August 18, 2010

(Martin Valek tackles the Ladislav Simon violin concerto - oh . . not familiar?)

Hitting unfamilar territory on the one hand and a staple of the concert hall on the other. This week's concert comes from Prague via Czech Radio and a live concert by the Czech Radio Symphony conducted by Vladimir Valek and featuring violinist Martin Valek (no mention if they're related). First up is by contemporary Czech composer Ladislav Simon: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. Simon has composed a huge amount of music, ranging from symphonic and chamber to Jazz, electronic and TV scores. The violin concerto is nicely atmospheric without straining nerves - it's a nice introduction if you're not all that familiar with contemporary classical music. It won't assault you and take you hostage. And the second half is the old warhorse Brahms: Symphony Number 2. But I like the sound of this orchestra, especially the horns (even though the stream is in Mono for some reason) and Vladimir Malek does a nice job reigning it all in.

It's mostly complete (there was the opening piece Dukas: The Sorcerers Apprentice which had some bad skips and I had to drop it. Sorry) and, as always, split into two parts. Part 1 (up top) is the Simon Violin concerto and Part 2 (down there) is the Brahms.

And here are the notes in case you're interested:

HRAJE SYMFONICKÝ ORCHESTR ČESKÉHO ROZHLASU - Ladislav Simon: Koncert pro housle a orchestr (35 min). Sólista Martin Válek. - Johannes Brahms: Symfonie č. 2 D dur op. 73 (38 min). Řídí Vladimír Válek. (90 min)

Since the program is from Prague, the announcements are in Czech, but there are about 30 seconds of them. Nothing that would create an international incident or make you drop everything and run for a copy of Rosetta Stone.

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