Reviews / Selected Reviews

Excerpts from British Reviews of Janáček’s Jenůfa 
(London, Southbank Centre, April 18, 2016)

‘The impact of a dozen Czech soloists—and the non-Czech but stunningly powerful Karita Mattila—hurling out Janácek’s first great opera, accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic and the outstandingly vibrant Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, had me reeling all the way home after this concert performance.’ (Richard Morrison, The Times) ‘Rarely do you hear so much tenderness in the exchanges between Jenůfa and Kostelnička, or so much jubilation in the choral climaxes, revealing the formidable force of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno.’ (Hannah Nepil, The Financial Times) ‘Lending wings to these personal dramas was a feeling of age-old community, and the scent and breeze of a rural setting, wonderfully conveyed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno. These ensembles are Czech in more than name. Most major-league orchestras and ensembles are completely globalised, but if you cast your eye down these lists of names every one is native, and it shows.’ (Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph) ‘Aleš Briscein’s Laca was splendid. There’s something quite glorious about Czech tenors—even those in the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno—with their bright, open sound.’ (Mark Pullinger, The Backtrack)

 

 

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Lobgesang
Pilsen, The ‘Měšťanská beseda‘ Concert Hall, March 24, 2016

The North-Bohemian Philharmonic Orchestra Teplice, The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Petr Fiala, Choirmaster), 
Charles Olivieri-Munroe, Conductor

In the second part, the cantata, a number of other musicians captivated the listeners with their flawlessly professional performance. First and foremost, the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno must be mentioned, handling the strenuous counterpointal tracts pervading the entire oeuvre of this composer with no audible difficulties, each motif coming timed to perfection. The overall compactness of its voices made a wonderful impression, as did the rhythmical precision, astonishing vocal assurance and unfaltering intonation of the choir, particularly apparent in the last movement culminating in the majestic finale, in which this undisputedly world-class ensemble arrested the audience with its massive, yet beautiful sound.
Tomáš Kuhn,  The ‘Hudební rozhledy‘ Review, May 2016

 

 

All in Black

The Power of Chance: Entrancing, Minutely Narrated Macbeth
(…)

Choir as Star of the Evening
One of the stars of the evening—and given the competition, this is saying something—was the choir. The show put up by the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, making its debut at this particular opera festival, caught us by surprise. We were forewarned, yet its homogenous sound, flexibility of voice and vocal sparkle were grandiose—and the choir members’ acting abilities quite captivating. It should not go unmentioned that this in fact is no operatic chorus: seeing it on stage, you would never guess.
(…)
Manfred F. Kubiak, July 6, 2015, Heidenheim

 

 

Terror and Consolation

October 25, 2014, Liederhalle, Stuttgart, Verdi: Requiem

The Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Marcus Bosh presented to the packed Beethoven Hall a most impressive Mass for the Dead: the Requiem of Giuseppe Verdi. The composer’s imagination, formed as it had been by the opera, reveled particularly in the sequence Dies irae. Mighty orchestral blows, explosions in the brass instruments, cascades in the strings and frenzied exclamations of the choir all exuded an atmosphere of doom. Led by Maestro Bosch, all participants contributed to what became an immediately engrossing rendition; there never was a single objectionable detail throughout the evening. At the end of the concert, the cheering audience celebrated the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choir Master Petr Fiala), as well as the quartet of soloists Melba Ramos (soprano), Renée Morloc (alto), Ho-yoon Chung (tenor), Woong-Jo Choi (bass).

Esslinger Zeitung, 28. 10. 2014

 

 

Antonín Dvořák: Requiem, Konzerthaus Dortmund, May 15, 2014

The Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer, Conductor

The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choir Master Petr Fiala) excelled. With its unusual colorfulness of timbre, this choir is able to make its music dark, stormy, consolation-seeking. It caresses like a balm and then rushes along like a foamy wild river. Dvořák’s Requiem with its late-romantic, inward-looking and even boldly naturalistic sound deserves to be once and for all removed from the list of rarely performed compositions!
Martin Schrahn, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, May 20, 2014

 

 

Missa solemnis and Helmuth Rilling

Prague, the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House, April 2, 2014

With Easter approaching, many Prague concert halls habitually tend to introduce more compositions intended for this particular time of the year. Next week the Prague Symphony Orchestra will present Dvořák’s oratorio Stabat mater, probably the most often performed of them all. But a week earlier, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis was on the program, a much rarer occurrence. And little wonder: for the orchestra players, this is a highly demanding and in fact not particularly rewarding piece, while most singers generally prefer to perform something else. It is quite rare to hear a performance—or at least a recording—where everything comes out just perfectly. For such reasons the live performance in the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, was even more appreciated. Maestro Rilling could rely on the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno with its clear sound, sure intonation and precise rhythm. The young quartet of soloists came as a nice surprise and the orchestra turned in, let us say, a calm, concentrated performance. Rilling’s was something of an honest, professorial approach, the fast tempos rather restrained—although in some of the more mystical passages, and particularly in the suggestive Agnus Dei, he might have hurried a little bit too much.
Jindřich Bálek, Opera Plus, April 6, 2014

 

 

Borodin: The Polovtsian Dances

Palace of Arts, Budapest, 26. 1. 2014

The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, Petr Fiala, Choir Master, The Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer, Conductor

The Polovtsian Dances were performed in their full splendour—with a choir. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (choirmaster: Petr Fiala) gave a world-class performance, as usual: their intense and rich sound and finely mixed vocal colours contributed to the exoticism of the musical genre piece with alternating lyrical softness and great power. Iván Fischer, as so often, experimented with placing the musicians unconventionally: the choir members stood between orchestral groups to blend vocal and instrumental parts naturally... The result was a healthy and rich blend of sounds.”

