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Royal Festival Hall, London A programme marking the centenary of Czechoslovakia’s foundation elicited profound moments, and revealing pieces by composers lost to the Holocaust Vladimir Jurowski’s all-Czech programme with the LPO, devised to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia as an independent country, contained only one established repertory piece, Janáček’s Sinfonietta. Jurowski’s spacious, wonderfully secure performance of it provided a suitably brassy conclusion to what was after all, a celebration. But what had come before it – scores by Gideon Klein, Erwin Schulhoff and Bohuslav Martinů – was anything but familiar. Taken together in such exemplary Jurowski performances, the three works offered a revealing cross-section of Czech music before and during the second world war. All of them took neoclassicism, the prevailing European doctrine of the inter-war years, as their starting point, though Klein had no chance to reach maturity as a composer; he was only 25 when he was killed early in 1945 after being sent to Auschwitz. His Partita for strings, an arrangement by Vojtěch Saudek of a string trio composed in the Terezin concentration camp in 1944, uses Moravian folk tunes, and the result sounds rather like some of Bartók’s folk transcriptions, or perhaps his string divertimento. Continue reading...