Merta / Lewitowa
Strauss Warschauer Duo
While in Germany the debate
regarding the "predominating culture" (Leitkultur) is heating up and
the Christian "Abendlandpartei" mottos of people and nation are
spread, Prague mayor Jan Kasl expresses his yearning for a
cosmopolitan and multicultural city.
The "devet bran-festival"
could be a step in this direction. The Jewish culture has a long
tradition in Prague, which however was almost extinguished during
the Shoah and the communist period. The gala concert in the House of
Representatives (Obecni Dum) was an impressive demonstration of that
which once was and could be again.
On this special evening
twelve groups gave guest appearances during the course of the Prague
Festival, through which there was a piquant mixture of all sorts of
Jewish music. From sephardic songs by Jana Lewitowa (accompanied by
Vladimir Merta), to happy Klezmer music of "Naye Kapelye aus Ungarn"
to the virtuoso performance of the Strauss Warsaw Duos. Some
surpassed themselves, like the Krakow group "Kroke", who became
enthusiastic with a spontaneous drum improvisation on the back of a
This could not be the last of
the wonderful atmosphere of the concert hall. The House of
Representatives built, between 1905 and 1912 on the site where until
this date the royal palace had stood, is a gem of art nouveau style.
The Smetanasaal, in which the classical concerts and balls take
place, is richly painted with ceiling frescos painted by turn of the
century Czech artists. In the mayor’s room, which was fashioned by
Alfons Mucha, a reception subsequently took place.
Along with the Prague mayor
and the Austrian ambassador the mayor of the partner city,
Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, gave his greetings to the visitors of the
festival. Olmert was also very impressed by the demonstrated wide
variety of Jewish music.
The evening ended with a
combined appearance of all the artists and finally with the melody
from Schindler’s List, played by Pavel Sporcl, the most expressive
musician of the present Czech violinists.