Soviet troops invaded neighboring Czechoslovakia and soon made their way to the capital of Prague in August 1968. As news of the invasion reached composer Karel Husa while he was living in the United States, he began to write what would become “Music for Prague,” one of Husa’s most well-known pieces.
Husa, a native of Prague, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his piece “String Quartet No. 3,” shortly after finishing “Music for Prague.” The famed composer passed away in 2016 at 95 years old.
The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony will perform works by Husa, Beethoven, Humperdinck and more Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.
Dr. Douglas Bakenhus, professor of music and director of orchestras at Northwestern State, says he was inspired to direct the program after learning of Husa’s death, but the concert will not be performed in the late composer’s memory.
“Music for Prague” links together several components, including “Ye Warriors of God and His Law,” a piece dating back to the 15th century that has been used by other Czechoslovakians in their own pieces.
“[The song has been] a symbol of resistance and hope for hundreds of years, whenever fate lay heavy on the Czech nation,” according to the performance program. “The beginning of this religious song is announced very softly in the first movement by the timpani and concludes in a strong unison.”
The orchestra will also feature Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante,” performed by soloists Associate Professor of Music Dr. Andrej Kurti and his wife Sofiko Tchetchelashvili, an adjunct instructor.
Kurti has won several accolades throughout his career including nine first prizes in competitions in Georgia, Florida and Yugoslavia. He was also a finalist for the 1998 Music Teacher National Association Competition.
Tchetchelashvili, performing the viola, has won four national violin contests in the country Georgia and has been awarded two President’s Awards, one after another.