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Fra Baltasar Marradas Tribute Concert

23 April, 2023 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


We are thrilled to invite you to our tribute concert, in honour of the inauguration of a research project on the life and achievements of the Knight of Malta from Valencia, Fra Baltasar Marradas.
An unforgettable evening of music and celebration.
The event will feature performances by the talented Halíř Trio from the Czech Republic, and the renowned Spanish violist, Ester García Salas (Malta Philharmonic orchestra), who will play pieces by Enrique Granados and Antonín Dvořák.
In addition to the performances, Dr Christine Muscat will be giving a short introduction to the life of Fra Baltasar Marradas, shedding light on his incredible achievements and legacy. You might be intrigued to know that his illegitimate daughter (who was raised by nuns in Malta) poisoned a nun and was sentenced to 10 years in prison!
This event is free to attend. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to celebrate the life and achievements of a remarkable historical figure, while enjoying the beautiful music of these talented musicians.
Please spread the word and join us for an unforgettable evening!


By HALÍŘ TRIO (Prague, Czech Republic) & Ester Garcia Salas (Spain)


Barbora K. Sejáková, piano
Jana Podolská, cello
Eduardo García Salas, violin

In collaboration with:

Ester García Salas, viola



With an introductory overview on the life of Fra Baltasar Marradas by Dr Christine Muscat.

Free Entrance


Details of the Programme:

Piano Trio in C major Op. 50 Enrique Granados

Poco allegro con espressione
Scherzo – Vivace molto; Trio alla pastorale – Allegretto
Duetto – Andante con sentimento
Allegro final – Molto allegro

 Piano Quartet in E flat major Op. 87 Antonín Dvořák

Allegro con fuoco
Allegro moderato, grazioso
Finale. Allegro mà non troppo


Piano Trio in C major Op. 50 Enrique Granados

Although historically Enrique Granados has remained in the shadow of both Manuel de Falla and Isaac Albéniz, both of whom are considered symbols of modernity in the first decades of the 20th century, the most recent musicalogical investigations rediscover a Granados of his time, an artist regeneracionist  completely dedicated himself to the cultural renovation of his country through his compositions. A prime example of one of these works is his Trio in C Major.

It is important to note that in 1895 he presented himself to the Madrid musical social scene, a city where he looked to base himself and develop his career, by presenting the premieres of two of his chamber compositions, something which was considered slightly out of the ordinary: the 25th of January his Quintet in G Minor and the 22nd of February his Trio in C Major in the Salon Romero, a hugely important hall for chamber concerts towards the end of the century.  These representations displayed his modernity as both works were pioneer in the musical panorama in the last years of the 19th century, next to, for example the Trio by Tomas Breton (1887).

The composer considered his Trio for violin, cello and piano his best composition to date and dedicated it to his wife Amparo Gil: ” My sweet love, a think I mentioned to you that I would dedicate my great trio to you (…) You should see what a Trio!! It’s up until now my best work and for this reason I dedicate it to you, companion and love of my life”.  (Madrid, 25th of January 1895).

After the premiere of the Quintet the critics had a divided opinion, those that critisised the lack of clasicism, understood as Vienese clasicism, and those that completely favoured and supported his decision to compose in a more modern approach towards his art as did composers such as Johannes Brahms, Camille Saint-Saëns or Edvard Grieg, Granados wrote to his wife: ” How badly some maestros have seen my Quintet! But you can’t imagine what a damper I am going to put on you with my Trio! Dear Lord, thid is my greatest work”. Madrid (28th of January 1895).

Granados presents an ambitious work in its language, both in its form, theme- motif construction and harmonisation, as well as the way he shares the instrumental dialogue equally between all of the instruments.  The language is clearly romantic and it is worth noting his continuos use of pedal notes and the use of stylised folkloric music. Its particularly noticable in the second movement where the principle theme in the piano reminds us of his own composition, Canto Gitano. It also includes typical motifs from Spanish music such as the hemiola or the imitation of strumming guitars.  The first movement (“I have now finished my first movement to the Trio, it’s divine”. He wrote to his wife on the 11th of January of the same year of its first performance) starts with a C pedal note and in its almost rondo form uses a delicate melody with different bar lengths. It is named in the score as canción popular.


Piano Quartet in E flat major Op. 87 Antonín Dvořák

 The Piano Quartet in E flat major is Dvořak’s second, and also his last, work for this instrumental ensemble. Fourteen years separate this work from his previous Piano Quartet in D major. Dvořak was finally goaded into writing the piece after his publisher Simrock had spent a long time trying to persuade him to do so, reminding him in letters on several occasions: “I should like to receive a piano quartet from you at last – you promised me this a long time ago! Well? How is it faring?” The quartet was written in the summer months of 1889 at Dvořak’s country residence in Vysoká. The first documented performance took place in Frankfurt on 17 October of the following year, followed by performances in Munich on 3 November, in Prague on 23 November in Dvořak’s presence, and in Manchester on 24 November. Simrock published the work that same year. It should be emphasized that among the four musicians who performed for the first time the Piano Quartet of Dvořák, we find the cellist Hugo Becker, who was a member of the Halíř Quartet and played several times the double concert of Brahms with Karel Halíř.

