Antonín Dvořák: Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65, B. 130
Robert Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat Major, Op. 44
Together, the pianist Boris Giltburg (Israel) and the Pavel Haas Quartet (Czech Republic) create a perfect musical organism driven by their obsession with music, perfectionism, and feeling for details. In their case, prizes from the BBC Music Magazine, the journal Gramophone, and the Diapason d’Or are just trinkets commemorating the great results of their collective efforts. By bringing Giltburg and the Pavel Haas Quartet together, the Dvořák Prague Festival is doing much more – their combination confronts the festival’s foundations with its future orientation. After several years of orchestral works, the prestigious Dvořák Collection concert series is moving on to chamber music, and string quartets play a major role in that context. One can scarcely imagine a better ensemble than the Pavel Haas Quartet – Czech and foreign critics alike regard them as a truly elite representative of Dvořák’s music. At the same time, this means that the Dvořák Collection series will intersect with the Chamber Series, which has become enormously popular, and which sells out the Rudolfinum just as reliably as the world’s great orchestras do. This is surely thanks in part to the Chamber Series curators; next year Boris Giltburg will serve in that role.
Last but not least, however, it is necessary to emphasise the intersecting of the music of Antonín Dvořák – Robert Schumann, which will be presented by the programme of the joint concert of Boris Giltburg and the Pavel Haas Quartet. Besides lieder, Dvořák regarded Schumann as being at his best when composing chamber music with piano. It is therefore logical that the two composers should be presented in the concentrated form of a programme combining piano with a chamber ensemble.
The superb Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg is one of the most sought-after soloists of his generation. His victory at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2013 became the springboard that launched his dizzying artistic career: besides giving solo recitals at the world’s most illustrious venues (including London’s Wigmore Hall and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg), he is invited to collaborate with such orchestras as the Israel Philharmonic, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In the field of chamber music he has been in long-term cooperation with the Pavel Haas Quartet. Although his repertoire is quite broad, critics have often called him a specialist in the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff. During the Beethoven year of 2020, he has realised a set of recordings of all 32 of the composer’s piano sonatas and of his five piano concertos. He devotes himself intensively to the popularisation of classical music – besides publishing articles for various media, he has his own blog: “Classical music for all”.
Around the world, the Pavel Haas Quartet is one of today’s most acclaimed chamber music ensembles. It was founded in 2002, just two years later it won the Vittoria E. Rimbotti Prize in Florence, then it triumphed at the 2005 Prague Spring International Music Competition and at the prestigious Premio Paolo Borciani in Reggio Emilia, Italy. In 2006, the European Concert Hall Organisation named it one of its Rising Stars. The group records exclusively for Supraphon. It has eight albums to its credit with music by Janáček, Dvořák, Haas, Beethoven, Smetana, Schubert, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich – all of the CDs have won significant international acclaim. During the 2019/20 concert season, the Pavel Haas Quartet has returned to such prestigious halls as the Tonhalle in Zurich, London’s Wigmore Hall, and the Philharmonie Luxembourg, and it appeared for the first time in Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa). In January 2020, the ensemble took part at the String Quartet Biennale in Amsterdam.
The Rudolfinum is one of the most important Neo-Renaissance edifices in the Czech Republic. In its conception as a multi-purpose cultural centre it was quite unique in Europe at the time of its construction. Based on a joint design by two outstanding Czech architects, Josef Zítek and Josef Schultz, a magnificent building was erected serving for concerts, as a gallery, and as a museum. The grand opening on 7 February 1885 was attended by Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, in whose honour the structure was named. In 1896 the very first concert of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took place in the Rudolfinum's main concert hall, under the baton of the composer Antonín Dvořák whose name was later bestowed on the hall.