on his poems. Vyšehrad conjures “memories from the past of the king’s castle, its former grandeur and greatness, the tournaments and battles”, Vltava illustrates the river flowing from its source “through the vast meadows, groves, and regions whose inhabitants are merrily celebrating”, in the direction of the capital city, Prague. Šárka relates to a legend about a girl who, filled with anger after her lover’s betrayal, promises a mighty vengeance against all men, massacring knight Ctirad’s party. From Bohemia’s Woods and Fields celebrates the beauty of Bohemian landscape, while Tábor and Blaník remind the audience of the Hussite wars as well as the legends of the warriors of those times sleeping within a mountain, who will answer the fatherland’s call and lead a fight for freedom.
The concert will be led by Martyna Zych, viola player of Sinfonia Iuventus and an ambitious conductor specialised in Czech music which she researches and writes articles on. Owing to her fluency in Czech, she maintains a close relationship with the neighbouring country’s musical and scientific environments. She studied symphony and opera conducting in Professor Tomasz Bugaj’s class and viola in Professor Piotr Reichert’s class at the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. She is the originator and cofounder of Poland’s first Ukrainian Refugee Orchestra. Their debut concert took place in April 2022, and more followed after a great reception. Martyna Zach is highly active in masterclass conductor courses along with Marin Alsop and NOSPR in Katowice. In that same year, she debuted with Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in Zlín during the Talentinum Festival; she was also invited to open the artistic season of the Symphonic Orchestra in Karlove Vary with a full Czech programme. [pmac]
Standard price of the tickets: 35 zł/1 seat
Reduced price of the tickets: 25 zł/ 1 seat
• students, students before 26, pensioners and the persons after 70,
• students of the schools of music and ballet as well as the students of the universities of music and musicology departments