Czech Philharmonic perform benefit concert live from Prague

Czech Philharmonic perform benefit concert live from Prague

Conductor Jakub Hrůša / credit: Petra Hajska

Internationally renowned orchestra perform in solidarity with freelance musicians and to raise money for elderly people in the Czech Republic

Classical concerts as we know and love them are not looking like they'll be making a return to the cultural calendar any time soon. In the meantime, online music content is experiencing exponential growth with quality inevitably being variable. At the higher end of the classical offering, orchestras with a national profile are finding new international audiences, with one to look out for this weekend being the Czech Philharmonic's second COVID-19 benefit concert.

Live streaming on Facebook from 7pm on Saturday 25 April, this intrepid group take to the stage of the Rudolfinum in Prague in a performance coming to a screen near you courtesy of Czech TV. String and horn players from the orchestra join with freelance colleagues to perform a programme of music by Vivaldi, Bach, Dvořák and Saint-Saëns, with the French horn ensemble donning specially designed face masks for Hassler and an arrangement of Bruckner's Tota pulchra es Maria for 11 horns. The mask is a Czech invention for soloist Radek Baborák. The mouthpiece of the instrument goes inside it and the player then zips it up, additional protection being offered by a cloth filter inside the horn itself.

Strict social distancing rules are observed, with strings on the stage and horns placed above the stage in the organ loft. Even the hall's grand piano meets with disinfectant in a way never before envisaged. In putting on this event, the Czech Phil is both raising the profile of freelance musicians who are unable to work during the pandemic, as well as raising funds for fellow Czech citizens who are elderly and at risk by donating any funds raised to the charity ŽIVOT 90, zivot meaning life. And if you enjoy this concert, look out for another planned for the end of May.

Helping with the Czech Philharmonic II, Sat 25 April, 7pm, facebook.com/ceskafilharmonie.

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