Live recordings


Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Jiří Bělohlávek

Rudolf Firkušný - piano

live on 14th May 1992, Rudolfinum, Prague

Antonín Dvořák: Piano Concerto in G minor, Op. 33

Dvořák´s Piano Concerto was written in 1876. As opposed to the then prevailing ideas of virtuosity, Dvořák wrote a relatively modest piano part, concentrating on its musical content. The first movement sounds both heroic and contemplative, the second testifies to Dvořák´s sense of musical poetry and the third sounds impassioned as well as dance-like. The work´s value soon proved itself, leading to performances by the world´s top pianists, Rudolf Firkušný among them.

Rudolf Firkušný (1912-1994) studied piano playing in Brno and Prague. As a young boy he was also a pupil of Leoš Janáček who taught little Rudolf the basics of music theory and composition from 1919 on. Firkušný then studied composition with Rudolf Karel, Josef Suk and Artur Schnabel. He first performed in Prague at the age of eight, three years later he was introduced in Vienna. Performances in the great cities of Germany, France, Italy, Poland, England and Belgium soon followed. In 1938 he played in New York. In 1933, supported by the president of the Czechoslovak Republic T.G.Masaryk, the young artist went to Paris. There Firkušný met many outstanding Czech artists, such as the composer Bohuslav Martinů, the painter Jan Zrzavý and the writer Jiří Mucha. When Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Nazis and the second world war broke out, Firkušný fled to Paris, moving through Marseille and Lisbon and later on to New York in 1940. The conductor Sir Thomas Beecham invited him to play Dvořák´s Piano Concerto in Chicago in 1941. It was a great triumph and the start of an outstanding career for Firkušný in the USA, Canada and South America. Later, after the war, he was invited to the most prestigious festivals – Edinburgh, Luzern, Salzburg, Athens and Bergen. After the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia Firkušný was able to return to his native country where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Charles University in 1990. In 1991 President Václav Havel decorated him with the Order of T.G.Masaryk. Firkušný´s repertoire was always broad, including contemporary compositions. He was an ardent promoter of Czech music, especially that of Dvořák, Janáček and Martinů. He ranked among the most important piano players of his time.

play video sampleplay video sample (Antonín Dvořák: Piano Concerto in G minor, Bělohlávek, Firkušný)

director: Adam Rezek
time: 40 min.