Editors Choice

norman lebrecht

February 10, 2023

Direct from Prague – the Czech National Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 30 th anniversary with a debut performance at Carnegie Hall this Thursday (February 16.) From the concert hall to the cinema soundstage, the Orchestra has garnered international renown.
For this performance, Music Director Steven Mercurio conducts music of Dvořák, and Beethoven’s mighty “Eroica.”
Also, acclaimed violinist Robert McDuffie plays Brahms’ impassioned Violin Concerto. “He’s a treasure. A musician of probing intelligence, a violinist of authority, and a force of great vitality…” San Francisco Chronicle

Tickets start at just $35. Slipped Disc readers can enjoy a 25% discount on all
other priced tickets with this discount code: CNO39878.
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Steven Mercurio, Music Director
Robert McDuffie, Violin
DVOŘÁK Furiant from “Czech Suite”
BRAHMS Violin Concerto
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”


  • Has-Been says:

    Disappointing that The Czech National orchestra is not coming to NY with more Czech music. Why not the Dvorak concerto and one of the lesser played Dvorak symphonies How can they possibly make a ‘splash’ with standard Brahms and Beethoven which every orchestra in America plays.

    • Disinterested Party says:

      And why is a low-cost studio orchestra touring at all? Who is funding the trip? Its Hollywood studio clients? Does Carnegie Hall think New Yorkers are so dumb they’ll buy tickets? This is a total waste of jet fuel. This orchestra has no standing outside the Czech Republic, and will not have even after the visit. Please put the polar bears ahead of your vanity and stay home!

    • Bill says:

      To be fair, a lot of American orchestras would probably play Beethoven and Brahms on tour as well! You play the stuff you expect the prospective audience will pay to attend, and hopefully it is music you play well.

      I did have the pleasure of seeing the Czech Phil do an all-Dvořák program in San Francisco a few years ago. The hall appeared quite full, and they played marvelously.

      Just playing 5 1/2 minutes of Dvořák seems like it wouldn’t satisfy anyone!

  • David K. Nelson says:

    McDuffie is an excellent musician, and I certainly would not mind hearing what he does with the Brahms Concerto. I wonder if the Suk Fantasy is in his repertoire. That would be an even more interesting alternative to the Brahms.

  • Czech Mate says:

    To clarify, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra is relatively newer ensemble made up of musicians from several other orchestras (such as from the Czech Radio Symphony, National theatre, and State Opera). Their repertoire has usually been more in a popular style playing film music or as the orchestra for artists such as Andrea Bocelli. They are in a completely different category than the top Czech orchestras such as the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony FOK, Prague Philharmonia PKF, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Brno Philharmonic. Now the question is, why is Norman publishing about this 2nd tier pickup ensemble playing in Carnegie hall when Slipped disc didn’t cover the Brno Philharmonic who just played at Carnegie Hall in a program of Martinu, Janacek, and the premiere of a Philip Glass Symphony? Or did I miss that post? The Brno Philharmonic is still on tour in America and is a much more serious organization which has had a rich tradition and history for generations under some of the greatest Czech conductors.

  • opus30 says:

    Why not play the entire Czech Suite and just a movement of the overlong/overplayed Eroica?

  • Czech Mate says:

    Correction to my comment, and apologies: I see that the Brno Philharmonic Carnegie Hall performance was indeed covered here a few days ago. Now it would interesting to see if anyone would write a review of both concerts

  • MacroV says:

    First, I hope people don’t confuse this perfectly competent but hardly world-beating orchestra with the great Czech Philharmonic.

    Second, while I certainly want to see Czech orchestras tour with something besides Dvorak’s Greatest Hits, something a little more novel than Brahms and Beethoven would be nice. A little Janacek or Martinu is always welcome, or lesser-known Dvorak (who could never write a bad tune).

    I would point out that in three years living in Prague, I never once heard this orchestra; they may play maybe 4 programs a year, otherwise they were backing Ennio Morricone or such.

    I’d love to hear Robert McDuffie, but not sure this is enough to pull me to their concert in Washington DC (Fairfax VA, actually) this weekend.

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    Robert McDuffie is a wonderful violinist and musician. I first heard him when he was on the Faculty for the Starling Delay Symposium at the Juillard and gave a Recital. He actually studied with Dorothy Delay. When I subsequently returned to New York he gave a terrific Violin Masterclass to young Violinists at the Diller-Quaille School of Music. He has a fine Strings Programme in Savannah,Georgia which he set up about fifteen years ago. He has also recorded the Philip Glass Concerto to name just one.

    • Herbie G says:

      Yes, indeed. I have a superb CD of his playing Viennese music by Lehar, Strauss and Kreisler. The Lehar is possibly the first recording of Lehar’s Violin Concertino (pre-dating the cpo version, I seem to recollect), a generously melodious work written when he was a student of eighteen. McDuffie sails through it without putting a foot wrong.

  • Hamilton says:

    Robert McDuffie is one (of the many) over hyped Dorothy DeLay students and a huge narcissist. Always out of tune.