CZECH PHILHARMONIC CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

Pavel Prantl, Artistic Director
Richard Ormrod, Piano
Tour Repertoire

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The relatively newly-forged Czech Republic, born of the bloodless "Velvet Revolution," has spawned a Renaissance of artistic activity in Prague, a hub of central European intellectuals and artists for nearly eight centuries. With this Renaissance came the revitalization of international touring by the celebrated Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. The CPCO was formed in 1977 by Pavel Prantl and colleagues from the Czech Philharmonic and today encompasses musicians from both the Czech Philharmonic and Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble debuted successfully under a series of internationally respected conductors including Josef Suk, Vaclav Neumann and Libor Pesek, though in general performs without conductor. Highly successful tours of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and Asia were followed by recording contracts with European, Asian, and American record companies for which the orchestra has garnered a coveted Grand Prix du Disque. October 1999 marked the first United States tour of the orchestra.

Reviews

"Yet another artistic triumph for our treasured Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra under the leadership of its Artistic Director Pavel Prantl."              - Prague Post (C. R.)

"The exquisite artistry and unmistakably Czech sound of the performance, which could exhaust one's supply of superlatives, rewarded the full hall."              - Luzerner Tagblatt (Switzerland)

"Our neighbors from the Czech Republic proved once again that the string sound for which they are famous is indeed thriving.  From Haydn to Dvorak to more contemporary offerings, the finesse of the playing (without the aid or hinderance of a conductor) was a truly artistic experience."                                                                                                      - Westfalenpost (Germany)

"Both evenings of the return of the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra provided very different programs than their previous appearances.  The Mozart Divertimenti received flawless execution...their Rossini would rival that to be heard anywhere in our country.  We hope that we must not wait another five long years for the next return."

                                                                                    - Il Tempo (Italy)

"The precision and artistry of the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra are a wonder to behold.  Not only is each note perfect, each phrase is a study in musicality.  And, the musicality is very distinctly Czech and not a copy of the current prescribed method of performing a particular work."                                                                          - Journal de Geneve (Switzerland)

"TANTALIZING INTIMACY [Headline]  This week, two [similar] ensembles performed here.  The two programs were prepared in diametrically different ways, but the intimacy and finesse of the playing of both ensembles was ample testimony to the value of the exercise...

The Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, founded in 1977, performed 16 concerts over 22 days in Japan.  Composed of members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the ensemble was making its fourth appearance here.  The program included a number of melodic chestnuts.  A case in point was the opening work, the slow movement from Bach's Third Suite for orchestra, marked Air, commonly referred to as the "Air on a G String."  It was far from a casual rendition, and the delicacy of bow strokes and sensitivity of the ensemble were transfixing.  Pachelbel's beloved Canon was interpreted with judicious subtlety.  The contrapuntal mix was made to sound not only beautifully expressive but also beautifully balanced.
                                                                                    - R. Ryker, Japan Times, 09/30/1996

 

“An early Beethoven Symphony and a late Mozart piano concerto were featured as the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra presented an impressive concert.  The [orchestra], led by concertmaster and artistic director Pavel Prantl, was in excellent form all evening.

The concert began with the so-called “Hippochondria Overture” by 18th century Czech composer Zelenka. The ensemble produced a sound of substantial resonance that maintained intensity even at the lowest dynamic levels.

Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major, composed in 1786, featured the young Welsh pianist Richard Ormrod in the solo role. The first movement was all genteel elegance, and Ormrod negotiated his part with clarity and evenness of tone. Ormrod’s hands fairly floated above the passagework, rendering it with a graceful fluidity that would be difficult to surpass.  The slow movement was impressive. The conductorless orchestra captured the expressive melancholy perfectly, caressing the passing dissonances affectionately before surrendering them reluctantly to the next phrase. It is hard to imagine a more sensitive treatment of this movement, by soloist or orchestra, with or without a conductor.

As successful as the Mozart concerto was, the performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 may well have been the highlight of the evening. The ensemble’s crisp, neatly accented phrases and careful use of dynamics kept the work lively.  The finale was delightfully coquettish and invigorating.  An enthusiastic audience demanded an encore, and the orchestra obliged with a zestful performance of Mozart’s overture to “The Marriage of Figaro.” 

- Green Bay Press Gazette (02/23/2001)

 

“The CPCO winds up its mini-circuit of New Mexico tonight in Popejoy Hall. If you like your music intimate, animated and impeccable, don’t miss it.

 To borrow from one of their country’s outstanding writers, they play with an unbeatable lightness of bowing. Lightness of spirit, radiance – these are the qualities this extraordinary ensemble projected in Sunday afternoon’s program for the Los Alamos Concert Association.

 Their playing is distinguished by something far beyond their dazzling technical ability and faultless unity, which seem taken for granted. There is a quality of the heart, one might even say the soul, that binds the group. They aim deeper than the adrenaline-high favored by many performers these days. As natural as breathing, Sunday’s performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony flowed with an easy restrained grace that at the same time had sinew and depth.”
                                                                                    - Albuquerque Journal (10/19/1999)

 

“The lightheartedness and relative delicacy of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony make it an appropriate vehicle for performance by a chamber orchestra. The last two movements in particular were played with a precision and briskness impossible to achieve with a full-sized symphony. The Finale allowed the winds to display perfect unity at a death-defying tempo.”

                                                                                    - Los Alamos Monitor (10/20/1999)

 


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