Slovak Philharmonic Choir
Daniel Raiskin – conductor
Jozef Chabroň – choirmaster
Slávka Zámečníková – soprano
Ján Gallovič – narrator
Dejan Lazić – piano
Ilja Zeljenka – To sing? Cantata for two choirs, soprano, narrator and orchestra on Ján Botto’s poem
Franz Liszt – Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S. 124
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition
The cantata To Sing? on poems by Ján Botto was written by Ilja Zeljenka in 1972, in the time of the growing “normalization” of the social and political life in our country. Gloomy lines written by a poet of the Štúr generation, motivated by the defeat of the revolution in the memorable year 1848, inspired the composer in his reaction to the depressing situation of his time. The piece was premiered as late as in 1992.
The Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major by Franz Liszt belongs to the most popular and the most frequently performed 19th-century instrumental concertos. The solo part, written out with bravura and virtuosity, enables pianists to demonstrate to the highest extent their technical and expressive skills, as is the case of the acclaimed Croatian artist Dejan Lazić, whose skills have been highlighted in Der Spiegel magazine. Mussorgsky’s legendary piano piece Pictures at an Exhibition, inspired by the posthumous exhibition of the painter Viktor Hartmann in Moscow, encouraged a lot of composers to instrumentation. The author of the most popular orchestral arrangement, tonight performed by the Slovak Philharmonic led by its music director Daniel Raiskin as a final piece of the festival’s opening concert, is no less famous and renowned Maurice Ravel.