 

 

MIDNIGHT MUSIC

Borodin: The Polovtsian Dances, Millenáris Teátrum, Budapest, 26. 1. 2014

The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, Petr Fiala, Choir Master, The Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer, Conductor

...However, the real surprise came when a familiar part of Borodin’s opera (familiar to many of us, as it turned out) Prince Igor was performed. Some of the ladies sitting at the musicians’ feet, who we thought were part of the audience, sprang to their feet when the women’s choir enters and joined in the performance singing. After our surprise (tears included), men scattered among audience in the grandstand jumped to their feet as well, to complete the piece by adding the men’s choir (all from the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno). It was magnificent. In addition to the continuous applause, cheering and stomping, it was truly beautiful to see at the end of the concert people behind and in front hugging and thanking each other spontaneously for being part of such a superb experience. Anything to add? Yes. The next date is 26 April.
koncert.hu

 

 

 

The Basilica Trembled—‘Verdi’s Greatest Opera’

As a fitting culmination to the series of concerts celebrating Giuseppe Verdi, whose 200th anniversary is being commemorated this present year, the Rheingau Festival featured his Messa da Requiem. The performers, who came came mostly from the Czech Republic, presented the audience of some 1.400 at the Eberbach Cloister with an impressive and captivating experience. The Czech (and Slovak) musicians executed the great composition in a truly masterful manner. Led by the Conductor Leoš Svárovský, the instrumentalists of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the singers of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno left a very good impression indeed. /…/ During the entire performance Maestro Leoš Svárovský toyed with the unusual acoustics of the Eberbach Cloister Basilica. Utilizing a broad palette of sound variations, he fashioned a thorough musical tour de force. The instrumentalists of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the powerfully sounding Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choir Master Petr Fiala) acquitted themselves as his outstanding partners.
The Rheingau Echo, August 29, 2013

 

The Bern Music Festival Introduced Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis

On September 3 and 4, the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno performed in the Bern Cathedral at two concerts under the baton of Maestro Mario Venzago, accompanied by the Bern Symphony Orchestra. The almost 60-voice strong chorus and the consummate violin virtuoso Soyoung Yoon became the evenings’ stars. The Czechs tamed the fugue sequences in the ‘Credo’, some of the most difficult in the entire choral repertoire, seemingly without any effort, but with much lightness and unwaveringly perfect intonation.
Andreas Ruf, The Berner Zeitung, September 5, 2013

 

 

Triumph at the Festival in Litomyšl

Bravo for the Brno Philharmonic and Maestro Jakub Hrůša! Bravo for Petr Fiala and his Choir!

The Smetana Litomyšl Festival 2013, The Second Chateau Courtyard, June 16, 2012
The Brno Philharmonic, Jakub Hrůša, Conductor, The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, Petr Fiala, Choir Master
The Kantiléna—Children’s and Youth’s Choir of the Brno Philharmonic,, Jakub Klecker, Choir Master
Kateřina Kněžíková, Soprano, Richard Samek, Tenor, Vladimír Chmelo, Baritone
Sergei Rachmaninoff, Bells (poem for soli, choir and orchestra on lyrics by E. A. Poe, op. 35)
Carl Orff, Carmina burana (secular songs for soli and choir, to orchestral accompaniment)

The third evening concert of the Smetana Litomyšl Festival featured a masterfully assembled program. The first half introduced Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Bells, a magnificent poem for choir, soli and orchestra. Maestro Jakub Hrůša excelled in putting his finger exactly on the right kind of expression throughout, while the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, coached by its Choir Master Petr Fiala, proved itself a superb partner in the enterprise.
Since the 1989 revolution, Petr Fiala has done an impressive job: he ventured to unite the originally amateur women’s Amicitia and men’s Foerster choirs into a professional mixed chorus—all of a sudden, the singers were required to make music their profession! Needless to say, this led to a marked increase in the effectiveness of rehearsing: one had to work fast, to read music effortlessly. Fiala particularly excels in voice management, and his frequent claim that the crux of choir master’s task is voice management can hardly be disputed. His sopranos sound refined and controlled, while the altos abound in unified dark timbre. The men’s voices are no less well-prepared, their sound full-timbred in all-out forte just as well as in piano—it was Fiala’s choir that imbued Rachmaninoff’s poem with such a glamor.
When the impressive piece was over, the audience went literally wild with resounding applause; in fact, the artists appeared to be caught charmingly off guard. The second part of the concert brought Carl Orff’s Carmina burana, a much more familiar piece. Along with the Brno Philharmonic, Fiala’s Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno once again excelled. What the choir presented in Orff’s masterpiece only served to bring out once again its high professional standard of preparedness, conspicuous in a very homogeneous sound and wonderful dynamic dispositions, from delicate, but carrying piano all the way to broad forte, its ample harmony grounded in the basses.
After the audience’s spontaneous reaction to the Rachmaninoff piece, what followed after Carmina burana could perhaps have been expected, yet all expectations must have been exceeded by what can only be described as uproar, when the entire auditorium jumped to its feet, as if following a command. The clamorous bravos knew no end.

Jiří Fuchs, Opera Plus, June 17, 2013

 

 

March 4, 2013, Salle Pleyel, Paris, Giuseppe Verdi: Requiem

The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, Petr Fiala, Choir Master, The Orchestra National de Lille
Jean Claude Casadesus, Conductor

…The enthusiastic and splendidly motivated Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno imbued the concert with all the requisite luster. Full timbre, crisp articulation, sensational dramatic developments from intimate whisperings all the way to passionate explosions—such are the chief impressions from this wonderful presentation of Verdi’s Requiem…
The Opéra Magazine

 

An Opera Sensation at the Bruckner House

Jules Massenet: Marie-Magdeleine, The Bruckner House, Linz, Austria, March 24, 2013

…if you can’t be made to attend a morning concert by this Passion opera, whose music abounds in such sweet, Romantic, idyllic melodies, such catchy dramatisms and, at the same time, such brilliant orchestration, you really should be attracted at least by one of Europe’s eminent choral ensembles, the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, led by Petr Fiala, and one of the outstanding orchestras of our region, namely, the Brno Philharmonic. Under the baton of Leoš Svárovský both ensembles staged a stupendous performance… At the end of the concert, the audience rightfully rose from their seats and rewarded the guests from Brno with a standing ovation…
25. 3. 2013  The Oberösterreichische Nachrichten (ÖON), Michael Wruss
The ÖON Rating: ******

 

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with the Prague Philharmonia

(The Rudolfinum Concert Hall, Prague, October 21, 2012)

The Prague Philharmonia, itself a young orchestra, resolved to inaugurate its cycle of subscribers’ concerts by Dvořák’s Stabat Mater in company with the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno and a foursome of equally youthful soloists, namely, Kateřina Plachetková (soprano), Jana Wallingerová (mezzosoprano), Richard Samek (tenor), and Jozef Benci (bass). Under the baton of Maestro Jakub Hrůša, this choice proved more than symbolic: it was remarkably fortuitous. Dvořák’s famous Stabat Mater might be a staple in the repertoire of Czech orchestras, but the unfeigned enthusiasm, characteristic for musical youth and yet enhanced by the artistry of Jakub Hrůša, came through with such a resounding vigor that the evening became a true feast of interpretation.

