M3 New Year’s Concert
Leonard Bernstein: Overture to the operetta Candide
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Concerto for violin and orchestra in D major, Op. 35
Sergei Prokofiev: Suite from the ballet Romeo and Juliet
Jiří Vodička – violin
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava
Michele Mariotti – conductor
The overture to Bernstein’s opera, the suite from Prokofiev’s ballet and Korngold’s Violin concerto is a description of this year’s New Year concert in a nutshell. Leonard Bernstein has many compositions from ballet, symphonies, songs or scenic music. However, he wanted to write “a big American opera” and eventually, in 1956, he succeeded by creating the operetta Candide, which was based on Voltaire’s satirical novel from 1759.
Erich Korngold, who is originally from Brno, but lived in Vienna since he was 4 and spent the rest of his life in the US, was interested in film music for a while – which can also be heard in his composition (he collaborated with Warner Brothers and created 17 compositions for movies out of which two of them – Anthony Adverse and The Adventures of Robin Hood – received an Oscar). The directness and imagery made the composition popular among the world’s best violinists. One of them is undoubtedly Jiří Vodička who in January 2019 received an award from Classic Prague Awards for his solo performance. He interpreted Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for violin and orchestra by the French composer Camilla Saint-Saënse, and the fantasia for violin and orchestra called Carmen by the Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate, which was performed at the New Year concert of the Czech Philharmonic 2018. The editor in chief of the magazine Harmonie (Czech for Harmony) Luboš Stehlík gave his review of this concert and admitted Vodička’s performance shocked him a little. “The way he played Sarasate’s fantasia Carmen and especially the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Camilla Saint-Saënse blew me away. The execution was, by all means, better than that of most world-renowned violinists I heard in Prague, abroad or on recordings.” The thirty-year-old Jiří Vodička is a concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic, soloist and chamber player. He won his first competition since a young age, and in 2008 he brought first and second place from the Young Concert Artist competition, which took place in Leipzig and New York.
Concluding the New Year concert will be the suite from the ballet Romeo and Juliet based on William Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name, composed by Sergei Prokofiev who created instrumental or piano suites from nearly all his operas and ballets as well as from his film music.