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The Czech National Symphony Orchestra (CNSO) has been entertaining classical music lovers for a quarter of a century and gained a position among both Czech and Europe’s top symphonic ensembles.
Now it brings a programme of dazzling piano concertos alongside lyrical symphonies to Norwich Theatre Royal on April 15.
The programme will be conducted by Ben Palmer, who is artistic director of Covent Garden Sinfonia and chief conductor of the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck; while Pavel Kolesnikov, who was awarded the Prize Laureate of the Honens Prize for Piano in 2012 and performs around the world, will be at the piano.
The programme will start with Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 (The Unfinished), followed by Beethoven’s Piano Concert No. 5 (The Emperor) and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (The New World).
Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ was not heard during the composer’s short lifetime and musicologists still disagree as to why he failed to complete it. A romantic and lyrical piece, he gave the manuscript in its incomplete form to a friend as a present and it remained hidden in a drawer for the next 40 years before it was rescued by a Viennese music director and finally presented in Vienna in 1865.
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 was the last of his completed piano concertos, although he never performed it in public himself. It opens with a piano solo, giving way to a more traditional, prolonged orchestral exposition.
The Dvorak Symphony is by far the composer’s most popular symphony and one of the most loved of classical pieces. He wrote it in America taking inspiration from negro melodies. Astronaut Neil Armstrong took a tape recording of it on the Apollo 11 mission for the first Moon landing in 1969 and Hovis used it in their most iconic ‘Bike’ advert in the 1972.
The CNSO, established in 1993, is renowned for its versatility, covering everything from classical music concerts through contemporary genre, film scores and jazz to musicals. It also organises the summer Prague Proms Festival. Highlights of its recent concert seasons have included a European tour with the legendary Ennio Morricone, a Prague concert with Anna Netrebko and the recording of a new album with Plácido Domingo.
The orchestra also recorded Ennio Morricone’s score for the western film The Hateful Eight by director Quentin Tarantino, a score which won Morricone an Oscar after 500 movie credits. The soundtrack was recorded live and launched by Tarantino, Morricone and the CNSO at Abbey Road Studios in December 2015.
The CNSO has also collaborated with Andrea Bocelli and with pop artists such as Sting, George Michael, Natalie Cole, Dianne Reeves, Angélique Kidjo, Denise Donatelli, Ute Lemper, and with great instrumentalists such as James Morrison, Branford & Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Shew, and many more.
Concert-goers can enjoy a Pre-Concert Talk in the Theatre Royal auditorium on April 15, starting at 6.30pm. Tickets for this free talk must be booked direct with the Box Office.
The CNSO will also return to Norwich for a second concert on December 2 with Heiko Mathias Förster as conductor and violinist Jennifer Pike as soloist.