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Love’s pleasure and sorrow

With its seventh and final concert of the 2022 Concert Season, the Lieder Company will pay tribute to the masters of classicism and early romanticism on Sunday 11 December. The programme of this very intimate concert will include songs and canzonettas by Franz Joseph Haydn, Jiří Antonín Benda and Jan Ladislav Dusík. As in the case of the previous concerts, this programme is intended as a commemoration of their anniversaries this year. The performance of these songs in the style of a hammerklavier in the Respirium of the Liechtenstein Palace on Lesser Town Square can undoubtedly be considered exceptional. in Prague.  

The Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) had been composing songs since his youth, and although it is quite extensive, it is one of the lesser-known parts of his oeuvre. However, the cycle VI Original Canzonettas dates from his time in London. It is a setting of several poems by the English poet Anne Hunter, whose literary salon Haydn is said to have frequented, although he himself was not fluent in English. What is all the more interesting is how he dealt with this particular language in this cycle and how impressively he set the selected poems to music. In addition to Anne Hunter’s texts, Haydn also turned to William Shakespeare’s text or to an English translation of a poem by Pietro Metastasio, the famous Italian opera librettist (whose own name was Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi).

The little-known song output of Jiří Antonín Benda (1722 – 1795) is special because it is literally scattered in his collections Sammlung vermischter Clavier- und Gesangstücke (Collection of mixed piano and vocal pieces), Rondeaux und Lieder (Rondeaux and songs) or in contemporary collections of songs by various authors. Unfortunately, the authors of the lyrics are not mentioned in them. What is evident in the songs, however, is Benda’s feeling for vocal expression and the mood of the lyrics. This was undoubtedly also due to his melodramas, for which he became particularly famous.

The last mentioned author devoted very little time to songwriting. The cycle Sei canzonette by Jan Ladislav Dusík (1760 – 1812) is essentially the only surviving work of its kind and reflects Dusík’s flair for setting a piano part, in which, however, he placed considerable demands on the player. It may be interesting to note that, due to the lack of an indication of the author of the texts, it is not clear in what language Dusík actually composed the songs. In fact, they appear in at least two versions (English, Italian and German) in all releases. For our concert, we chose the Italian version, which corresponds with the commonly quoted title of the cycle.

The concert will be performed by two respected specialists in the field of historically informed interpretation: soprano Irena Troupová and pianist Petra Matějová. 

The concert will take place on Sunday 11th December at 6 pm in the Respirium of the Lichtenstein Palace, Malostranské nám. 13, Prague 1.