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Martinu: Epic of Gilgamesh

Martinu: Epic of Gilgamesh

The world premiere recording of the original english version.


Lucy Crowe (soprano)

Czech Philharmonic Prague, Philharmonic Choir Vasilek, Manfred Honeck

The music Martinů created during the last decade of his life demonstrates his penchant for religious and spiritual texts. The idea of setting the epic written 4,500 years ago matured in the composer for 15 years. Although differing boldly from the avant-garde of the 1950s, it is an utterly modern piece, reflecting Martinů’s intense interest in Baroque music and the Notre Dame school. The oratorio, premiered on 23 January 1958 in Basel, was a tremendous success. Its performance in Prague in January 2017 by the Czech Philharmonic and a superb international team of soloists, conducted by Manfred Honeck, brought back to life the work’s English version, based on Reginald Campbell Thompson’s translation.

“I have realised that, notwithstanding the immense progress we have attained … the questions I have come across in the literature of a nation we refer to as primitive still accompany us. They are the questions of friendship, love and death. In the epic of Gilgamesh, we encounter a very acute and almost anxiously distressful yearning to find the answers, which we have been seeking in vain to the present day.”

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Supraphon - SU42252

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Scheduled for release on 20 October 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Petr Eben: Labyrinth

Petr Eben: Labyrinth


Eben:

String Quartet 'Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart'

Piano Trio

Karel Košárek (piano)

Piano Quintet

Karel Košárek (piano)


Petr Eben was one of the most distinguished Czech composers of the second half of the 20th century. His music gained recognition far beyond the Iron Curtain and his homeland. Best known for organ and sacred works, his chamber pieces have – unjustly – been somewhat overlooked. Eben’s music reflects his fascinating life story. His harrowing experiences in concentration camps aged just 16 resulted in anemboldening of his Christian faith, approach to people and art alike Eben’s “programme” is most evident in the String Quartet (1981), written to commission for the Smetana Quartet and inspired by the allegorical work “The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart” by the famous 17th-century Czech philosopher, educator and theologian Jan Amos Komenský, in whom he saw a model for viewing this world: “not to be attached to it, to retain a critical view and distance, yet to dedicate one’s strengths with the aim to make it better and attain its redemption”.

Both the Piano Quintet (1992) and the Piano Trio (1986) clearly reveal their creator – Eben the superlative pianist. In them, the composer did not strive to make the instruments chime, opting instead for juxtaposing the sounds of the piano and the strings. The renowned Martinů Quartet (whose releases include the highly acclaimed CD of Sergey Taneyev’s complete quintets, SU 4176-2) and the pianist Karel Košárek have undertaken Eben’s quintet’s premiere recording and the quartet’s first modern-time recording since that made by the legendary Smetana Quartet.

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Supraphon - SU42322

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Foerster, Janacek & Haas: Music for Wind Instruments

Foerster, Janacek & Haas: Music for Wind Instruments


Foerster, J:

Quintet in D major, Op. 95

Haas, P:

Wind Quintet, Op. 10

Janacek:

Mládí (Youth), for wind sextet


Belfiato Quartet

Recorded in the Church of Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Prague - Vinohrady, 10 - 14 Februrary, 2017.

The Belfiato Quintet are yet another exciting Czech chamber ensemble active in the international arena. The members of the young wind quintet perform with renowned orchestras (the Czech Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, etc.), and both as individuals and collectively have garnered accolades at competitions (Kateřina Javůrková’s victory at the ARD Munich, first prize for the Belfiato Quintet at the competition in Semmering, Austria, etc.). The debut studio album, which they have recorded 12 years after the ensemble’s foundation, exclusively features Czech music dating from the first half of the 20th century. J. B. Foerster composed the Wind Quintet (his most frequently performed instrumental piece) in 1909 to commission for a virtuoso ensemble formed by the members of the Wiener Philharmoniker. The work by Janáček’s pupil Pavel Haas, written two decades later, bears traces of inspiration by folk music, Janáček, as well as Stravinsky. Leoš Janáček had created his wind sextet Youth just five years previously. Owing to the music teeming with joie de vivre, prevailing over languor and melancholia, one is hard pressed to believe that the artist was 70 years of age when he composed it. Youth – how apt for the Belfiato Quintet, an ensemble sparkling with energy and inspiration!

