Closing of the 33rd Slovenian Music Days

19. April 2018
Unionska dvorana, Grand Hotel Union
19, 14, 8 €

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Closing of the 33rd Slovenian Music Days

Mojca Bitenc, soprano
Katja Konvalinka, soprano
Nuška Drašček Rojko, mezzo-soprano
Aljaž Farasin, tenor
Jaka Mihelač, baritone
Peter Martinčič, bass

Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Simon Dvoršak


Janez Krstnik Novak: Figaro, music for Linhart’s comedy This Happy Day, or Matiček Gets Married

Kamilo Mašek: Overture to Judith

Anton Lajovic: Capriccio

Bedřich Smetana: Overture to The Bartered Bride

Viktor Parma: Intermezzo from Ksenija

Antonín Dvořák: Slavonic Dances No 1 in C major, No 2 in E minor, No 3 in A flat major, No 4 in F major

The final concert of the 33rd Slovene Music Days will honour the memory of the Czech maestro Václav Talich (1883–1961), one of the most important conductors ever to work in Slovenia. Originally a violinist, even rising to the position of concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, he later turned to conducting. At the age of 25 he came to Ljubljana, where critics soon recognised his greatness and his remarkable contribution to raising the level of Slovene orchestral culture. He took over the reins of the Orchestral Society (Društvena godba), which that same year renamed itself the Slovenska filharmonjia and established a professional orchestra, serving as an important counterweight to the German-dominated Philharmonic Society (Philharmonisches Gesellschaft). Talich also worked with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra on the operatic productions of the Provincial Theatre (today’s Opera), where he was appointed musical director in 1911, and prepared some outstanding musical theatre productions. A central figure in Slovene symphonic music and opera in the years 1908–1912 and an enthusiastic promoter of Slovene musical works, Talich increasingly became a thorn in the side of some members of what was then the leading musical organisation in the country – the choir of the Glasbena Matica music society. As a result, in 1912 the gifted Talich accepted a position as principal conductor of the City Theatre in Plzeň and left Ljubljana. In 1919 he became chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, a position he held for more than 20 years. Tonight’s concert by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra under Simon Dvoršak, a frequent conductor of works of musical theatre, takes place in the Union Hall, which was the largest concert hall in Ljubljana when Talich was working in Slovenia and where the first Slovenian Philharmonic performed symphonic concerts under Talich’s baton. The concert programme of works by Slovene and Czech composers is also drawn from that period. It begins with Figaro, the oldest surviving Slovene music for the theatre, by Janez Krstnik Novak (1756–1833), featuring singers with experience of opera and concert stages in Slovenia and abroad: Katja Konvalinka, the director of the Slovene Chamber Opera, Nuška Drašček Rojko, a well-known voice in various musical genres, Aljaž Farasin and Peter Martinčič, both soloists at the SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana, and Mojca Bitenc and Jaka Mihelač, two excellent younger singers. The rarely performed extracts from operas on the programme include the Overture to the melodrama Judith by Kamilo Mašek (1831–1859) and the Intermezzo from Ksenija by Viktor Parma (1858–1924), one of the most popular Slovene composers of operas and operettas. They are joined by the Overture to The Bartered Bride by the eminent Czech composer Bedřich Smetana (1823–1884), and the popular and attractive Slavonic Dances by Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904), a central figure in Czech music. The symphonic repertoire is also represented in the programme by Caprice, the best-known orchestral composition by Anton Lajovic (1878–1960). The latter, when reporting on Talich’s poorly attended farewell concert in Ljubljana in 1912, wrote the following: “With him departs undoubtedly the greatest reproductive talent that we Slovenes have had among us to date.”

Before the concert Václav Talich will be honoured by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.

Helena Filipčič Gardina

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