Thursday evening I attended a concert at the Rudolfinum’s Suk Hall. The Rudolfinum is in Jan Palach Square along the banks of the Vltava River. Since it opened in 1885, the beautiful Neo Renaissance building has been associated with Prague music and art. It’s named after Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia.
Prague Vivaldi Master’s Orchestra consists of 7 violins, 2 cellos, and a bass. There were two guest soloists – mezzo soprano Stanislava Jirků and violinist Vlastimil Kobrle. The group performed for about 1.5 hours, without a break:
- Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Spring and Summer)
- Aria from Mozart’s Figaro
- Ave Maria Franz Schubert
- Smetana’s The Moldau – which I NEVER get tired of hearing
- Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (Allegro)
- Bizet’s Carmen Habanera
- Ravel’s Bolero
- Bach Air on the G-String
Stanislava Jirků is a rising operatic star with a strong, beautiful voice. Vlastimil Kobrle’s violin solos were flawless. He’s clearly a master. I enjoy Prague evenings listening to short concerts in small, intimate venues. Prague has wonderful music choices with live performances held throughout the city in magnificent churches and halls. Concerts are easy to book and prices are reasonable.
Jan Palach Square is named in honor of Jan Palach, “a student who committed suicide by self-immolation in political protest. He killed himself on January 16, 1969, after the Soviet Union invaded his native Czechoslovakia to crush the reforms of Alexander Dubcek’s government during the Prague Spring.”
In October 2015 two structures – The House of the Mother of the Suicide and The House of the Suicide – were erected at the edge of Palach Square to commemorate his life. They form a part of the public space at the southern part of the Alšovo Embankment in Prague.
That prompted me to play The Moldau while I read this post. Isn’t it amazing the number of places for music in Prague? The Jan Palach story is so tragic.
Yes, and it’s so easy to book. Last night I went on a jazz cruise on the river and enjoyed it so much. The British saxophone player gave a hilarious narrative. Traveling solo has ups and downs for feeling lonely, but I shared a table with a very nice couple from Israel – on their 12th wedding anniversary – and a gay flight attendant from Switzerland. Jan Palach’s story really touches my heart.