29 Nov 2005 00:00 - 00:00
Škampa Quartet + Iva Bittová
A unique concert of a Wigmore Hall resident ensamble with Iva Bittova, connecting Leoš Janáček's chamber music with moravian folklore.
The musical idiom of Janáček was deeply influenced by folk music, a source which nurtured it with a potent impulse on whose crest they then embarked on new, uncharted roads. Iva Bittová has cultivated an entirely personal affinity with the music of those composers, since folk music has been her mother tongue. Janáček‘s arrangements of folk songs for voice and piano are miniature masterpieces, combining the presence of their folklore inspiration with an individual tone that is thoroughly Janáček‘s. The reassignment of Janáček‘s piano arrangements to a combination of stringed instruments actually brings Janáček‘s invention back to its roots in folklore.
Folk songs bring to a new life long-gone stories of love and betrayal, happiness and sorrow, life and death. We have tried here to imitate, for a limited period of time at least, protagonists of such stories, and in the process to unveil the essence of their beauty and wisdom, for our own sake as well as for those who listen.
The violin is one of the finest musical instruments. It shapes and transforms me, awakens my feelings and emotions, it fulfils me in the aesthetic sense of the word, and illustrates the highest values in my attitudes to music, to other people, and to myself. That is why I love the violin - and to love means to live!
String Quartet No. 1 ‘Kreuzer Sonata’
String Quartet No. 2 ‘Intimate Letters’
Selection from Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs
Two movements from the string quartet ‘Quatuor pour Cora’
Iva Bittová about herself
My father, Koloman Bitto, came from southern Slovakia and was a truly versatile musician. My mother, Ludmila Bittová, née Masařová, a native of Moravian Slovakia, is a teacher. However, she has spent all her life singing in stage choruses and other vocal ensembles. My father changed jobs quite a few times, we kept moving from one place to another. We even moved to Slovakia, then back again... Anyway, we mostly lived in Moravia. After a considerable period in the city of Opava, we eventually settled in Brno, where I completed my studies at the drama college and for over ten years (from my first year at college) I worked as an actress in the avant-garde theatre company Husa na provázku. I now live in the village of Lelekovice near Brno, in a small house with a garden, close to a wood, with my two sons, Matouš (*1982) and Toník (*1991).
l took ballet lessons, sang, played the violin, and acted children's parts on stage. After we moved to Brno, I put the violin aside and devoted myself wholly to drama studies. Having spent some time working as an actress, I began to feel a renewed inner urge to express myself through music. I found a violin teacher. His name was Rudolf Šťastný. By then my father had become seriously ill. He died three years later and, in many respects, professor Šťastný became a second father to me.
The Skampa Quartet was established in 1989 at the Prague Academy of Music under the guidance of Milan Skampa and Antonin Kohout of the legendary Smetana Quartet. Their studies continued with Piero Farulli of the Quartetto Italiano, with members of the Amadeus Quartet and with Walter Levin of the LaSalle Quartet.
In 1990 they were awarded the Best Quartet Prize in the Premio Vittorio Gui Competition in Florence and the following year secured First Prize in the Charles Hennen Competition in Holland, received special Awards from the Czech Chamber Music Society in Prague and the Ernst-von-Siemens Foundation. The Quartet made its debut at London¹s Wigmore Hall in February 1993, for which they received the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for the Best Debut appearance. In 1994 Wigmore Hall appointed the Skampa Quartet its very first artists-in-residence - a highly successful collaboration that lasted for five years. From the early days of their residency in London they have broadcast regularly on BBC Radio3 and one of these Live from Wigmore Hall broadcasts, with Melvyn Tan, was selected to launch the BBC Worldwide record label.
Box office: 0207 935 2141
116 Long Acre
WC2E 9PA London
29 Nov 2005 00:00 - 00:00
Czech Centre London