…the opening evolution was carried on with unfailing purpose not only by the young quartet of soloists (what powerful tenor and soprano!), but also by the magnificently disposed and (by its Choir Master Petr Fiala) flawlessly prepared Brno choir excelling in full-blooded timbres. The gradation culminating on the lingering two-line A was enthralling, the initially softened and later progressively reified passage starting with the gently declaiming sopranos (‘O quam tristis…’) evoked scenes of angelic bliss, and the reiteration with its gently revealed process of decline into a subtly quieted conclusion convincingly encapsulated everything that preceded.

…the Largo in the seventh part, wholly entrusted to the choir, became nothing short of a prototype of the most simple, and yet also most subtle spiritual choral homophony, pervaded by islands of accentuated and declamatory appeals (‘Fac me tecum plangere…’). Once again, everything was minutely polished; one particularly exhilarating moment arrived with the swift decrescendo towards the augmented pianissimo exclamation at the very end.

… Jakub Hrůša built the concluding part, by which Dvořák completed the magnificent arch of his oratorio using a wide range of compositional reminiscences, as a small, distinctive composition, this once gradating all the way to an all-out celebration (the suggestive stroke in the words ‘Paradisi gloria’), in which all the constituent parts of the interpretative apparatus shone in a well-balanced proportion. The listeners did not fail to perceive they had witnessed a true feast of interpretation and rewarded the artists with a standing ovation.

Miloš Pokora, The Hudební rozhledy Review, December 2012

 

Antonín Dvořák, Stabat Mater

November 30, 2012, Poznan, Poland

…it was a great pleasure to listen to this composition as presented by the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, carefully prepared by its Choir Master Petr Fiala. The history of the Choir may be relatively short, yet the ensemble already has a number of accolades and prizes to its credit. And little wonder, it sounds simply fantastic… The Choir can hypnotize you in delicate piano as well as in dynamic forte, not to speak of its exquisite technical skills… The audience in the sold-out concert hall was not sparing with bravos. Personally, I was enthralled to the point of actually shivering… the performers all deserve a medal…

Alina Kurczevska, Radio Merkury, Poznan, Poland, December 3, 2012

 

Turin Paid Homage to Dvořák

The week belonged to the music of Antonín Dvořák. First, the Turin Music Festival introduced Dvořák’s Concerto for Violoncello in b-minor, performed by the St. Cecilia Academy, and the following two evenings were devoted to Stabat Mater, given by the RAI Torino Orchestra for the first time in thirty years. The sacred cantata Stabat Mater for soli, chorus and orchestra was performed as a part of the RAI Orchestra cycle of subscribers’ concerts. This engrossing work, composed by Dvořák in 1876, was warmly appreciated by the audience. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, lead by its Choirmaster Petr Fiala and invited by the RAI Orchestra Artistic Director Cesare Mazzoni, became a most pleasant revelation. Both concerts were conducted by the riveting Maestro Juraj Valčuha, to whom thanks are due for making this stunning composition a part of this year’s concert schedule.
Guido Novaria, January 29, 2001, La Stampa, Turin

 

Living Reconciliation through Music

Britten’s War Requiem in the Dresden Frauenkirche, October 22, 2011
...the well-prepared Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno presented the a-capella parts with an exceptionally tender sound and carrying timbre. This elite choir sings with a characteristically perfect declamation, flawless intonation and voices flowing in grand lines and curves…
Alexander Keuk, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, October 24, 2011

 

A Choral Mediation at the Sts. Johns

The Tuesday concert of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno finally displayed the level of interpretation one would like to call festival-worthy. It is to be hoped that from now on the Brno Easter Festival will remain an event of not only social, but also artistic glamour.
Although the concert program hardly testified to any great deal of dramaturgic courage, the performance was high-quality indeed. In spite of the temporal distance separating individual compositions, in their spiritual and—particularly—musical content they all chimed in with each other. In the first part of the evening, devoted to masters of Renaissance polyphony, the Choir impressed especially through restrained dynamics and clarity of sound. The climax arrived with Allegri’s famous Miserere mei Deus, which fully and successfully tested also the soloist abilities of several choir members. The simple melody was executed admirably, as were the ornamental ‘comments’. The motets of Anton Bruckner combine early techniques of composition with the author’s new-Romantic manner of deliberation. Quite in style the Choir added somewhat in vocal sparkle as well as dynamics, and in the concluding sequence Libera me, Domine the organ joined in. The last composition, the O sacrum convivium by Olivier Messiaen, whose demanding harmonies the Choir handled exquisitely, came across as an impressive coda underlying the meditative character of the entire concert. To my mind, concerts whose atmosphere tends rather to silent reflection can do without an encore quite well, but if there had to be one, repeating Bruckner’s motet Locus iste was probably as reasonable a choice as any.
In the Night of Lamentation and Tears. Jacobus Gallus: Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae, Miserere mei Deus (Psalm 51); Gregorio Allegri: Miserere mei Deus; Anton Bruckner: Sacred Motets (Vexilla regis, Locus iste, Pange lingua, Os justi, Christus factus est, Libera me, Domine); Olivier Messiaen: O sacrum convivium
Alexandra Polarczyk – soprano, Petra Hamerníková – soprano, Zdeněk Nečas – tenor, Jiří Černý – baritone, Miroslav Urbánek – bass, Martin Jakubíček – organ. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, Peter Fiala – conductor. 
The Church of Sts. Johns, April 19, 2011. A concert of the Brno Easter Festival of Sacred Music.
Boris Klapal, Diary of One Who Disappeared, (http://zapisnik.borisklepal.cz), April 20, 2011

