Jakub Hrůša returns to Prague this week to perform with Czech Philharmonic

Jakub Hrůša

Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša, who currently serves as the acting director of the Royal Opera House in London, returns for a special concert with the Czech Philharmonic this week. He will perform two iconic works by Josef Suk and Alexander Scriabin featuring world-renowned pianist Daniil Trifonov.

Josef Suk’s Asrael Symphony and Scriabin’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in F sharp minor will be performed in the Dvořák Hall of Prague’s Rudolfinum on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday by the Czech Philharmonic headed by its guest conductor Jakub Hrůša.

The Piano Concerto in F sharp minor is Scriabin’s only concerto for solo instrument with orchestra. It premiered in October 1897 in Odessa, with Scriabin himself as the soloist. The Czech Philharmonic first performed this work in 1924, then in 1934 and most recently in 1998.

In an interview for Czech Radio, Jakub Hrůša explained why this piece was selected for the programme:

“It’s an early work, a sort of indicator of the composer’s future development, so it’s a different Scriabin than we know. The reason we decided to play this piece is the soloist. We could hardly find anyone more suitable than Daniil Trifonov.

“In a way, we will be performing it for him, because it was him who chose this composition. I’ve never done it before, so it will be something of a discovery for me.”

Daniil Trifonov | Photo: Petra Hajská,  The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

The second part of the evening will be devoted to the music of Josef Suk and his symphony Asrael. Suk began composing it in early 1905, some eight months after the death of his father-in-law Antonín Dvořák and named the piece after the angel of death.

Less than half a year later, Suk’s wife and Dvořák’s daughter Otilie died at the age of just 27. Suk only returned to the composition a year later, and instead of the final celebratory movement, he added two slow movements reflecting on death, loss, pain and reconciliation.

The composition is one of Jakub Hrůša’s favourite pieces which he has performed many times all over the world:

“It may be one of the most tragic symphonic pieces, but it doesn’t represent death. To the contrary, it is a piece that offers light on the backdrop of all the tragic events. And it is the ending, which brings hope for the future that makes Asrael particularly beautiful.”

Jakub Hrůša, who will take over as music director of London’s Royal Opera House in 2025, is also due to receive honorary membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London this May, along with other world-class musicians.

“I have not studied in this school but I know a lot of people who either teach there or have studied there. When I got the announcement letter, it said that my predecessors included Mendelssohn, Liszt and Stravinsky. So it is a huge honour and another element that makes me feel even more at home in London.”

The Prague concert of the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Jakub Hrůša will be streamed live by Mezzo TV and Stage+.

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Daniel Jäger
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