|Who||Collegium 1704 (Czech Republic)
Collegium Vocale 1704
Václav Luks, conductor
|Where||Garden Palace Liechtenstein, Vienna|
Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741) Laetatus sum RV 827 · Laudate pueri RV 600 · Dixit dominus RV 595 Johann Melchior Pichler (1695–1776) Concertino in G major
“Three in one”, this is how we can – with a slight hyperbole – call the prologue of the 2021 festival. It connects the jewel of Viennese Baroque architecture – Liechtenstein Garden Palace in Vienna, hiding one of the largest and most valuable private art collections in the world; fantastic ensembles Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 with the charismatic conductor Václav Luks, who led his “children” to the famous Salzburg Festival or to the nomination for the CD of the Year by Gramophone magazine; and the contemporary premiere experience of the work of the Austrian composer from the 18th century Johann Melchior Pichler. Regarding the work of Antonio Vivaldi, the programme consists of the Austrian premiere of Laetatus sum for choir, strings and basso continuo in C major RV 827 and Laudate pueri Dominum in C minor RV 600 as well as beautiful Dixit Dominus in D major RV 595, which last copy of the score in the world is stored in the archive of Knights of the Cross with the Red Star in Prague. In short, an amazing combination of the beautiful venue with uplifting vocal-instrumental music in a completely exceptional performance.
The founder and artistic director of Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 initially studied French horn at the Conservatory in Pilsen and harpsichord at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He completed his ever-growing interest in early music by studying at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland in the field of historical keyboard instruments and historical practice, followed by many years in the top ensemble Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin as a solo horn player. In addition to his two “home” ensembles, he collaborates with other top ensembles such as Camerata Salzburg, La Cetra Barockorchester Basel, Dresdner Kammerchor or Ensemble Pygmalion, with which he performed Purcell’s opera Dido et Aeneas at d’Aix-en-Provence festival. He conducted Orchester national de France as part of a benefit concert for the restoration of Notre Dame in Paris. He collaborates with radio stations Radio France, Deutschlandradio Berlin, ÖRF and Swiss station DRS. He records both solo and with the orchestra for the music publishers ACCENT, Supraphon and Zig-Zag Territoires.
The never-absenting energy and enthusiasm of music – the qualities that have made Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 one of the most respected and admired European ensembles in fifteen years. Both ensembles were established in 2005 on the occasion of the Bach – Prague – 2005 project to gradually become the cornerstone of the European concert stages, including prestigious addresses such as Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Wigmore Hall in London, Berliner Philharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, Theater an der Wien or BOZAR in Brussels. Since 2015, they have been guests at the Salzburg Festival four times, where they attracted extraordinary attention with the performance of Heinrich Ignaz Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis in 2016. Besides Salzburg, they have also performed at the prestigious Festival in Lucerne, Chopin Festival in Warsaw, Oude Muziek in Utrecht and Bachfest in Leipzig. Although Collegium 1704 collaborated with soloists such as Magdalena Kožená, Bejun Mehta, Vivica Genaux and Rolando Villazón, its strength lies mainly in connection with Collegium Vocale 1704 and in performing works by Baroque and Classicist masters in their own interpretation, which relies on the high artistic level of its members. Both ensembles are very active in the genre of opera: the performance of L’Olimpiade by Josef Mysliveček was nominated at International Opera Award 2014 and the most recent recording Les Boréades by Jean-Philippe Rameau gained the Trophées 2020 award for the best opera recording of the year. Collegium 1704 is behind the rediscovery of the work of Jan Dismas Zelenka – after all, it bears the year 1704 in its name, when Zelenka’s allegorical play Via Laureata was performed in Prague – and other great Czech composer of the 18th century Josef Mysliveček. In 2019, the ensemble were invited to collaborate on a film Il Boemo about Josef Mysliveček, directed by Petr Václav. The ensemble has extensive experience with the music of Antonio Vivaldi. In addition to many instrumental and vocal-instrumental compositions, the ensemble performed Vivaldi’s opera Arsilda, regina di Ponto, directed by David Radok, in the contemporary world premiere in 2014. The opera was co-produced by Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Opéra de Lille, Théâtre de Caen and Slovak National Theater in Bratislava.