 


Roses for the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno

Brno, Janáček Theater, November 12, 2010

The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno has just celebrated its twentieth birthday. When the Choir Master Petr Fiala founded the Choir back in the early 1990s, hardly anyone would believe such an ensemble could possibly survive with no regular supply of either government or regional grants. Yet much adversity has been overcome and today the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno belongs to elite professional ensembles performing all around the world.
The evening’s centerpiece was the Requiem, Op. 89 by Antonín Dvořák. This intense, meditative and monumental composition presents all the musicians involved with high demands, technical as well as interpretive. Kudos are due to all participants, whose performance under the baton of Petr Fiala was truly excellent. The solo parts were sung by Simona Houda Šaturová, whose soprano sounded like an angelic messenger’s and achieved highest intensity in her carrying silvery pianos, and Jana Sýkorová, whose alto is becoming even more colorful and carrying, as well as Tomáš Černý, a consummate master of clear, firm and resonant tenor, gloriously meshing with the pleasant bass of Peter Mikuláš. All the solo voices were wonderfully balanced and equally contributed to a agreeably compact sound effect.
The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno sang full-strength, exhibiting total dedication, meticulous enunciation and refined, balanced voice groups. The conductor Petr Fiala led both the choir and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra with admirable precision and a wonderful sense of contrast, gradations and curvature of the individual phrases. Each part came like a precious stone, polished with an utmost care and making for a grand rendition of a profoundly spiritual composition. The orchestra played with intense concentration, as well as much emotion in the solo parts. The ovations knew no end and for once not only the soloists received flowers, but also each lady in the Choir a red rose. Though one would have been much due to all the members of the Choir, particularly to those who spent in its ranks all of the twenty successful years.
Karla Hofmanová, Musical Perspectives, No. 12, 2010

 

 

Maestro Tomáš Netopil Conducted Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony

Concert Review, October 19 and 21, 2010
October 25, 2010 Helena Havlíková (www.fok.cz/recenze-fok/tomas-netopil)

Gustav Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 2 in c-minor, usually referred to as the ‘Resurrection’, was heard in Prague for the third time within the last four months already. Following the June performance by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra with its Conductor in Chief Vladimír Válek, and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra production under the baton of Christof Eschenbach, presented in July on Mahler’s birthday (both in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum), this time the Symphony appeared as a part of the Orchestral Concert Cycle of the Prague Symphony Orchestra…
Both soloists—not only Simona Houda-Šaturová, who sang the Soprano part also at the earlier Czech Philharmonic production, but also the Alto Jana Sýkorová – clearly share a fervent personal relationship to Mahler’s music, as well as a wonderful feeling for the power of the lyrics, suffused as they are with images of nature, humility, desire, suffering, ruin and fear, yet also of grandeur and bliss. By way of example, the soft manner, in which Simona Houda-Šaturová joined the legato in the choir, was breathtaking. Both soloists also gave interviews, in which they confessed their love particularly for Mahler’s Second Symphony. No doubt the effect of their live concert performance would have been even more persuasive, had their parts been delivered completely from memory.    
The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choir Master Petr Fiala) was riveting. The tension induced by the pianissimo of the chorus’a capella entrance in the fifth movement, so repercussive and colorful in spite of low dynamics, masterfully constructed gradations in the ‘counterpoints’ of individual vocal groups, as well as the balance of sound in the ‘wings rising up from the dust’ and overall compactness of the key ‘I shall die to live!’ passage, all the way to the final apotheosis of resurrection and the omnipotent emotion of divine love and majesty crowned the evening with an engrossing finale.

 

 

Pure Romantic Music

Robert Schumann: ‚Das Paradies und die Peri‘
The Bruckner Orchestra, Dennis Russel Davies, Conductor, The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, 
The Brucknerhaus, October 29, 2010

…drawing on the Romantic tradition, the musicalization brings the listener right into the story. It evokes an extensive ballad and utilizes folk melodies copiously. The performance was vivid, precise and persuasive. To begin with, the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno must be mentioned, convincing in its clear enunciation as well as beautiful timbre; the composition was finely rehearsed by its Choir Master Petr Fiala. The soloists’ ensemble presented a cogent and kind interpretation…
Franz Zamazal, Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, November 2, 2010

 

 

A Biblical Drama:
Final Concert of the Rheingau Music Festival Featured
Massenet’s Marie-Magdeleine in the Eberbach Abbey

…from the Resurrection at the opening night all the way to the Crucifixion at the final concert—nine weeks ago the Rheingau Music Festival commenced with Gustav Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony and last night it closed with a seldom performed vocal-instrumental composition. For the biblical drama Marie-Magdeleine, first staged in 1873, Jules Massenet found inspiration in the New Testament story of Mary of Magdala. The audience was offered an opportunity to discover this work, courtesy of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno and the Brno Philharmonic, in the Eberbach Abbey.
   Most distinct of all the performers in Massenet’s Marie-Magdeleine was the excellent Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, which already enjoys a very high reputation in our region, having performed with the Hessen Orchestra a number of times. With a scintillating timbre in the tranquil parts and a compact sound in the dramatic ones, the Choir conducted by Maestro Leoš Svárovský came near to a perfect interpretation of this oratory-drama. At the beginning of the 90-minute composition the Choir depicted the exotic atmosphere of a sunlit country of palm trees and caravans in a delicate and apposite manner, albeit somewhat cloyingly, while the Golgotha scene in the third act came out with due dramatism and tempestuousness…
Wiesbadener Kurier, August 30, 2010, Axel Zibulski, Eltville

The Power of Music from Heaven
…the biblical drama Marie-Magdeleine by Jules Massenet provided a stunning and worthy finale. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno and the Brno Philharmonic presented this seldom performed composition under the baton of Maestro Leoš Svárovský.
   This atmosphere of music from heaven was excellently captured by the Choir with its shining and warm female voices, as well as by the Czech-Slovak quartet of soloists.
   Thus the 23rd year of the Rheingau Music Festival was concluded with the pompous „Christ est ressuscité!“ …
August 30, 2010, Frankfurter Rundschau, Stefan Schickhaus

