Bohemian Finale

Saturday, June 1, 2019, 8pm
All Saints Parish
1773 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02445

Zdeněk Fibich - A Night at Karlštejn Castle

Zdeněk Fibich was a Czech composer of chamber works, symphonic poems, three symphonies, at least seven operas, and a large cycle of piano works called Moods, Impressions, and Reminiscences. Fibich was given a multicultural education, living during his formative early years in Germany, France and Austria in addition to his native Bohemia. Fibich was the first to write a Czech nationalist tone poem, and well as the first to use the polka in a chamber work.

A Night at Karlstein is an Overture to the play by Czech lyrical poet Jaroslav Vrchlicky. The play follows the story of Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles (Karel) IV, who built Karlstejn castle to house the crown jewels. But it is also a place where no women are permitted, and no politics are to be discussed. The Queen Eliška Pomořanská is distraught about this sanction, and decides to enter the castle disguised as a page to spy on her husband. The same idea came to Alena, a young girl in love with one of the members of the garrison, causing a night of confusion to unfold.

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No.1

Gustav Mahler was an Austro-Bohemian late-Romantic composer, one of the leading conductors of his generation, and one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers. Born in Bohemia (then part of the Austrian Empire) as a German-speaking Jew of humble circumstances, Mahler displayed his musical gifts at an early age. Late in his life he was briefly director of New York's Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Mahler's works are generally designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses, and operatic soloists.

Symphony No. 1 in D major was composed between 1887 and 1888, though it incorporates music Mahler had composed for previous works. Although in his letters Mahler almost always referred to the work as a symphony, the first two performances described it as a symphonic poem or tone poem. The work was premièred at the Vigadó Concert Hall, Budapest, in 1889, but was not well received, leading to major revisions for the second performance and first publication. Some modern performances and recordings title the work Titan after the novel by German author Jean Paul, but Mahler himself only used this label for two early performances, and never after the work had reached its definitive four-movement form in 1896. Mahler conducted more performances of this symphony than of any other of his later works.