ANTONIN Dvorak is considered the greatest of the Czech nationalist composers of the 19th century, and his works continue to enjoy wide international popularity.
Dvorak was successful in bringing together music that derived from folk origens with the classical traditions which were being continued in Central Europe by Johannes Brahms. This year marks the centenary of Dvorak’s death, and Costa Rica’s National Symphony has programmed several of his compositions for this season.
Chosei Komatsu, the musical director, selected the A Minor Violin Concerto for last weekend’s opening concerts at the National Theater. Misha Keylin, a Russian violinist now based in the United States, has previously played here; he was vociferously applauded for his virtuosity in the final allegro movement with its complicated contrasting episodes. He obliged the audience with an encore – a Capriccio by Wieniawsky.
The program opened with Eddie Mora’s Cantata for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra, a short six-part composition written in 1998 to commemmorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Federico García Lorca. Several of the poet’s poems for children provide the texts, which were sung by soprano Marianela Rojas.
MORA, a Costa Rican composer, had one of his works presented last season by the orchestra and Komatsu, and it was a pleasant surprise to hear another of his pieces instead of the Verdi overture, which was initially pencilled in for the season’s opener.
The familiar Brahms First Symphony was the final offering, and the capacity audience gave a standing ovation to the orchestra.
The rapport and affection of the orchestra and its musical director were evident to the enthusiastic listeners throughout the concert.
Komatsu will conduct half of this year’s series of 12 concerts; his next appearances are scheduled for March 19 and 21.
THE current season runs through November, with a break in August when the National Lyric Company takes the stage for eight repetitions of Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Baritone Guido LeBron sings the title role, and tenor Scott Piper returns as the Duke of Mantua. Both were acclaimed in last season’s Carmen, and details of the upcoming opera will be available shortly.