Great Opera of a Biblical Heroine
Jules Massentet’s Marie-Magdeleine in the Eberbach Abbey

...at the final concert of this year’s 23rd Rheingau Music Festival the crowded basilica of the Eberbach Abbey listened to a full-length composition, which in spite of its tension and dramatism comes across as something of a curiosity, when compared to Gounod, namely, the choral composition Marie-Magdeleine by Jules Massenet, described by its author himself as a drame sacrée (a sacred drama).
   To the outstanding performers Massenet’s composition offered an opportunity for stunning artistic achievement. The most distinct among them was the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno. Its exceptional vocal purity, fullness of sound, energy and balance filled the crowd scenes with a dynamic power…
August 30, 2010, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Harald Budweg

 

Maestro Ingo Metzmacher Conducted the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

…in the conclusion Ms. Jana Sýkorová’s voice blended gorgeously with the piano of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Men’s Chorus, Choir Master Petr Fiala). Once again with no pause for applause, the Song of Destiny for orchestra and mixed chorus followed. In this manner the program assumed a form of a dirge, complete with an introductory prelude, a middle solo part and a concluding chorus. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno confirmed its high standards of performance. Its well-harmonized, vehement rendition of the composition’s dramatic third movement reminded of a dies irae. The Song of Destiny then flowed into a quieted conclusion…
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Ingo Metzmacher – Conductor
Jana Sýkorová – Alto, Czech Philharmonic Choir of BrnoPetr Fiala – Choir Master
Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague
September 30 and October 1, 2010
Program:
Johannes Brahms:
Rhapsody for Alto, Men’s Chorus and Orchestra
, Op. 53
Song of Destiny for Orchestra and Mixed Chorus, Op. 54
Opera Plus, October 2, 2010, Pavel Šimáček


An Evening with Antonín Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

Another subscribers’ concert of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (April 19, the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague) featured one of Antonín Dvořák’s most beautiful sacred works, the cantata for soli, choir and orchestra No. 58 Stabat Mater, on the lyrics of Jacopone da Todi.
This time the solo parts were taken up by a quartet of singers already well known from Czech as well as international stages, namely Zdena Kloubová, Soprano; Andrea Kalivodová, Mezzo-soprano; the guest from Slovakia Michal Lehotský, Tenor; and Zdeněk Plech, Bass; accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choirmaster Petr Fiala) and the already mentioned Radio Symphony, conducted by Vladimír Válek, the orchestra’s Chief Conductor…
…However, the highest acclaim is especially due to the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, which demonstrated a complete range of expression and vivid dynamics. Quite obviously, the Choir is thoroughly versed in the piece—after all, not long ago the singers from Brno performed the same composition at the opening concert of the Easter Festival of Sacred Music in Brno, under the baton of Peter Altrichter and with no less success.
Hana Jarolímková, The Radio Weekly, May 2010

 

Inwardly Impressive Choral Music

The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno under the baton of its founder Petr Fiala performed compositions by Jacobus Gallus and Anton Bruckner last Thursday in the St. Charles Church in St. Moritz. The concert turned into a veritable celebration of human voice, impressing the audience by an unusual subtle inwardness.
The conductor and composer Petr Fiala founded the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno in 1990 and before long started reaping accolades for the superb quality of its singing. The Choir has cooperated with many famous conductors, appearing regularly at numerous prestigious music festivals.

Handl’s Polyphony
Jacob Handl, born in the 16th century in today’s Slovenia, followed many artists of his time in choosing a Latin name for himself: Jacobus Gallus. He composed also secular music, but the bulk of his creation was sacred, including his setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, in its time a famous composition, which the Choir performed divided into two chamber semi-choirs. Fiala and his forty singers presented the audience with an agogically brilliant rendition of various moods permeating the individual movements of the work. The sound of the Choir was clear, the delicate expressions of pain and sorrow convincing. Beautiful voices mourned destruction of the holy city from the organ loft and from the presbytery in dissonances quite unusual for the time. The final phrases repeating the name ‘Jerusalem’ came with a particular expressivity, their mighty harmony unsurpassable.

Bruckner’s Motets
In his childhood, Anton Bruckner was a chorist in an Austrian monastery, just as Gallus. It is remarkable that in his motets Bruckner returned to the Renaissance style, which he joined with Romantic harmonies, thus achieving a high degree of expressivity of the text. The singers from Brno grasped this expressivity perfectly, after all, it is no coincidence that their recording of Bruckner’s motets won the Echo Klassik Prize. The contrasts between the intertwined voices were masterfully refined, from the intimate pianissimo all the way to the shining fortissimo. The famous ‘Locus iste’ abounded with inner tension and vocal precision. The ‘Ave Maria’ showcased beautiful voices of the soloists, Alexandra Polarczyk, Soprano, and Pavla Zbořilová, Alto; the transparent tenor of Jakub Tuček shone in the ‘Tota Pulchra.’ The organist Martin Jakubíček accompanied the singers with perceptivity and style.
All told, the ‘Libera me, Domine’ may have been the most impressive piece of the evening, imbued with desperation, yet exuding an intimate prayer for liberation, from an almost inaudible pianissimo to a strong, dynamic fortissimo. Highest quality of interpretation merged with the great acoustics of the St. Charles Church. As a magnificent encore, the audience was treated with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s ‘Ave verum’, excelling in a velvet choral sound confirming once again the quality of Fiala’s ensemble. To a numerous and perceptive audience, this wonderful vocal concert was a charming present indeed.

