Brad Mehldau and PRSO: Cancelled - We are looking for a new date
On Sunday 1 May, PRSO has prepared an attractive concert at the Rudolfinum. Only Brad Mehldau, one of the most inspiring jazz pianists of the present day, can take hold of standards or songs by the Beatles and even Radiohead and play them as if they were his own.
we are sorry, we are forced to cancel the concert on the scheduled date on 1st May. Brad Mehldau is interrupting his concert activity for some time due to health reasons.
With his agency we are currently looking for a new date in 2023, purchased tickets remain valid. We will keep you informed of further developments.
Thank you for your understanding
Ludwig van Beethoven, one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s equally famous successors, is believed to have once said of him: “Nicht Bach, sondern Meer sollte er heissen.” Translated, this pun tells us that Bach – meaning a stream in German – is too modest a name for such a giant: he should really have been called “Meer” – the sea. There is definitely something to it. In truth, the sea of Bachian inspiration continues to appeal to professional musicians and ordinary music lovers to this day. The new project of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra will present various arrangements of Bach’s works created by the greatest composers of the twentieth century and a thematic improvisation by one of the most remarkable jazz pianists of today, who will also be the soloist of his own Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Clark Rundell, known primarily as a sought-after interpreter of major orchestral works created by contemporary composers, will appear before the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra as the conductor. In the past, he has conducted world premieres of works by Steve Reich, Mark-Anthony Turnage, James MacMillan, Sir Richard Rodney and others. He has collaborated with Louis Andriessen on the operas Rosa’s Horses and Writing to Vermeer, and as a conductor and arranger, he has participated in concert programmes of Elvis Costello, Cleo Laine and a long list of other artists of many genres. In Prague, this musical renaissance man will present four works by Johann Sebastian Bach in arrangements by Igor Stravinsky, Charles Coleman, Anton Webern and Clark Rundell.
All this will be framed by two performances of the aforementioned jazz star. The Czech audience undoubtedly needs no lengthy introduction to pianist Brad Mehldau. This versatile musician can play standards or songs by the Beatles or Radiohead as if they were his own compositions, and he has a similarly distinctive approach to classical music, which has inspired him since the beginning of his career. He recently released the album After Bach, in which he recorded four preludes and a fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier. Each of the compositions is followed by Mehldau’s own variations on the themes just heard. The recording opens with Before Bach: Benediction and closes with the impressive Prayer for Healing. Publicist Timo Andres wrote in the booklet of Mehldau’s album: “As a professional organist, Bach incorporated much of his experience of a competent improviser into his music. During his lifetime it was the virtuosity and complexity of his improvisations for which he was most admired... Some three centuries after the fact, Brad Mehldau takes up this tradition and applies it to his own tribute to Bach’s art. After Bach surveys shared ground of the works of various keyboardists, improvisers, and composers, making the implicit parallels between his and Bach’s works explicit.” In Prague, Mehldau will present a compendium of this project under the title Improvisation on Themes by Johann Sebastian Bach.
In the second half of the evening, accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Clark Rundell, he will play the Czech premiere of his own Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, which has already been performed in the most prestigious halls around the world, such as the Philharmonie de Paris or the Barbican in London. The work was performed with the same conductor and the author playing the piano here and both received a frenetic standing ovation when the last tones died away. According to the critics, it was a “seductive and attractive composition”, which, over the course of thirty-five minutes, took the listener into an elaborately created sound world in which one could hear the composer’s fondness for the works of Maurice Ravel, John Adams or Hollywood film music.
“It’s easy to play any musical instrument,” said Johann Sebastian Bach himself. “All you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.” But as a deeply religious man, he also added: “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” The programme by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Clark Rundell and Brad Mehldau promises to pay tribute to the author of these words in a way that listeners will rightly remember for a long time.
improvisation on themes from Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach/Igor Stravinsky
Prelude and Fugue No. 10 in E minor BWV 855
Johann Sebastian Bach/Charles Coleman
Prelude in B minor
Johann Sebastian Bach/Anton Webern
Fuga (2nd Ricercata) from The Musical Offering BWV 1079
Johann Sebastian Bach/Clark Rundell
Contrapunctus XIX from The Art of the Fugue BWV 1080
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Czech premiere
Brad Mehldau – piano
Clark Rundell – conductor