Classical Guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz returns to the 1867 Sanctuary on Sunday April 29, @ 7:30 PM, 2018 for a program of Virtuoso Romantic Showpieces by Napoleon Coste and Ivan Padovec, and Contemporary Masterpieces by Václav Kučera, Prof. Kendall Kennison, and Maestro Robert W. Butts! As a special tribute, we will pay homage to the late Czech composer (and friend of tonight’s Artist) Maestro Václav Kučera (1929-2017), with works by composer colleagues and friends! Featured will be Professor Kendall Kennison’s Guitar Sonata and Backanally, the NJ Premiere of Maestro Robert W. Butts’ Tombeau—In Memoriam Václav Kučera, and we will conclude with our “centerpiece work” the profoundly moving Diario—Omaggio a Che Guevara by Vaclav Kucera himself! Also, back by popular demand, will be the world famous “Early Morning Suite” (for solo guitar) by Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey composer and conductor Maestro Robert W. Butts! (dedicated to tonight’s Artist).
Sunday April 29, @ 7:30 PM, 2018
101 Scotch Road, Ewing, NJ 08628
Tel: 609-392-6409 or E-mail: email@example.com
Václav Kučera (1929 – 2017, Prague) was one of the great composers of the 20th century. His works encompass all genres—orchestral, stage, vocal, chamber, electronic—but those involving the guitar (an instrument he has a special kinship with) hold a unique place within his oeuvre. He has chosen this medium to express some of his most profound and poetic visions.
Václav Kučera studied composition at the Moscow Conservatoire (under Vissarion), and simultaneously graduated with a specialization musicological studies. He worked in the Czechoslovak Radio, headed the Cabinet of Contemporary Musical Studies affiliated to the Union of Czechoslovak Composers, and was active at the Institute of Musical Science in the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. From 1969 to 1983, he functioned as lead secretary of the Union of Czech Composers and Concert Artists. Since 1972 he has been Professor of Composition at the Prague Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (and later was Docent in the subject of modern compositional trends). In 1979 he was awarded the state distinction “For Outstanding Work”, and in 1986 honored with the title Merited Artist—one of the most prestigious awards granted in the Czech Republic.
As a composer, Kučera began from an admiration for Janacek, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, and, integrating the character of Czech and Moravian melodiousness, achieved a uniquely personal musical idiom. His artistic ‘voice’ has the character of an individually tinged expressiveness that features the utilization of new musically-technical means to express socially-important and artistically inspired arguments of the present time. The compositions of Kučera have won numerous distinctions: the Tableau for Piano and Orchestra – the prize of Queen Maria-Jose (Geneva 1970); Lidice – special recognition of the Czechoslovak Radio for the 25th anniversary of Czechoslovakia s liberation (1970), as well as the prize of the Italian Radio Prix d’Italia (1972). The cycle Celebration of Spring – the first prize in the competition of the Central Council of the Trades-Unions (1977), and the string quartet Consciousness of Continuities – the prize of the Union of Czechoslovak Composers and Concert Artists (1983). Tonight’s Artist Stanley Alexandrowicz, gave the U.S. premiere of Vácav Kučera’s Concierto Imaginativo-Homenaje a Salvador Dali for guitar and string orchestra (Baltimore) in honor of the composer’s 80th birthday year.
About tonight “centerpiece work” British composer and musical journalist John Duarte writes “Diario—Omaggio a Che Guevara, is a “musical-political” document, recording five notional, critical days in the life of its eponymous, revolutionary hero. The Day of Love mixes tenderly romantic passages with sterner ones, suggesting his realization that what he (Che Guevara) wishes to do cannot be accomplished without strife. The Day of Hate (for the system he opposes) is filled with trills that quiver with rages, dissonant declamation and stark, mostly quartal, chords. A grimly determined and relentless triplet rhythm frames the Day of Decision, abating only the central section in order to make a statement of intent before accelerating to a thunderous climax. Drum-beats announce the arrival of the Day of Battle, and punctuate its opening page before giving way to a violent frenzy of dissonance, chord tremolandi; a fortissimo ascent to the extreme upper register is followed by a descent to a quiet, chilling diminuendo, with notes subjected to exaggerated vibrato as the action ceases but the emotion remains. Percussion of a different kind (symbolizing heart-beats) persist through the Day of Death, a funeral cortege interrupted only by a brief, impassioned oration in which the use of parallel fourths above an ostinato based on the same interval, suggests emptiness of hope. The end signifies resignation to the inevitable.”
Politics aside, the Diario—Omaggio a Che Guevara is Václav Kučera’s poetic and deeply moving vision of “the Fallen Hero’s Journey” presented through his genius as a “concert cycle” unique and unparalleled in the literature of Contemporary classical guitar.