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Ivo Kahánek Articles

Pianist Ivo Kahánek is setting off on a tour with the renowned Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Ivo Kahánek and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Ivo Kahánek and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra will play the Concerto for two string orchestras, piano and timpani, H 271 by Bohuslav Martinů on 23 November in Dortmund, on 24 November in Essen and on 25 November in Cologne under the direction of the Colombian-Austrian conductor, Andrée Orozco-Estrady.

“The Berliner Philharmoniker are often cited as the number one symphony in the world and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra could surely occupy the same place amongst the world elite in chamber music,” says Ivo Kahánek, having the benefit of comparison with orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Czech Philharmonic, or the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which all have performed Bohuslav Martinů’s music with him.

This time he will present himself in the Concerto for two string orchestras, piano and timpani only a few weeks after he had performed the same piece at the concert commemorating 100 years of the existence of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic under Semyon Bychkov. Bohuslav Martinů was composing the work in a most perilous time for the Republic, and it can be heard in its engrossing drama and emotion. Martinů finished the sketch of the last movement on 29 September 1938, the fatal day the Munich Treaty was signed.

“The piece was chosen entirely based on the programme of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. I believe that the main reason for choosing the Double Concerto was simply the musical quality and the sheer force of the expression of the piece itself – after all, Martinů himself had allegedly stated that it was the best piece he had ever written,” Kahánek notes.

The pianist is very much looking forward to his cooperation with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra: “It is one of the ensembles which are able to pair perfection in playing together with enormous energy and passion. What is more, they consummately fulfil the idea of “chamber music in more people”, a principle similar to that which Claudio Abbado, among others, coined with the Berliner Philharmoniker,” Ivo Kahánek explains. After all, it was Claudio Abbado who initiated the creation of the orchestra and by doing so furthered the existence of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. There are currently 45 members from 20 different countries in the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The conductor, Danielle Gatti, is its main artistic consultant.