Lockdown Listening with Jakub Hrůša
Perhaps I am not a usual listener at all. My approach to music listening tends to be somewhat thematic. I get interested in a period of history, in a particular style, in an individual personality of a composer or a performer (or a creator, generally) and then I follow what is “out there”. Apart from that, I also love listening randomly, to what comes to me without my intention, so to speak (from outside, that is) – but, sadly, that wouldn’t create any meaningful list for Lockdown Listening.
The choice should be personal, I was told. Alas, I listened to so many things during the lockdown period, and my goodness, I cannot select just ten examples! There is no way I could do that. But I can definitely and happily describe what I think none other than a Czech musician can see as a sort of indispensable, historical contribution of my homeland to the entire world. Something weird-looking, like a textbook sample, but for me, surprisingly, true to my real life’s experience of the music. The personalisation lies in choosing the period of music which occupies my mind most of the time.
Therefore, I chose what I think are the ten most important Czech composers after the birth of the Czech national realisation: and it covers about a period of 100 years (1850-1950). All of these personalities are extremely close to my heart, I have conducted their music repeatedly, and will do many times again, I hope. Czech music remains still the minority of my broad repertoire of interests, but nonetheless significant in its importance. I also hope this list will be so specific to the eyes and ears of a British listener that it might spark some interest; in the individual works as well as the composers themselves. Well, let’s see.