Left – conductor Jakub Hrůša
Kicking off the new Hamer Hall opening season, the Czech Philharmonic are the first orchestra to grace the stage with a program of traditional Czechoslovakian-influenced classical composers to Beethoven's mid-period romantic classical work with tight structured composition to large flowing melodic out pours of dynamic emotion. The acoustics are clear, crisp and delicious. The seating is soft, light peach velveteen and embracing. The view from the third row in the circle is exquisite.
The orchestra leaks onto the stage arena right on the stroke of 2pm. At a count, there are approximately 70 and above musicians, all in various ages, one sporting a well-manicured mohawk. The orchestra has a multi-generational membership, funky, 'cool' energy, and finely dressed, classic, unified image. Being privy to a concert with this many internationally renowned musicians is out of this universe, let alone cultured.
The Czech Philharmonic made their debut performance in 1896 conducted by Dvorak, himself. The Czech Philharmonic is today, conducted by Jakob Hrůša, who also conducted the Melbourne Symphony orchestra in 2011. Hrůša, himself is youthful, handsome, dynamic, passionate and a virtual channel for the virtuosity of eloquent composition and musicianship.
First, The Bartered Bride, a comic opera composed by Bedrich Smetana, a Czechoslovakian composer. This is the overture to a story of mistaken identity, arranged marriages and young love. Smetana, who was likened to Wagner often much to his annoyance, allegedly wrote the comic opera to prove the comparison wrong, and that he indeed was able to write in such a manner.
From The Bartered Bride overture's light, dexterous violin conversation, boisterous and blaring crescendos from the French Horns to a quick change of orchestral arrangements in groupings of instruments for Josef Suk's Fantasy in G Minor with soloist Josef Spacek who at twenty-five years old is humble, and in love with his violin. Playing from memory and with complete absorption supported by the orchestra, made the violin capture the imagination that it was a single voice, singing from the heart.
The crème de la crème after interval was the performance of Beethoven's Symphony No 3 in E Flat Major, Op 55 "Eroica' which means 'Heroic', originally titled The Bonaparte Symphony. Initially written by Beethoven to express his love for Napoleon, the title changing when Napoleon denounced democracy and declared himself the emperor of France. The funeral march, the second section of the symphony communicates this profoundly, filling the now cavernous hall with somber tones, and heartfelt sorrow.
The Czech Philharmonic, after two encores, finally exited the stage but not the hall or memory. The resonate sounds of absolute beauty; unification and passion, precision, style, love of music and creative expertise are embedded for eternity. A high standard of excellence for the remaining Hamer Hall opening season has been set. Superb! It is one of the best afternoons' entertainment experienced, yet.
Arts Centre Melbourne presents
Conducted by Jakub Hrůša
Beethoven 3 - 2pm Sunday 26 August
Bedrich Smetana The Bartered Bride, Overture
Josef Suk Fantasy in G minor, violin & orchestra, Op. 24 (Josef Špaček Violin)
Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in E flat major
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
Dates: 26 & 27 August 2012
Tickets: $195 – $75
Bookings: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au | 1300 182 183