Entertainment

Last round of Czech series for violinist, pianist duo

Violinist Roger Mangas and his pianist wife Monica Pfau will play at Place des Arts on Saturday, Feb. 22 as part of the Coquitlam art centre’s faculty concert series.   - COURTESY OF PLACE DES ARTS
Violinist Roger Mangas and his pianist wife Monica Pfau will play at Place des Arts on Saturday, Feb. 22 as part of the Coquitlam art centre’s faculty concert series. 
— image credit: COURTESY OF PLACE DES ARTS

A handful of Czech composers whose classical music fell out of vogue at the start of the 20th century will have their works revived at a recital in Coquitlam next week.

Violinist Roger Mangas and his pianist wife Monica Pfau will perform some of the rare pieces he uncovered while in Europe in 2007 — as well as compositions by other prominent Czech masters — as part of the Place des Arts faculty concert series.

Mangas said he and Pfau wanted to pay homage to two of their University of Victoria professors who had introduced them to Czech writers, especially those whose music was passed over with the change from the Romantic to contemporary era.

“Their careers dwindled but they had written some really fine music that, as a result of their bad timing, got lost,” he said.

Seven years ago, while on a visit to Vienna and Prague, Mangas immersed himself in libraries and used music stores to search for the rare scores that their UVIC mentors — Jaroslav Karlovsky and Paul Kling — had brought to their attention.

Mangas, a Place des Arts instructor since 1986, found enough material for a series of concerts, starting in 2008, to celebrate the unknown Czech pieces. And their fourth and final instalment of the series will be played next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

He and Pfau will reveal works by composers Oskar Nedbal, Josef Suk, Antonin Dvorak and Bohuslav Martinu. They also believe they will be presenting the North American premiere of Josef Foerster’s Sonata quasi Fantasia.

Mangas is a member of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and has about 35 students at Place des Arts.

Pfau was on the facility from 1987 to ‘96 and returned last September after a break to raise the couple’s children. A former student of Robin Wood, Pfau has recorded for the CBC Vancouver Orchestra under Mario Bernardi, the Vancouver Symphon under Kazuyoshi Akiyama and the National Film Board of Canada; she also performs for CBC Radio’s Westcoast Performance.

With their final instalment soon over, Mangas said the pair’s next recital — likely to take place in 2016 — will feature pieces by German, Romanian and Czech composers — “music that I always wanted to play but never had the chance,” he said.

• Tickets to A Celebration of Czech Music IV on Feb. 22 are $15/$13 and available by calling 604-664-1636 or visiting placedesarts.ca.

 

jwarren@tricitynews.com

 

 

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