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 12 & 20

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 12 & 20


Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466

Czech Philharmonic, Jiří Bělohlávek

Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K414

version for string quartet

Doležal Quartet


Jan Bartos (piano)

Recorded in Prague at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum on 1 May 2013 (1-3) and at the Martinů Hall of the Music and Dance Faculty of Academy of Performing Arts on 21 May 2016.

“Jan Bartoš is one of my most impressive and most exciting young colleagues. In Jan Bartoš, virtuosity is coupled with deeply serious musicianship.” When such appreciation is voiced by the legendary pianist Alfred Brendel, we should prick up our ears. In addition to Brendel, Bartoš has been most markedly influenced by his friend and teacher, the phenomenal Czech pianist Ivan Moravec.

Numerous accolades from international competitions, acclaimed performances at major concert venues all over the world (including Carnegie Hall) and collaboration with renowned orchestras and conductors have been further milestones on Bartoš’s journey through the musical landscape.

With regard to the two mentors, his having opted for Mozart’s music for his Supraphon debut album comes as no surprise. Although referred to by some as “naïve” and “overly simple”, Jan Bartoš uncovers the deepest layers of the architecture of and the emotions encoded in Mozart’s works. Together with the conductor, the late Jiří Bělohlávek, the pianist guides the listener through the ominous, demonic even, Concerto in D minor like through a mystery story. The more joyous nature of the Concerto in A major is further highlighted by the transparent texture of its chamber version for string quartet. The two concertos unveil the nooks and crannies of Mozart’s multi-layered music, in a topnotch performance quality.

“The late Belohlavek and his superb orchestra revel in Mozart’s dark, dramatic harmonies, recalling Don Giovanni, while the soloist’s crisp articulation and singing legato are never far from the spirit of the composer’s sunnier comedies.” Sunday Times, 20th August 2017

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Ostrčil: Jack’s Kingdom

Ostrčil: Jack’s Kingdom


Ostrčil:

Jack’s Kingdom

Ivo Žídek, Jaroslava Vymazalová & Přemysl Kočí

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Václav Neumann

Krizova cesta (Calvary or The Way of the Cross): Variations for large orchestra, Op. 24

Prague Symphony Orchestra, Václav Jiráček


A unique recording of the undeservedly overlooked opera on CD for the very first time.

Recorded in Prague in the Czech Radio, January 1954 (Jack's Kingdom), and at the Rudolfinum, November 19, 20 and 24, 1957 (Calvary).

The complete recording of Jack’s Kingdom, the final opera by Otakar Ostrčil (1879-1935), a remarkable fairy-tale work with an antiwar message, is now being released on CD for the first time.

It is based on L. N. Tolstoy’s short story about a land ruled by the good-natured Ivan (transformed in the opera into Honza, or Jack) who knows not what spite is. In his kingdom, soldiers do not wage wars, yet dance and love, all diseases are cured and people are happy. Honza brings to all the people the miraculous star of compassion, love and peace, possessing so great a power that it even cures the incurable Princess and prevails over the Devil himself. When the opera was premiered in Brno (1934) and subsequently presented in Prague, it gave rise to a conflict between Ostrčil and a part of Czech society.

The present CD features the one and only studio recording of the opera, made in 1954 by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, with Ivo Žídek, Jaroslava Vymazalová and Přemysl Kočí singing the lead roles. The CD also contains a unique recording of Ostrčil’s Calvary, Op. 24, made in 1957 by the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Václav Neumann.

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Supraphon Archiv - SU42242

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Dvorak & Suk: Piano Quartets

Dvorak & Suk: Piano Quartets


Dvorak:

Piano Quartet No. 2 in E flat, Op. 87

Suk:

Piano Quartet in A minor, Op. 1


The mature Antonín Dvořák vs. the teenage Josef Suk – a duel with two victors.

Recorded at the Concert Hall of the Prague Conservatrory 2016.

Works by Antonín Dvořák and Josef Suk – a teacher and his devoted pupil, the father-in-law and his son-inlaw – have customarily been performed together at concerts and featured next to each other on recordings. Yet that is all they have in common.

