Collegium 1704 (photo: Petra Hajska)

Chamber Music

Baroque Festival

Bach and Pisendel with Collegium 1704

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is an important focus in the repertoire of Collegium 1704. That is not surprising, since the Baroque orchestra from Prague, led by harpsichordist and conductor Václav Luks, was founded for the project “Bach – Prague – 2005”. The ensemble also devotes itself enthusiastically to the music of Dresden, which was one of the leading musical centres during the Baroque period. Johann Georg Pisendel, a composer and one of the most celebrated violinists of his day, was active there. Collegium 1704 performs works by Bach and Pisendel during its appearance at our Baroque Festival.

Collegium 1704

Václav Luks conductor

Hana Blažíková soprano

Helena Zemanová concert master

Ivan Iliev concert master

Julie Braná Traversflöte

Katharina Andres oboe

Hans-Martin Rux baroque trumpet

Johann Sebastian Bach

Concerto for Oboe, Violin, Strings and Continuo in C minor (reconstruction after BWV 1060)

Johann Sebastian Bach

“Non sa che sia dolore”, Cantata, BWV 209

Johann Georg Pisendel

Concerto for Violin, Strings Continuo in G minor

Johann Sebastian Bach

“Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen”, Cantata, BWV 51

Dates and Tickets

Fri, 04 Mar 2022, 20:00

Chamber Music Hall

Programme

Only two and a half years separate Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Georg Pisendel. The former has gone down in music history as one of the foremost Baroque composers. The other, one of the leading German violin virtuosos in his day, is now largely unknown. Yet as concertmaster of the famous Dresden court orchestra, he left his mark on the musical scene there for decades. The position of concertmaster at that time corresponds to that of a chief conductor today. The two composers met in Weimar in their early twenties. A friendship like that between Pisendel and Georg Philipp Telemann did not develop, but Pisendel held Bach in high esteem throughout his life.

Pisendel’s compositions for the violin are by their very nature influenced by his work as a violinist. This is also true of his Violin Concerto in G minor, which is characterised by a variety of virtuoso ornamentation in the solo part and tremendous playfulness in the fast movements.

Almost all of Bach’s harpsichord concertos are arrangements he made of his violin and oboe concertos. The double concerto for oboe and violin performed today, on the other hand, has only been preserved in an arrangement by Bach for two harpsichords, so it has taken the opposite route and is heard today as a reconstruction. In the secular cantata “Non sa che sia dolore”, the flute not only plays a major role in the introductory Sinfonia, but is also obbligato to the soprano in the first aria “Parti pur e con dolore”. In the church cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen”, Bach places his compositional art entirely at the service of praise to God. Soprano and trumpet radiate jubilant splendour, while the polyphonic constructions of the chorale and the fugal Alleluia demonstrate an artistry appropriate to the cantata’s addressee.

Biography

Václav Luks is one of the leading figures in the field of historical performance practice. He toured throughout Europe, the US, Mexico and Japan as a natural hornist with various early music ensembles: “This experience – to be able to observe many conductors during rehearsals and concerts – was good training. But I did not have the ambition to become a conductor myself at the beginning.” Things turned out differently, however. In 2005 he founded the Baroque orchestra Collegium 1704 and the vocal ensemble Collegium Vocale 1704. The two ensembles have devoted themselves in particular to works by the Czech Baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka, who entered the European musical scene in 1704 with a magnificent performance of his school drama Via Laureata. Collegium 1704 quickly became one of the world’s leading ensembles for 17th- and 18th-century music. It collaborates regularly with the Prague Spring Music Festival and is invited frequently to European musical centres and leading early music festivals. Jan Dismas Zelenka’s Missa votiva was a brilliant success at the Festival de Sablé and La Chaise-Dieu in 2007 – the CD recording ranked among the top 10 on French classical music charts immediately after its release. Other highly acclaimed recordings by the ensemble include Josef Mysliveček’s Violin Concerto, the first recording of Zelenka’s Missa Divi Xaverii and Rameau’s Les Boréades.


Natural, bright and effortless: Hana Blažíková has a very clear idea “of an ideal sound”, to which she would like to come “as close as possible”. The fact that her slender voice, which is projected luminously through every register, is perfectly suited to early music did not become apparent until after her classical vocal training at the Prague Conservatory. “After completing my studies, I met a conductor who invited me to join his period ensemble, and only then did I begin to really become familiar with Baroque music. I quickly discovered that . . . my voice is extremely well suited for it, and I immediately felt at home with it.” Today the Czech soprano is highly acclaimed as a specialist in medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music. Her repertoire? “Primarily Bach.” Hana Blažíková appears with many internationally renowned orchestras under conductors such as Philippe Herreweghe, Ton Koopman and Masaaki Suzuki. She is also a sought-after operatic soloist, particularly for productions in historical performance practice. The singer can be heard on more than thirty CD recordings, including the critically acclaimed series of Bach cantatas with the Bach Collegium Japan.

Collegium 1704 (photo: Petra Hajska)