Gerhard Franz, St. Moritz, September 3, 2009

 

 

Mozart: An Oasis of Peace

Do we in these parts perhaps still perceive a certain universal contempt for everything which comes from east of the German border? There would appear to be no other explanation of the relatively weak turnout at the recent concert of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno and the Czech Chamber Soloists, conducted by Petr Fiala, which gave a guest performance in the Frauenkirche. This outstanding choir did not perform in Dresden for the first time, but many music connoisseurs, who must be familiar with its qualities, probably left for summer vacations early, while most tourists would consider the adjective ‘East-European’ to be little more than a synonym for ‘average’ and, hence, not very interesting. What a mistake!
Why did we find the interpretation of the Brno musicians from the very first tones so congenial? Apparently, their sound was not dissimilar from that of Dresden orchestras, while that of the choir reminded one of the full voice of Dresden choirs. All things considered, the entire musical conception sounded familiar, though omnipresent leveling trends should never lead us to overlooking differences. The Brno musicians play and sing in such a Central-European, Moravian, Czech, Viennese, or Dresden way (if such connections must be emphasized) that they truly are the ear’s delight. The program consisted of Mozart’s sacred cantatas ‘Laudate Dominum’ from the Vesperae solennes de Confessore, KV 339, ‘Te Deum Laudamus’, KV 141, ‘Exsultate, jubilate’, KV 165, ‘Ave Verum corpus’, KV 618, and two settings of ‘Regina coeli’, KV 127 and KV 108.
The Brno choir naturally presented a chamber sound, yet one just as impressive as in its full symphonic strength: shining, well-balanced, and exuding an intensity immediately striking the audience. The orchestra proved to be an excellent partner, always showing admirable consideration, so that the sound of the choir was never drowned, and wonderful regard for the acoustically tricky space. The timpani dominated the bases only towards the end of the ‘Te Deum.’
Petr Fiala conducted Mozart’s sacred music with an unobtrusive nonchalance, yet also with a great precision. Each rhythmic figure came forth with an elaborated character. Neither did Fiala shy away from accenting Mozart’s irregular rhythms. In the end, however, the greatest praise should be reserved for his art of phrasing and grand sweeps: the listeners were so fascinated that they literally breathed with the music. And indeed, this is music to be breathed with! Fiala’s achievement consists in finding a happy balance between the nobility and the emotional content of these works. Given today’s trend towards intellectual and technically ‘athletic’ approach to Mozart, Fiala’s emotionally profound interpretation comes as bit of surprise. In the Ave Verum corpus, he built the music into a single arch, a giant exhalation lasting the entire composition, all that without a trace of any excessive sweetness.
The soprano Hana Škarková started in a slightly cautious manner, yet proceeded with an ever-increasing assuredness. Her somewhat darker timbre, poised between lyrical and dramatic soprano, does not quite correspond to the profundity of her voice, and at times she might have sung slightly flat. However, beginning—at the latest— with the ‘Exsultate, jubilate,’ Ms. Škarková raised her performance fully to the conductor’s level. Thanks to their naturally flowing musical teamwork, particularly in the slow movement, the artists achieved a harmony almost beyond description, while the jubilant ending was uniquely free of any improprieties and otiose mannerisms.
The soprano, members of the choir and orchestra, as well as the conductor himself almost appeared caught off their guard by the lengthy ovations after the concert. They clearly reached the most beautiful accomplishment a musician can reach, namely, winning the hearts of the audience.
Hartmut Schütz, Frauenkirche, Dresden, June 27, 2009

 

Choir qua Soloist

…the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, which had already joined the Belgium National Orchestra last year for the breathtaking performance of Dvořák’s Requiem, was once again spectacular in Schubert’s Mass in A flat Major and acted virtually as the fifth soloist. In the ‘Sanctus,’ Maestro Weller could revel in every single note of Schubert’s glowing harmonic and structural palette, and the rapport of the choir and the orchestra was truly transcendental. The choral explosions in the ‘Gloria’ and the sound planes in the ‘Kyrie’ reached in the ‘Credo’ an amazing fusion with the orchestra…
Orchestre National de Belgique Bulletin, April 20, 2009

 

Perhaps Not the Best Composition, But Surely the Best Performance—Dvořák’s Requiem

…the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton Maestro Leoš Svárovský approached the composition… conscientiously and devotedly, as if care of Dvořák’s music was their ‘sacred duty.’ In the first place, the numerous, yet vocally well-balanced choir imparted an admirable degree of precision to the entire performance. In a deplorable mishap, the concert program somehow failed to mention that this outstanding ensemble is lead by its Choir Master Petr Fiala…
Nebes Volksblatt, Austria, March 26, 2009

 

An Extraordinary Vocal Experience

…the numerous and powerful Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno with its remarkable male voices carried the main burden of the performance. From the most delicate piano all the way to its mighty forte, the chorus sings with an almost unbelievable homogeneity. At the exact moment, the singers are capable of creating a singularly monumental sound… The Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in spite of its rather numerous cast joined the chorus in a well-balanced whole: it was evident that these musicians find Dvořák’s music truly congenial.
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, Austria, March 26, 2009

 

Antonín Dvořák: Requiem

No composer ever set this otherworldly, visionary text to music with such a brilliant inner conviction as the Czech Master Antonín Dvořák. And no interprets can present this intense music with a precision and concentration on a par with the phenomenal Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra under Maestro Leoš Svárovský, and the unusually sensitive quartet of soloists…
Kronen Zeitung, Austria, March 26, 2009

 

Czech Catholic Music—Innerly Engrossing

This brief, emotion-laden phrase might perhaps aptly characterize the character of Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass. The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, Janáček’s home town, presented this mass during the Freiburg Concert Cycle and succeeded in capturing the veritable charisma of this music, which belongs to the 20th century much more than usually admitted. In both compositions the Czech Philharmonic Choir (Choir Master Petr Fiala) reacted with cogency and power, yet also with great facility, as evidenced by the enthusiastic applause following the concert.
Badische Zeitung, Freiburg, Germany, October 11, 2008.