The Piano Quartet in E flat major is a prime example of the composer’s absolute maturity and one of the most conclusive testimonies of Dvorak’s exceptional ability to introduce innovation and originality into the Classical form. The character of the first movement in sonata form is chiefly determined by the brisk main subject which is exposed right at the start in strong unison from all the instruments. It also stands as the closing theme and forms the basis of the development section. The second subject, which alters the mood of the movement, only figures in the exposition and recapitulation, otherwise it plays no part in the thematic development. Typical for Dvořak is the “false” coda: after the broad escalation towards the close of the recapitulation, the listener expects the movement to end, yet it suddenly breaks off, and the music is apparently left to wind down gradually; it then rears up once more from pianissimo, gaining momentum for several glittering bars, and ends with a flourish. The second part of the quartet, one of Dvorak’s loveliest slow movements, comprises two almost identical tracts of music, which expose the same thematic material. During its repetition, however, it undergoes various instrumental and partly also modulatory transformations. Each of the tracts progressively introduces five connected themes, of which the fourth adds a dramatic accent to the otherwise tranquil atmosphere. The form of the movement may be illustrated by the scheme A-B-C-D-E-A’-B’-C’-D’-E’. The third movement is often compared to a piece of similar disposition, the scherzo movement from Dvorak’s Symphony in G major. It shares its three-part formal arrangement and, above all, the character of the thematic material is analogous: a main section rendered as a quasi-melancholic waltz, and a more lively middle section. The subordinate theme in the main part is unusual for its oriental tone, which is achieved through the use of an augmented second, E flat-F sharp, in the melodic line above a sustained G minor chord. The final movement of the quartet is one of Dvořak’s most vivacious, dazzling for its highly rhythmical main theme which dominates the movement. The movement features a remarkable harmonic progression: it begins in the “incorrect” key of E flat minor, and only in the recapitulation does it work its way towards the fundamental key of E flat major.

Text: Eduardo García Salas

Artists Biography

Halíř Trio was founded in 2016 and brought to the public’s attention the Czech virtuoso violinist Karel Halíř (Vrchlabí 1859- Berlin 1909). One could say that Halíř was the Leonardo da Vinci of the violin during the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The Czech violinist reached the highest level in the four most important aspects of violin playing; as a soloist, chamber musician, concert master and teacher.

Amongst the most notable performances by Halíř as a soloist perhaps the most important to mention would be the first performance in the Czech Republic of Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole Op. 21 (20. 3. 1881, Prague), or the first performance in Germany (June 1886, Sondershausen) and the Czech Republic (17.2.1888, Prague) of the Concert for Violin and Orchestra in D major Op. 35 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  In the Czech Repulic the concert was conducted by the composer himself.

Halíř Trio has performed at festivals such as the one in Castilla La Mancha, Juventudes Musicales de Mahón, the Chamber Music Cycle of Córdoba, the María Cristina Hall of Málaga, the Metropole Theater of Tarragona, the Enrique Granados Auditorium of Lleida, the Principal Theater of Cáceres. And in various cities in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, etc. Halíř Trio has consistently received very positive reviews: “The chamber ensemble showed great understanding, technique, and musical interpretation” (Carmen Teixidor Lozano, Diari de Menorca, August 11th, 2018).

In the summer of 2017, Halíř Trio recorded their first CD Granados – Dvořák, at the Enrique Granados Auditorium in Lleida for the Czech record label Arcodiva with distribution from the Naxos label. The CD includes the Trio with piano in C major op. 50 by Enrique Granados and the Trio in F minor op. 65 by Antonín Dvořák, the latter work, which Halíř premiered in Germany on December 2nd, 1883 in the city of Mannheim. On April 5th, 2018, the album became the CD of the day for the Vltava station of the Czech Radio.

The Halíř Trio‘s next recording project, always with Arcodiva and Naxos, will be Paul Juon’s Trio in A minor, Op.17, premiered by Halíř in 1902, and Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A minor, Op.50, which Halíř performed in January of 1888 in Leipzig (premiere outside Russia) in the presence of the composer, who in his diary stated that the musicians performed fantastically.

Artists Biography

Ester Garcia Salas was born in Lleida, Spain. She started violin lessons at the age of 7 and switched to viola studies at the age of 14. She formed part of the Youth Orchestra of Spain for 4 years and graduated in 2002, having studied with Oleg Lev, Ashan Pillai, Marjoline Dispa and Eduard Boleda.

She has played with the Filharmónica de Málaga, Orquesta de Extremadura, Orquesta de Gran Canaria, Orquesta de Barcelona and Philarmonia de Galicia in Spain and with the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes in Mexico.

Ester joined the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in January 2021.


Sunday 23 April



Concert Hall of the Malta Society of Arts,
Palazzo de La Salle, 219, Republic Street, Valletta

Entrance Fee



23 April, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Palazzo de La Salle
Republic Street
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