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Our 2011 Themes
The themes underlying our 2011 Programme have been inspired by the anniversaries, this year, of two very different pianist/composers - the Hungarian Franz Liszt (born 1811) and the Australian/British Percy Grainger (d. 1961).
Both were known for their extraordinary piano techniques - and we will be hearing some spectacular performances from Jonathan Powell and Tomasz Kamieniak which will leave us in in doubt about that - but both of them were also deeply inspired by folk music, Liszt by that of Central Europe and Grainger by that of the British Isles and Scandiavia.
Slovakia too is a land with a rich folk music tradition, compounded by the many groups who have lived here - Slovaks, Hungarians, Germans, Ruthenians, Jews and Roma to name but a few. The Levoca Codex, compiled in the16th century, is a treasury of folk, church and domestic melodies.
At the Levoca Festival we have made a point of presenting programmes which whilst rooted in the 19th century romantic repertoire, give an opportunity of experiencing different genres, perhaps unexpected ones, which can also charm, intrigue and even inspire.
So the 2011 Festival will give us a chance to contrast and compare folk music and art music from across Europe, with two unusual concerts which particularly encapsulate this theme: the concert by the Levoca ZUS choir which will include works by Grainger amongst Slovak works ranging from mediaeval times to the present day; and the imaginative Dwr Taith/WaterJourney Project, a project supported by the Arts Council of Wales which brings together Slovak and Welsh folk musics and instruments, with specially composed works by local composer Norbert Bodnar, the Italian Marco Berlinguer and the English pianist Mark Latimer, whose improvised-based work with the Slovak cellist Jozef Luptak can use Jozef's own deep experience of Slovak music and of Roma music in particular. (They will also perform Schubert's 'Arpeggione' Sonata, itself full of folk elements).
We hope our programme - in which in different concerts will be heard folk music inspirations, from the composers of three centuries, from almost all over Europe (including France, Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Bohemia, and even Luxembourg!) - will bring audiences to acknowledge the wonderful freedom of boundaries in music, which allows true inspiration to flow in so many differing manners. Alongside the names of the great composers you may find many names which are new to you - but at Levoca, all the music is great!
We are very proud that it has once again been possible to bring to Levoca some of the greatest musicians in Europe to perform for us. The return visits of the Vienna Piano Trio, the Zemlinsky Quartet ,the Slovak Sinfonietta (this year under the baton of Oliver von Dohnanyi) and the soprano Klara Kolonits will help to ensure that, once again, we will have a truly memorable Indian Summer in Levoca.