Saturday, February 18, 2006

Belohlavek's orchestral rhapsody in Norwich ...

Guest blogger Alex Noel-Tod reports that on Saturday 18th February there was a rare opportunity in Norwich to sit in on the rehearsal of a Janáček orchestral work, Taras Bulba: rhapsody for orchestra (1915), under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek (left) who will be the Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from July 2006.

Maestro Bĕlohlávek was rehearsing the work with students from the University of East Anglia Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra Anglia together with other young musicians from the area. The rehearsal was at the OPEN Norwich Youth Venue and was a joint venture between the Chamber Orchestra Anglia and the UEA School of Music. The UEA Symphony Orchestra will be performing the work as part of a concert in St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, on 1st April, when the conductor will be Sharon Choa.

Janáček and Norwich have a significant connection, as the UK premiere of his Glagolitic Mass (1926) was given at the 1930 Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival, with Sir Henry Wood conducting the Festival Chorus and the Queen's Hall Orchestra. On that occasion Janáček's music, received a lukewarm reception, mainly due to the lack of preparedness by the chorus and orchestra, together with the use of an awkward English translation.


Maestro Bĕlohlávek gave detailed attention and energy to the extraordinary mixture of rhythms, melodies, and dynamics that uniquely define his compatriot's music. This valuable opportunity for young players to work with a world-class conductor should ensure that Janáček receives a more glorious performance in Norwich this April.

With apologies for lack of accents in headline, but some software can't handle them - see my story
BBC orchestra's problem with accents ...
Photo of Jiří Bělohlávek from IMG Artists
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