haha fuck da m*sikal salivayshun of Chekia hazz deklared Sivuhl Wohr on de-press and randumbly slottered da unsuspekting pooblik
Here’s a translation of the review of his recital in Prague last week which triggered him. He’s cancelled his 2020 performances here.
Lukáš Vondráček is heard on Czech and Moravian stages today more often than when this thirty-three-year-old pianist was still living in the Czech Republic. He is an individual artist with extraordinary talent. So where did the miraculous child, who had entered university at thirteen, reached the age of Christ?
For a man who has the reputation of a piano crusher, it was nice that he chose a repertoire in which virtuosity does not play a primary role. If he wanted to dazzle, he would choose Liszt or Rachmaninoff. In this way he made clear that he wanted to communicate more important things.
Schumann’s Children’s Scenes, a cycle of graceful and tender miniatures that combine naivety with seriousness, is an interpretative nut. They can sound convincing under the hands of children, but also returning to the seasoned performers to grasp that “childhood” again with the perspective and experience of an adult. I missed that perspective in Lukáš Vondráček’s concept. By no means do I mean that his conception is immature: it is rather that he was - indeed throughout the recital - so absorbed in detail that a sort of glass element was missing. Those details have been overwhelmed - Vondráček is able to dig into the score and deliver impressive moments. Somewhere it overflows and the whole sounds uneven or unnecessarily eccentric: there is a fluctuating rhythm, deliberate disagreement with hands, occasionally exaggerated pace or provocative accent. The melody suddenly “dies” at the point where it should peak, and so on.
I do not suspect this pianist that he wants to be original at all costs or that he is not humble towards the author. He is original, which is currently valuable. Just listening to him wasn’t really clear what he wanted to say and what - if any - he wanted to arouse.
Smetana’s Czech dances (Cibulička, Hulán and Skočná) were performed with style and style. Again, however, they were fragmentary to me, the music did not flow spontaneously and naturally. Perhaps this style bothered Ravel’s Sonatina. A three-movement piece full of colors and polyphony suits Vondráček’s ability to work with layers of sound.
All of the above reservations were most painful in Schubert’s Sonata in B flat Major, which filled the entire second half of the evening. It is not impossible to play the author’s latest work for the piano so that the forty minutes pass as a whole. Recently, for example, Marc-André Hamelin (we reviewed it HERE). Here we watched a long struggle of an artist with a score into which he obviously put all his strengths and emotions, but without much emotional impact on the listener, without knowing where he was heading and what kind of contours he wanted to imprint. If we help ourselves with a metaphor, this time Lukáš Vondráček stayed one step in front of the door, behind which there is the Art with Big A. But it was enough to add a pinch of distance, not to be absorbed in a moment, to come after that painful analysis with synthesis.
Although Lukáš Vondráček has played more notes than anyone at his age, he has a long journey of maturation as an (not only artistic) personality. I have no doubt that he will still enjoy unforgettable performance.
And here’s his response:
Dear Music Friends,
As you all know, I have devoted myself to music since my childhood and I have dedicated my life to it. I believe in its power and ability to connect and inspire people. At the same time, I know that the music journey is a lifetime and I still have a lot to learn.
I have always been a proud Czech who performed with humility and gratitude on Prague stages and represented the culture of our small country abroad. I am very concerned about the conditions prevailing in the Czech musical environment. This environment is, in my opinion, often disrespectful and in many ways completely self-centered and unprofessional. Sadly, a country with such a rich musical tradition as the Czech Republic cannot support high-quality musicians with original musical thinking.
I would like to comment here on the long-term alarming level of Czech (Prague) music journalism. I find it tasteless and unprofessional for reviews to be published by people who are students, at best, graduates of regional conservatoires. Where does such a reviewer take the erudition and authority to bring (often absolute) judgments over world-class players? Why do the authors of these reviews take on the role of those who understand music better than we, the performers? Why does the editor delete “uncomfortable” reader comments that do not match those of these reviewers? Every musician knows that sometimes criticism will be praise, sometimes negative. But how can I take such criticisms (including positive ones) seriously? I will help myself by comparing myself from the world of mountaineering. How is it possible that someone who barely conquered Snezka advises an experienced conqueror of the Himalayan 8000s how to use cats and ice axes?
I will quote from my critic Dita Hradecká for my recital at the Dvořák Hall of Prague Rudolfinum in December 2019: “In a man who has the reputation of a piano crusher”, “we watched a long struggle of an artist with a score” than anyone in his age, he has a long journey of maturation as a (not only artistic) personality ”.
I ask, what right does the reviewer evaluate the maturity of my personality? I am on the stage as a musician, opinions on the maturation of my human personality are quite inappropriate, the author does not know me personally. Would I really be invited to the world’s best ensembles if I had the “reputation of a piano shredder”? Why is the unconventional interpretation that I have come up with for many years to be called “a long struggle with a score”? Does the reviewer know the recipe for a perfect interpretation, has her opinions sanctified by a composer who is 191 years after his death? Where does her conviction that the other audience in the hall along with her “watched a long struggle of an artist with a score into which he obviously put all his powers and emotions, but without much emotional impact on them”?
In another review by Jan Průš, who according to the website klasikaplus.cz is “a graduate of political science and a theology student, a traveler officially active in the international business environment”, I read, for example, that “I am at the very edge of the disintegration of the game”. Such statements seem completely absurd to me (especially from a non-pianist and occasional music journalist), lacking respect. (the review was published last November, red.)
In the dressing room of the Rudolfinum I was forbidden to play before the mentioned recital, apparently my play would interfere with a concert running in the adjacent Suk Hall. I have never seen such a bizarre ban anywhere else in the world, and I dare say that I had plenty of possibilities.
Much has been written about my victory in the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels. The history of this competition began in 1937 and its winners include Emil Gilels, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leon Fleisher and David Oistrakh. The fame of the Brussels competition is world-wide and in my opinion its winners deserve recognition and respect. No other Czech has ever won a similarly prestigious piano competition in history.
I would also like to add that I have been confirming my quality for many years on major world stages such as Carnegie Hall (New York), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Opera (Sydney), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow), Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall (London), Philharmonie (Berlin) etc. I did not get to these stages by luck, but thanks to the hard work supported by talent.
When was the last time that Czech music education generated a truly world-class instrumentalist and reputation? When was the last time Prague funded the construction of a new world-class concert hall?
In the current season 2019/2020 I perform on five continents, both in recitals and with the world’s best orchestras. For example, I would mention the London Symphony Orchestra or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Unfortunately, at this moment, I cannot imagine that I would appear again in front of the Prague audience soon. I have been critical of the situation on the Czech music scene for a long time and the aforementioned incorrect reviews have become the imaginary last straw to reluctantly return to the Prague stages. I am forced to cancel my performances at the Municipal House Smetana Hall in January 2020 and other concerts by the end of the current season.
I apologize to all the sweet listeners who listened to me and listened with open mind and heart. The Czech (and especially Prague) music scene has no choice but to wish important people to become capable people who love music more than their own benefit, ego and career.
Sincerely, Lukáš Vondráček