 

A Work of Confession—Liszt’s Oratorio Christus in the Basilica of Eberbach

The Prague Maestro Leoš Svárovský with the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra presented a work nowadays not often performed. The Choir started its ‘Stabat mater speciosa’ in a mystically dreamy mood, only to escalate to a full, jubilant sound, while in the ‘Stabat mater dolorosa’ captivated the audience right from the beginning with plaintive motives, and in the ‘Paradisi gloria’ uplifted it with a well-balanced, colorful sound. The men’s chorus ‘Tu es Petrus’ unfolded in a monumental manner, while the women’s voices in the Easter hymn asserted themselves in a brilliant elucidation. The celebration of Christ’s resurrection filled the wide space of the basilica with the striking fugue ‘Christus vincit’ in an almost unbelievable manner. It was a thrilling performance, and the audience displayed its gratefulness by long ovations.
Wiesbadener Kurier, Austria, August 26. 2008

 

Brilliant Choral Sound

Vocal culture of the highest level was in evidence during the opening concert of the ‘Neuberg Minster Days of Culture’ festival, which offered a performance of Stabat Mater by Antonín Dvořák. Although the quartet of soloists was first-class, the imaginary olive-crown was carried away by the outstanding Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno. Its finest nuances of sound—from pure pianissimo all the way to mighty fortissimo—as well as its precise articulation made the choral movements an absolute delight for the ear.
Kleine Zeitung, Austria, July 14, 2008

 

An Unforgettable Musical Experience —
the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno Enchanted the Brixen Cathedral

To enjoy an uncommon musical experience, one does not have to hear exclusively performances of the most famous compositions. The audience at the Brixen ‘Music in the Cathedral’ project knows to appreciate concerts offered throughout the year. These musical events have a way of becoming unforgettable thanks to elite ensembles offering concerts with well thought-out programs and exemplary quality interpretation.
Such was also the recent concert offered to the Brixen audience by the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Southern Moravia). In spite of its relatively short history (it was established in 1990), this ensemble has to its credit cooperation with such conductors as Nicolas Harnoncourt, Zubin Mehta or Kurt Masur, as well as numerous recordings.
The Choir presented compositions from various musical periods. For instance, the ‘Laments of the Prophet Jeremiah’ by Jacobus Gallus (1550-1591) unites two different styles from the same period, namely, Dutch polyphony and the Venetian school. Bruckner’s motets, a delicate counterpart to the composer’s grand symphonies, belong to the paramount late-Romantic creations. Finally, the ‘O sacrum convivium’ by Olivier Maessien was heard, a piece which creates its own meditative musical language by means of introducing most impressive harmonies.
The founder and conductor of the Choir was able to rely on his ensemble unconditionally, from the first chord to the last tones of the two encores, although he chose to present the Brixen audience compositions abounding with technical demands. For the performance of Jacobus Gallus, the choir broke up into two ensembles, a splendid idea which contributed to a yet higher transparency of the individual melodies, while the listener was in a position to fully appreciate the contrasting sequences of harmonies, solemnly concluded by a long final chord. The professional singers among the audience were astounded by the homogeneous sound of the choir and, at the same time, by the diversity of its nuances. Particularly Bruckner’s motets, such as ‘Locus iste’, ‘Ave Maria’ or ‘Christus factus est,’ present a danger of particular voices coming too much to the fore, thus disrupting the homogeneity of sound. But nothing of the kind was in evidence during this concert, nothing was to be heard but a well-balanced, colorful sound, strong and expressive in the most intensive passages, modestly restrained in the pianos. The audience acknowledged this incomparably beautiful concert with an enthusiastic applause.
Dolomiten, Brixen, Italy, June 2, 2008

 

Maria’s Plaints Full of Urgency

The philharmonic concert featuring Dvořák’s Stabat Mater came to be dominated by Czech singers. Such a persuasive musical confession calls for very knowledgeable interprets, and the Philharmonic Society with its friends and sponsors succeeded in presenting a choir of the highest world class. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choir Master Petr Fiala) stands out by its homogeneity, beautiful well-rounded timbre and extraordinary quality of sound, which imparted to every movement of the work a unique expression.
Weser Kurier Bremer Nachrichten, Germany, March 6, 2008

 

Born of Pain, Turned into Hope

The Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno performed Dvořák’s Stabat Mater in the ‘Glocke’ Hall in Bremen. The Czech interprets delivered a stirring, authentic performance. The outstanding Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choir Master Petr Fiala) brought forth dramatic planes as well as lyrical melodies, all with beautiful gradations. The performance of the Choir, standing out by its beautiful sound as much as by its expressive mastery, reached the highest levels.
Kreiszeitung, Bremen, Germany, March 5, 2008.

 

Christus Superstar…

…when listening to this incomparable choir, one feels deeply touched, particularly in the piano and mezzo forte passages—has anyone ever heard such a breathtaking choir piano? Credit for all this goes to the brilliant Choir Master, who succeeded in carrying through his inspiring and sensitive conception, undoubtedly ideal among all the various possible ways of interpreting this work.
Prize of the Classica-Repertoire, a French professional journal of music, 
for the recording of Franz Liszt’s Christus, February 2007

 

An Amazing Performance

…the production of Paul von Klenau’s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Kornetts Christoph Rilke, composed in 1915, featuring the soloist Bo Boje Skovhus, the entrancing Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, and the Odense Symphonic Orchestra under the baton of Paul Mann, has attained the highest artistic standards. Klenau’s little known composition, performed for the first and—till now—last time in 1925, has received a new and wonderful lease of life. Bo Boje Skovhus narrated the story, serving as its natural focal point, intensive and expressive.
…the Choir sang fabulously in tune, which in no way hindered its persuasive gradations of various moods of the choral part. Ms. Hana Škarková, member of the Choir, turned a small solo soprano part into a powerful experience.
Odense, Denmark, September 9, 2006

 

W. A. Mozart: Idomeneo

…a particular compliment is due to the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choir Master Petr Fiala), which delivered a splendid performance and perfectly accommodated Hager’s uncompromising conception. The Choir, always promptly reacting to the musical goings-on, proved itself as an ideal partner for the orchestra. Thanks to its flawless intonation and great balance of voices regardless of pitch, this ensemble became the most conspicuous participant in the concert. What a great choir performance!
Tageblatt, Luxembourg, April 10, 2006

 

J. S. Bach, Weihnachtsoratorium (The Christmas Oratorio)

…the Czech Chamber Soloists orchestra proved very good indeed, yet the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno was even better. You will rarely have a chance to listen to an ensemble of comparable quality. We witnessed a wonderful balance between four outstanding vocal groups, strong and compact voices so lucid and distinct in articulation that the audience were able to easily follow each and every word of the lyrics printed in their programs. The quality of the Choir follows to a large degree from the evident discipline of the individual singers, as well as from the size of the ensemble (32 singers), well-chosen with a view to interpreting this particular composition.
    From the conductor’s stand, the choir and the orchestra were directed by Petr Fiala with great precision. The long ovation was rewarded by three encores: an aria from Bach’s ‘Suite in D-major’, the ‘Alleluia’ from Händel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s ‘Ave verum’.
Heraldo de Aragón, Zaragoza, Spain, December 16, 2005

