25th year: Heart / Sanctuary
The five-year series of Easter festivals of sacred music, which has taken as its theme movement and pilgrimage, concludes in the 25th anniversary year of the festival with a return to the innermost life. This year the festival will be characterised by the motives of: labyrinth, search for the lost sheep, and return. Referencing the symbolism of heart and sanctuary, the festival will mainly feature works linked with the Czech lands. The opening concert by Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava conducted by Heiko Matthias Föster is devoted to rarely heard works by Miloslav Kabeláč (the Seventh symphony featuring reciter Vladimír Javorský), Luboš Fišer and Jan Hanuš (the fascinating song cycle Wooden Christ). Over three evenings as part of the festival’s Tenebrae, the lamentations and responsories by Jan Dismas Zelenka will be performed for the first time in their entirety. Highlights of the festival include a performance by the French all-female ensemble Discantus, interweaving medieval Easter repertoires from France and the Czech lands, in the unique venue of the basilica in Staré Brno. The concluding concert will feature two extraordinary works by Czech composers: Josef Bohuslav Foerster’s almost-Mahlerian Fourth Symphony in C minor “Easter” and Antonín Dvořák’s Te Deum laudamus.