Celebrating peace, lamenting war

TO MARK the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the Slovak Philharmonic performed Vladimír Godár’s oratorio Querela Pacis on April 30 in its final show in the Special Concerts series. The piece was performed by the Solamente Naturali ensemble and its choir, Vocale Solamente Naturali, with artistic director Miloš Valent and soloists Hilda Gulyásová (soprano; standing in for Emily van Evera), Petra Noskaiová (alto) and Tomáš Šelc (bass), conducted by Andrew Parrott.

TO MARK the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the Slovak Philharmonic performed Vladimír Godár’s oratorio Querela Pacis on April 30 in its final show in the Special Concerts series. The piece was performed by the Solamente Naturali ensemble and its choir, Vocale Solamente Naturali, with artistic director Miloš Valent and soloists Hilda Gulyásová (soprano; standing in for Emily van Evera), Petra Noskaiová (alto) and Tomáš Šelc (bass), conducted by Andrew Parrott.

Originally composed for the anniversary of the Utrecht Peace Treaty in 2009 as a cantata consisting of five parts, the oratorio was later re-written with one piece omitted and seven more added and released on CD. “Later, it … [was performed] at the Pohoda [outdoor music] festival, but, alas, nobody really heard it there,” Godár wrote in the accompanying concert bulletin. “Thus, today’s concert on the centenary of the outbreak of WWI is this composition’s true premiere.”

Inspired by the eponymous work of Erasmus of Rotterdam, the oratorio also includes an excerpt from the Orbis Sensualis Pictus encyclopaedia for children by Johann Amos Comenius, the ancient Lament for the City of Ur, A Prayer-Allah poem by H. W. Longfellow, biblical Psalms and the Cradle Song ‘What Does the Little Birdie Say’ by Alfred Tennyson.

The concert, attended by the composer in person, received a standing ovation and was a nice prelude to the May celebrations of the liberation of Europe in the Second World War, as well as to the whole year of events marking the centenary of the big global war that swept through all of Europe and permanently changed the continent’s geopolitical map.

“Rulers have always reasoned the necessity of their wars with noble goals,” Godár wrote in the foreword. “… Dutch humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam was probably the first thinker who unambiguously rejected all justifications of the noble ideas of rulers, and in his two speeches – Querela Pacis and Dulce Bellum Inexpertis – he labelled war an absolute evil, for which the only real reason is the greed of those in power.”

Top stories

The referendum is said to protect traditional families.
Politics & society

Turnout key to referendum result

EVEN amid heated discussion about the content of a February 7 referendum targeting the constitutional definition of family, experts say the biggest test for supporters of the Alliance for Family (AZR) ballot initiative is whether turnout surpasses the required 50-percent quorum of eligible voters.

26. Jan 2015
Alžbeta Petoová, daughter of awarded Arpád and Alžbeta Hajdu, Alexander Ben-Zvi and consul of Izrael in Slovakia Avital Gershon (from left).
International

Ten more Slovaks recognised as Righteous Among the Nations

ANOTHER 10 Slovaks have received the Righteous Among the Nations award, the highest honour given to a non-Jew by the State of Israel and Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum for saving Jewish citizens during the Holocaust.

29. Jan 2015
The second pillar will open, again.
Business

More changes for second pillar

IN RESPONSE to the small payments going to the first pensioners-to-be from the second, private, pension pillar, Prime Minister Robert Fico says he will look for ways to allow those savers to move their money back into the state pension programme.

26. Jan 2015
Defence Ministry is now seeking dozens of all-terrain Land Rover vehicles.
Politics & society

Land Rovers top army wish list

AFTER series of controversial purchases for the army, the Defence Ministry is now seeking dozens of all-terrain Land Rover vehicles, the Defence Ministry confirmed on January 16.

26. Jan 2015