 

The Mass for the Dead Flowed like a Calm River (Antonín Dvořák: Requiem)

 …under the baton of Leoš Svárovský, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno successfully presented a cultivated and minutely polished interpretation. Both ensembles, the choir and the orchestra, unfolded the sound as if from nothing. Music simply streamed out and reflected not some engrossingly horrifying visions, but rather an intimate portrait of the soul. At the same time, the Choir (Choir Master Petr Fiala) excelled in bringing forth its wonderful pianissimo, and the singers managed to maintain flawless coordination even in the near-acrobatic fugue ‘Quam olim Abrahae.’ The final applause was well-deserved, long and intensive!
Frankfurter Neue Presse, The Eberbach Basilica, Rheingaufestival, Germany, August 29, 2005

 

French Press Reviews of Concerts by the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, November 2004, France

L’incomparable beauté du choeur de Brno—Incomparable Loveliness of the Choir from Brno
Few would doubt that human voice is the most lovely instrument of music. Bring together 70 singers—and an amazing orchestra stands in front of your eyes. Petr Fiala, Choir Master and inspiring leader of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, by his lively and elegant gestures informs a truly exceptional sound material. The Choir is imbued with intense life and even features soloists from its own ranks.

“Coup de choeur” au Centre de congrés—‘Coup de choir’ at the Centre de congrés
On Monday evening the Orchestre national de la Loire ceded the stage of the Centre de congrés to the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno which, under the baton of Petr Fiala, presented a program of predominantly Czech music. The Choir also participates in the current Beethoven Festival hosted by this regional orchestra. Between the Missa Solemnis and the Ninth Symphony on this coming Sunday, the choir members acted as ambassadors of their homeland’s repertoire, bringing much joy to the numerous audience in the process.
The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno fully deserves a laudatory mention for at least two different reasons. The one is its wonderful command of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, a composition demanding an even higher mastery of voice than the Ninth Symphony; the other its a capella concert, presented by the Choir between the performances of these two paramount compositions.
It is quite exceptional for a choral concert to reach such an artistic level. Moreover, the program was made up of rarely performed pieces by Dvořák, Janáček, Eben, and Bruckner, as well as by Petr Fiala himself, an outstanding teacher, composer and terrific Choir Master. It was he who founded the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno in 1990, a choir we will hardly be able to forget. As a local musician confided to us when leaving the concert, ‘the people of Nantes fail to realize how lucky they have been.’
Ouest France, November 27, 2004

 

Austrian Press Reviews of Concerts by the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno 
and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, September 2004, the Musikverein, Vienna, Austria

Dvořák’s Te Deum has lately not been performed very often, for reasons not easy to conceive of, as it is a thrilling composition featuring impressive solos and beautifully moving gradations, as well as much meditative depth. Its qualities were amply demonstrated by this concert introducing the truly extraordinary Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno and outstanding soloists.
Die Presse, September 29, 2004

..Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček have equally contributed to a continuation of the Salzburger Festspiele festival by means of the latest Musikverein concert.
Reviewers only tend to mention choirs briefly, if at all. Yet this time it was the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (Choir Master Petr Fiala) that captured attention by its rich and colourful sound and clear articulation. The Wiener Philharmoniker may have played the first half of the concert (Dvořák’s Te Deum and Janáček’s Eternal Gospel) with much fervour, yet the sound of the orchestra—when compared to that of the choir—remained indistinct, dampened and partly uncertain (questionable intonation in the wind section).
Wiener Zeitung, September 25, 2004

 

London Press Reviews of the PROMS 2004 Concert by the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno 
and the London Symphony Orchestra, July 2004, the Royal Albert Hall, London, Great Britain

…then Kurt Masur relinquished the conductor’s stand in favour of Petr Fiala, who proceeded to conduct the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno in Janáček’s Ukvaldy Songs—tunes from the composer’s native village. The Choir proved charming indeed: perfectly in tune, displaying a warm timbre and perfect balance, never attempting to imbue the simple folk poetry with a trace of unseemly sweet sentiment (which is a curse of most British choral societies). But the high point came only after the intermission: Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass. The uninitiated never need to wonder what precisely ‘glagolitic’ means…
Masur’s conception of the Glagolitic Mass with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Czech choir and four outstanding soloists was exemplary and in all respects very gratifying. Janáček‘s copiously multiplied brass instruments sounded convincingly and the inward passages of the composition were presented in a thought-out manner.
The Financial Times

…the whole evening became worthwhile thanks to the presence of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno. Although its history is relatively short (it was established only in 1990), the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno sings with a naturalness and spontaneity rendering transparent all the rhythmic intricacies of the six Ukvaldy Songs by Janáček… Nevertheless, the eight minutes proved rather inadequate and given the extent of Janáček‘s early and a capella production, as well as the improbability that this Choir will be able to return to the U. K. in the near future, it might have been more fortunate to devote the entire first half of the concert to this repertoire.
Yet the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno has made its presence felt also in the performance of Janáček‘s Glagolitic Mass. The orchestra has also performed successfully in many passages…
www.classicalsource.com

Franz Schubert’s subtle Unfinished Symphony launched the concert with a somewhat disjointed performance. However, any disappointment was to be forgotten as soon as the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno broke into the charming a capella Ukvaldy Songs. After the intermission, this first-rate choir returned with the London Symphony Orchestra, four Slovak soloists and the newly built organ to deliver a roof-rising performance of Janáček‘s masterpiece, the Glagolitic Mass. The orchestra outdid itself, the choir was as wonderful as one could wish for, the soloists up to their task, and the organ solo… stupefying! What music! What performance! Thank you, thank you, Maestro Masur! We walked home with a feeling that there was nothing wrong with the world after all, if only for a few precious moments.
The Guardian