PRAGUE Prague: February 12, 2018. In a memorial performance for Zuzana Růžičková, Mahan Esfahani and the Czech Radio under maestro Jiri Rozen, played (youTube) Viktor Kalabis’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra .
Writing about this concerto, Martin Anderson noted the following in Fanfare: “Kalabis’s Harpsichord Concerto, composed in 1974–75 (no prizes for guessing who the dedicatee and first performer was), has something of the buoyancy of the Poulenc Concert champêtre and the angularity of neo-Classical Stravinsky—but far more of a sense of onward drive than either composer; indeed, it’s in the driving rhythms of the Finale that Kalabis comes closest to Martin? though, unsettlingly, it then subsides into anguished silence. R?ži?ková complained to her husband, only half-joking, that “You have let me die”; but the times in which it was written, he responded, did not permit another ending. Martin? was tangentially involved in the birth of the work, as R?ži?ková relates in her notes. She was performing the Martin? Concerto in Switzerland and the conductor asked if by chance she had heard of a Czech composer called Viktor Kalabis; much laughter ensued, and a commission soon after that. But don’t expect some maudlin love-letter: Kalabis obviously wanted to show the world what she could do, and the solo part is a demanding one; the piece is almost half-an-hour in length, too, which must make it one of the world’s longer harpsichord concertos.”