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Richard Strauss, Don Juan, Op. 20
Bedřih Smetana, Vltava, JB 1:112
Antonin Dvořák, Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World, Op. 95
Apart from Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss (1864-1949) had the most decisive influence on the image of German classical music in the period of late Romanticism and the transition to Expressionism. Today, we know him mainly as the composer of the operas Der Rosenkavalier, Salome and Elektra, and the symphonic poems Don Juan, Also sprach Zarathustra, Don Quixote, Death and Transfiguration and An Alpine Symphony, but he was also well known as a conductor. The symphonic poem Don Juan was written in 1888 and, according to musicologist Carl Dahlhaus, represents a “musical symbol of fin-de-siecle modernism”.
Má vlast (My Fatherland) is a cycle of six symphonic poems and one of the most famous works by Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884), the great Romantic composer who laid the foundations of Czech musical identity. In the individual movements, which depict specific Czech regions, we find many elements of the local folk music. Smetana’s efforts to creat “Czech” classical music were continued by Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904), who achieved international fame especially after moving to the United States, where he served as director of the American National Conservatory of Music in New York between 1892 and 1895. It was during this period that Dvořák created his Ninth Symphony.
The final concert of this year’s Kromatika season will be led by young Polish conductor Dawid Runtz (1992), the chief conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic and the Polish Royal Opera. He made his debut in 2016 with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra after completing his studies at the Chopin University of Music in the class of Antoni Wit. Runtz soon gained a reputation for his sophisticated, elegant technique, his sensitivity to musical materials and his authentic, communicative interpretations. He is now a sought-after concert and opera conductor throughout Europe.