Prague is the Mecca from which many great artists have earned their prominence.
Toward the end of the 19th century, Ludwig Von Beethoven (1770-1827) visited Prague to complete several commissioned works. Bohemian Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowicz is best remembered as a patron of Beethoven, and in return, the master’s Symphonies 3, 5, and 6 were dedicated to him.
Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884), known for composing uniquely Czech music, came to prominence in the mid-19th century in part by advocating for independent statehood through his music. Along with his friend Franz Liszt, Smetana created a new means for expressing literary themes by formulating a fusion between music and text – the symphonic poem. This new form most notably took shape with Má vlast (“My Homeland”), which premiered in Prague in 1882. This is perhaps Smetana’s best known and most performed orchestral work.
Inspired by Smetana, the Czech composer Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) employed folk music in his works, and he evolved a unique, often intense Romantic style that strongly influenced those who followed him.
Following Smetana, and a contemporary of Janáček, Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) continued the concept of national music, and also often relied on local folk music to drive his melodies. Dvořák left an indelible list of oft-performed symphonies and symphonic poems, including Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World,” which drew on Native American and African-American folk songs and spirituals inspired by his visit to the United States in the 1890’s.
It has a rich tapestry of music history that is drawn upon by the Prague Instrumental Festival: From Beethoven to Dvorák. From Beethoven’s compositional visits to Prague in the late 1790’s to the imprint on 20th-century music that famed Czech composer Dvorák left, we celebrate these and other masters of great musical art through this festival.
Music Celebrations International is proud to produce this event in Smetana Hall at the Municipal House, home of the Prague Symphony Orchestra, on March 17, 2018. Centrally accessible to the city of Prague, the hall is a tribute to the creator of modern Czech music – Bedrich Smetana. Portraits of renowned Czech composers and murals decorate the walls of this festive and airy venue.
While in Prague, participating ensembles will also have the opportunity to explore Dvorák’s birth home, as well as Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle – where many remarkable, original scores of some of Beethoven’s most famous works reside for history.