Dvorak: Symphonic Variations & Slavonic Rhapsodies Jakub Hrusa & Prague Philharmonia
- Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904): Symphonic Variations Op. 78
- 1Theme - Variations 1-402:41
- 2Variations 5-902:34
- 3Variations 10-1302:17
- 4Variations 14-1702:51
- 5Variations 18-2102:10
- 6Variations 22-2402:34
- 7Variations 25-2701:58
- Slavonic Rhapsodies Op. 45
- 9No. 1 in D Major12:39
- 10No. 2 in G Minor13:09
- 11No. 3 in A-Flat Major13:19
Info for Dvorak: Symphonic Variations & Slavonic Rhapsodies
For the third of his three-album series for PENTATONE, the young rising star Jakub Hrůša conducts the PKF-Prague Philharmonia in an all Dvořák programme of appealing orchestral works comprising the evergreen favourite Symphonic Variations op. 78 coupled with the lesser known Slavonic Rhapsodies op. 45.
Already established as a tireless promoter of Czech music, Jakub Hrůša was the inaugural winner in 2015 of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize for his advocacy of Janáček’s works, going on to receive ecstatic reviews in 2016 for Glyndebourne Opera’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen. One reviewer enthused that Hrůša “clearly has this music in his bones and blood … he asks for (and gets) an urgent, raw and abrasive quality, expressive of nothing less than the life force itself.” (The Telegraph, 13 June 2016).
This new release builds on the critical success of his earlier releases in the series. The first album of Dvořák and Lalo cello concertos was selected by Gramophone for its monthly Editor’s Choice which noted that “the recorded sound is, like the playing, absolutely top-notch” (September 2015). HR Audio also praised the album of Dvořák orchestral music for performances that were “splendidly vital, stylish and beautifully shaped” (February 2016). In this third album, Dvorak’s unfailing gift for appealing melodies, potent rhythms and colourful orchestration are put on full display, especially in his Symphonic Variations, one of the most popular set of orchestral variations in the repertoire. Starting with a rather simple and seemingly unpromising theme, Dvořák weaves his customary magic in a series of ingenious and often witty variations which culminates in a suitably exuberant and rousing conclusion. No less winning are the three Slavonic Rhapsodies; these loosely structured and evocative character pieces were hugely popular in his day and have lost none of their power to captivate listeners.
“What else could I wish as a Czech conductor with my Czech orchestra?” says Hrůša. “I’m really happy that PENTATONE invited us to do these recordings … wonderful melodies, great rhythms, charming dances but with some depth and real drama.”
„We are again treated to very finely balanced orchestral playing alongside a spicy mix of bohemian flare and Slavic melancholy. That this music also has perfect timing and great rhythmic precision is underlined by orchestra and conductor with great verve.“ (Opus Klassiek)
Jakub Hrůša, conductor
Born in the Czech Republic and described by Gramophone as ‘on the verge of greatness’, Jakub Hrůša is Chief Conductor Designate of the Bamberg Symphony, Permanent Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, Principal Guest Conductor of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra (TMSO), and served as Music Director and Chief Conductor of PKF–Prague Philharmonia from 2009 to 2015.
He is a regular guest with many of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
Recent highlights have included Bohemian Legends and The Mighty Five – two major series specially devised for the Philharmonia Orchestra – and débuts with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, DSO Berlin, and Russian National Orchestra.
2015/16 will see him make eagerly-awaited debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, and at the Vienna State Opera (a new production of The Makropulos Case directed by Peter Stein) and Frankfurt Opera (Il trittico). He also returns to Glyndebourne Festival in 2016 to lead The Cunning Little Vixen.
As a conductor of opera, he has been a regular guest with the Glyndebourne Festival since his début in 2008, conducting Carmen, The Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni and La bohème, and serving as Music Director of Glyndebourne On Tour from 2010 to 2012. Elsewhere he has led productions for Opéra National de Paris (Rusalka), Finnish National Opera (Jenůfa), Royal Danish Theatre (Boris Godunov), and Prague National Theatre (The Cunning Little Vixen and Rusalka).
As a recording artist, he has released six discs for Supraphon including a live recording of Smetana’s Má vlast from the Prague Spring Festival. Other recordings include the Tchaikovsky and Bruch violin concertos with Nicola Benedetti and the Czech Philharmonic (Universal); live recordings of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie and Suk’s Asrael Symphony with TMSO for Octavia Records; and, as the first in a three-disc series for Pentatone with PKF-Prague Philharmonia, Dvořák and Lalo cello concertos with Johannes Moser. He will also embark on a new partnership in the coming seasons with Tudor and Bamberg Symphony.
Originally from Brno, Jakub Hrůša studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where he now lives with his wife and daughter. He is currently President of the International Martinů Circle.