About the concert
Petr Eben (1929 – 2007) never let his artistic invention be spent on music alone; rather, he would devote equal attention to extramusical content conveyed either through sung text, or indeed through any other kind of impulse coming from the outside. For his Greek Dictionary, a work inspired by Homer´s Illiad, he picked nine words (or short word constructions) characterizing human traits, emotions and turning points in life. To each of these, he assigned one part of his cycle. The result is a dynamic composition filled with original ideas and embued with lively expression. A part of its final effect is definitely also due to the sonic appeal of the Greek language.
Carl Orff (1895 – 1982) wrote three vocal concertos for chorus a cappella. The last of these, entitled Sunt lacrimae rerum (“Tears of Things”), is intended for male chorus. The opening part appeals to mankind to beware of its dark sides which may lead it to destruction; the second movement, providing a sprightly virtuoso contrast, comments on the ever repeating cycle of life and death ; and the final part brings catharsis in the form of a plea for redemption and admission to paradise. The work´s overall expressiveness is heightened by unusually emphatic solo baritone and tenor parts. The composition bears all signs of Orff´s characteristic handwriting strongly relating to Orff´s most famous work, the cantata Carmina Burana.
Anton Bruckner (1824 – 1896) earned fame thanks chiefly to his symphonic output of works with awesomely expansive romantic passages, dazzling gradations and thoroughly worked-through expression. The same, however, is true of his smaller-scale sacred compositions generally known as motets. Each of these “sung symphonies” offers a compact stream of tones and colours, in invariably flawless harmony with text. They clearly bespeak of the composer´s profound religious faith, and using a combination of quietude and majesty convey ideas reaching far beyond the mundane concerns of earthly life. Here tonight the motets are sequenced in a cycle interspersed with several short instrumental pieces in a similar vein.
Author: Lukáš Vasilek
Kostel sv. Šimona a Judy