6 JULY, SATURDAY 7.30 pm
Church of Corpus Christi and the Virgin Mary In Pain, monastery
Final Gala Concert – thanks for 30 years of freedom
Gabriela Eibenová (solo), Alena Hellerová, Yvetta Fendrichová, Simona Jindráková – Soprano
Nadia Ladkany (solo), Pavla Štěpničková, Eva Zbytovská – Alto
Dušan Růžička (solo), Martin Javorský tentor (solo), Hasan El Dunia – Tenor
Roman Hoza (solo), Tadeáš Hoza (solo), Aleš Procházka – Bass
Vladimír Roubal – harmonium
Ondřej Michal – cello
Lukáš Verner – double bass
Adam Viktora – conductor
Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)
Ave Maria, Op. 19B (B 68, 1877)
Ave maris stella, Op. 19A (B95A, 1879)
Hymnus ad laudes in festo Sanctissimae Trinitatis, Sine Op. (B 82, 1878)
O sanctissima, Op. 19A (B 95B, 1879)
Mass in D major, Op. 86, “Lužany”(B 175, 1892)
- Kyrie (Andante con moto)
- Gloria (Allegro vivo)
- Credo (Allegro moderato)
- Sanctus (Allegro maestoso)
- Benedictus (Lento)
- Agnus Dei (Andante)
Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) composed all the four sacred pieces you will hear today at the Sychrov chateau, North Bohemia, where he stayed with his friend Alois Göbl, the personal secretary of Prince Rohan. Ave Maria is one of the three Sacred Songs making up Opus 19, dating from between 1877 and 1879. Dvořák dedicated it to his wife Anna, who was the first to sing it, on 26 July 1877 at Sychrov, with her husband playing the organ. Two years later, on 8 September 1879, the Dvořáks, joined by Alois Göbl, performed at the chateau chapel the piece Ave maris stella, along with the duet for alto and baritone O sanctissima, Op. 19a. The 1878 Hymnus ad laudes in festo Sanctissimae Trinitatis too was premiered at Sychrov, by Alois Göbl and the composer himself.
The Mass in D major was commissioned from Dvořák by the architect Josef Hlávka, a patron of the arts, a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and the founder and first president of the Emperor Franz Joseph I Czech Academy of Sciences, Literature and Arts, who asked for music that would be played during the consecration of the family chapel at his summer residence in Lužany, Western Bohemia. Given the purpose for which it was written, and conscious of the fact that it would be performed by semi-professionals, Dvořák opted for a simple form and clearly arranged choral parts. The mass was first performed on 11 September 1887 at the Lužany chapel by the soloists Zdeňka Hlávková (Hlávka’s wife), Anna Dvořáková (the composer’s wife), Rudolf Huml and Otakar Schwenda, the Hlahol choir and the organist Josef Klička. Its first public concert was held on 15 April 1888 at the Municipal Theatre in Plzeň, with Dvořák conducting, as arranged for an extended accompaniment, for two harmoniums (Josef Klička and Jindřich Studený), two double basses (Bečvář and Skála) and cello (Holý). The solo parts were sung by Ledvinová and Šmídová (Hlahol), and the singers who performed the mass in Lužany, led by the chorus master Matěj Slezák. “Dvořák’s mass ended with a song of angels, whose magical beauty struck our hearts,” reads the period article published in the Plzeňské listy paper. Upon request of the English publisher Novello, Dvořák composed an orchestral version of the Mass in D major, “Lužany“, which received its premiere at the Crystal Palace in London on 11 March 1893, under the baton of August Manns, who had previously conducted Dvořák’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6. The solo parts were sung by Clara Samnell, Marian McKenzie, Edwin Houghton and Andrew Black, who in 1892 performed the bass part of the cantata The Spectre’s Bride in Leeds.
Founded in 2000 by the keyboardist and conductor Adam Viktora and the soprano Gabriela Eibenová, the vocal-instrumental. Ensemble Inégal has specialised in historically informed early music performance, playing original Baroque instruments or their copies. The name refers to “notes inégales”, a performance practice that originated in France back in the 16th century, yet the ensemble has also embraced music dating from other eras. “Our repertoire is in no way limited to works dating from a particular period. We are fascinated by Zelenka, Michna and Capricornus, but also by Dvořák, Britten or Schnittke. “Inégal” mean “unequal”, which has reflected in our approach to seeking different performance methods, in compiling extraordinary programmes, as well as varying numbers of musicians”.
Since 2007, Ensemble Inégal has held its own annual concert cycle, “Music of the Czech Baroque: Discoveries and Surprises”, within which they have focused on forgotten works and opuses rediscovered in archives. One of its major activities has been performances of pieces by the Czech Baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka, whose modern-day premieres it has given in the Czech Republic and further afield ((London, Bruges, Utrecht, San Sebastian, Riga, Leipzig, Regensburg, Gent). Its remarkable recordings (released by the Nibiru label) have earned prestigious international awards (Diapason d’Or, IRR Outstanding, Goldberg 5 Stars, etc.). In 2004, the ensemble’s systematic promotion of and care for Zelenka’s legacy was further intensified by launching an international festival dedicated to the Czech Baroque genius’s work. The annual Zelenka Festival Prague – Dresden project has also included an international musicology conference, whose participants have presented the latest outcomes of the current Zelenka research.