Janáček philharmonic OstravaKoncertyA4 Magic of Bohuslav Martinů

24. 03. 2022
19:00 p.m.
Dům kultury města Ostravy
from 190 CZK

A4 Magic of Bohuslav Martinů

Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Much Ado About Nothing, Op. 11

Bohuslav Martinů
Piano Concerto No.4, H.358 ‘Incantation’

Alexander Zemlinsky
The Mermaid, a fantasy in three movements for a large orchestra


Ivo Kahánek – piano
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava
Kaspar Zehnder – conductor


Composer of Jewish origin born in Brno, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who at the last moment escaped to the USA from the Nazi regime, is considered one of the founders of film scores. Composer Gustav Mahler called him a musical genius (Korngold was only nine years old at the time) and recommended him to study with the composer Alexander Zemlinsky. At age eleven, he composed his ballet Der Schneemann (Snowman) which became a sensation when performed at the Vienna Court Opera. Strauss, Puccini, and Sibelius were all impressed by the young composer. During the war, Korngold encountered for the first time the scenic music of drama theatre, which influenced him to later become a film score composer. He composed magnificent symphonic sheet music for almost 20 films. The music for the play Much Ado About Nothing was commissioned by Max Reinhardt, Korngold took a small part out of it and created a five-movement suite that is performed on its own on concert stages.

Martinů’s Piano Concerto No.4 ‘Incantation’ has the boldest composition out of his five piano concertos. Its mysterious name means “magic spell”. And the two-movement composition is just as mysterious and magical as its name, although it can be considered a symphony with a piano rather than a piano concerto. The composer later stated in the outline of the program: “In Incantation, I am trying to write a symphony for solo piano and orchestra and break the traditional form of piano concertos to escape the geometrical, static form which leaves no space for freedom to grow.” Ivo Kahánek is currently, without exaggeration, the most requested performer of this piece.

Alexander Zemlinsky, Korngold’s tutor, wanted to overcome the disappointment caused by his relationship with Alma Schindler, who ended up marrying Gustav Mahler, with his orchestral fairy tale The Little Mermaid. In the composition, the author sets the whole large orchestral apparatus ablaze with colours. The author’s experience with a theatre orchestra is apparent in the extended composition. The whole colossus is very cohesive, and the listener is often overwhelmed by rumbling of the whole orchestra and emotional, even enchanting passages proving that there lives a rich world inside of this quiet author.