Sunday 23 June 2019
Norfolk Symphony Orchestra presents ’Tales on a Summer afternoon’
Bedøich Smetana: Má Vlast – Vltava
Antonín Dvoøák: Czech Suite Op 39, arr Graham Sheen for Wind Decet
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
It is said that “every Czech is born with a violin under their pillow”. Certainly, the music of the two greatest Czech composers of the C19th, Smetana and Dvoøák, seems to bear this out. It is radiant and warm, melodic and lyrical and seems to embody the both beauty and tranquillity of the Czech countryside and the amiability and good humour of its people.
Smetana, the elder of the two, was inspired to create a Czech repertoire of music in as many forms as he could. As well as operas in many genres, he wrote his great set of symphonic poems, Ma Vlast (My Country), and the first of these, Vltava (The Moldau) is perhaps his best-known work. It depicts a journey down the great river Vltava from its two small, interweaving springs to its greatness in Prague, passing a wedding, mermaids, castles and rapids on the way.
Dvoøák was also deeply inspired by the music of his home but, after meeting and befriending Brahms, was determined to compose in a way which would bring success in the wider world. To this end he wrote in traditional forms – his many symphonies, quartets and concertos are great favourites. However, much of his most characteristic music is contained in the Serenades, Suites, Dances and Rhapsodies. The Czech Suite resembles closely his two great Serenades and is redolent with folk music.
The major work in the concert must be one of the most popular orchestral pieces ever written. Rimsky-Korsakov was one of the greatest orchestrators, second only, perhaps, to Ravel in his ability to dazzle and seduce with sound. His Suite Scheherazade is based on One Thousand and One Nights with the solo violin as the voice of Shahrazad, telling the king stories each evening to save her life. It is sensuous, threatening, exhilarating and majestic.
Draw up a pew and bask in the warmth of this great music on a summer’s afternoon.
More information can be found on our website https://www.nso-uk.co.uk/
Price: Adult £16, first 100 under 18s free (then £8), Friends of the orchestra eligible for 2 free tickets (then £2 discount)
Location: St Nicholas Chapel, St Ann’s St, King’s Lynn PE30 1LT
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