Beethoven’s Emperor

Grimaud and the Czech Philharmonic

Part of The Birmingham Beethoven Cycle… more events…
Part of Entertaining Erdington… more events…
Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Friday 12 April

Symphony Hall

Czech Philharmonic

Jiří Bělohlávek conductor

Hélène Grimaud  piano

Smetana   From Bohemia’s Meadows and Forests 14’
Beethoven   Piano Concerto No 5, Emperor 40’
Dvořák   Symphony No 7 37’

Czech Phil’s encore – Dvořák

Dvořák’s powerfully dramatic Seventh Symphony is preceded by Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (completing this season’s cycle of piano concertos), played by celebrity guest Hélène Grimaud. Beethoven composed the piece as Napoleon’s guns thundered across Vienna; its nobility and grandeur never fail to carry audiences away.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert:

The Czech Philharmonic orchestra gave some of their earliest concerts under Dvořák himself. His symphonies and music like Smetana’s From Bohemia’s Meadows and Forests are part of the orchestra’s great tradition, capturing the spirit of the Czech people and their folk music.

6.15pm Free pre-concert conversation with Lyndon Jenkins and Jiří Bělohlávek.



Article by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post

Click here for full article

…     ” “It is our goal to bring the fame of Czech music to the broadest audiences  worldwide,” says Jiri, as he tell me about the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra’s  ambassadorial activities. “Every year the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra spends  quite a number of days on tours. As our orchestra plays an important role in the  music life in Prague, we have to divide our activities among our subscription  series, special projects, educative concerts, recording, and so on. Our policy  is to reserve up to approximately 40 concerts per season for international  touring,” he says.”     …



Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…      “Often eclipsed by the ever popular Ninth ‘New World’ Symphony, No 7 still remains a heart-warming and enjoyable piece of music.

It also demonstrates Dvorak’s talent for blending harmonies, for building on themes and forrevelling in a good tune. No 7 is full of life and vigour as it dances along, bouncing themes back and forth between strings, woodwind and brass, all working together towards its rousing finale.

It is clearly loved by the Czech Philharmonic and conductor Jiri Belohlavek who seemed to greet it like an old friend, quickly embracing its colour and tone and capturing its energy beautifully.”     …

Review by Peter Marks, BachTrack:
Click here for full review

…     “Matters improved in the lovely central Adagio with orchestra and soloist coming together as one. Grimaud displayed a real depth of feeling here and the seamless transition into the rollicking final Rondo was utterly convincing. This was taken at quite a lick and, despite the last degree of unanimity between soloist and orchestra being again absent, the concerto came to an agreeable conclusion.

The orchestra was back on home territory for Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony. The placement of the violas on the outside right of the orchestra meant that these highly vocal and sweet-sounding players were heard in all their glory throughout the symphony, not least in the opening of the piece. Bělohlávek’s interpretation was for the most part straightforward and quite hard driven. The climaxes in all the movements were tremendously exciting with horns and trumpets tastefully given their heads.”




Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “This orchestra is intimately acquainted with the terrain, both musical and  natural, and with Jiří Bělohlávek at the helm this traversal had depth and  power.

It whetted my appetite for a complete performance of Smetana’s epic Má Vlast  from this team. Having recently heard their 1992 recording of Dvorak’s seventh  symphony it seems Bělohlávek’s interpretation hasn’t changed substantially in 20  years.

There’s no reason it should since it’s one that’s beautifully balanced  between Dvorak’s desire to compose a more highly-structured Brahmsian symphony  and his ineliminable Bohemian roots.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s