Dvořák’s Opus 87 reveals the personal and creative maturity of the 48-year-old composer, who at the time was in the prime of his life. Soon after completing his quartet, the maestro assumed the post of professor of composition at the Prague Conservatory. This decision would prove to be fateful – yet not so much for himself as it would be for the 17-year-old Suk, who was one of the most gifted students of Dvořák’s selected class. A child prodigy, Suk had enrolled at the conservatory at the age of 16, and a few years later he would be travelling around the world as a member of the famed Czech Quartet. He gave his Piano Quartet, which he wrote under Dvořák’s guidance, the symbolical opus number 1. The piece reflects his contemporary auto-stylisation as a passionate, flaring youth, yet its melodic forcibility and tenderness match that of Dvořák’s work.

The Josef Suk Piano Quartet (formerly the Ensemble Taras) has manifested its extraordinary qualities at international competitions (victory at the Concorso Salieri-Zinetti in Verona, the ACM Premio Trio di Trieste), as well as on concert stages all over the world.

The recording makes it evident that the young musicians have Dvořák and Suk in their blood.

“they play with huge sound, loving detail and the kind of conviction and authority that comes from personal connection.” The Guardian, 20th July 2017 ****

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Prague – Vienna: Journey in Songs

Prague – Vienna: Journey in Songs


Haydn:

O Tuneful Voice, Hob. XXVIa:42

The Spirit's Song, Hob. XXVIa:41

Kalliwoda:

Fruhlings Wanderschaft

Koželuh, J A:

Sento amor

Spira pur

Mozart:

Abendempfindung an Laura, K523

Als Luise die Briefe, K520

Das Veilchen, K476

Rösler:

An die Entfernte

Arietta Il niente

Herbstlied

Tomásek:

An den Mond, Op. 56

Vorisek:

An Sie

Die Abschiedsträne

Liebe


Martina Janková (soprano), Barbara Maria Willi (fortepiano)

The road between Vienna and Prague, taken in 1787 by the 31- year-old Mozart so as to attend the premiere of his opera Don Giovanni, was familiar to a number of other musicians. It was a journey they made in both directions, often with the vision of attaining a better life at the other end.

The Czech songs dating from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, which form the axis of the present album, may be a revelation for many a listener – as may be the fact that Czech

composers mainly set to music German and Italian texts. Leopold Koželuch was one of Vienna’s most successful song composers, and, owing to, among other things, his diplomatic skills, he even eclipsed the bright star of Mozart. The Prague-based composer F. A. Rösler, whose songs are often indistinguishable from those of Mozart’s, did his utmost to preserve Mozart’s legacy following his death. And similarly to Rösler, V. J. Tomášek, who too remained faithful to Prague, possessed a refined literary taste, as duly reflected in his selection of the texts for his songs.

The recording captures Martina Janková’s engrossing voice, replete with vitality, innocence, vigour and lightness, which so becomes the Mozart repertoire. Under the hands of Barbara Maria Willi, the bright and colourful sound of the one and only preserved fortepiano built by F. J. Baumeister (1797) will be for many yet another surprise and discovery on this musical odyssey.

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Supraphon Music From 18th Century Prague - SU42312

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André Navarra: Prague Recordings

André Navarra: Prague Recordings


Beethoven:

Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69

Alfred Holecek (piano)

Bloch, E:

Schelomo

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Karel Ancerl

Boccherini:

Cello Sonata in G major, G. 5

Brahms:

Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A minor, Op. 102

Josef Suk (violin)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Karel Ancerl

Cello Sonata No. 1 In E Minor, Op. 38

Alfred Holecek (piano)

Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 99

Alfred Holecek (piano)

Hervelois:

Suite No. 2 in D minor

František Maxián (piano)

Honegger:

Sonatina for Violin and Cello, H 80

Josef Suk (violin)

Ibert:

Concerto for Cello & Wind Instruments

Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Martin Turnovský

Kodály:

Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7

Josef Suk (violin)

Lalo:

Cello Concerto in D minor

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Constantin Silvestri

Martinu:

Concertino for Cello, Winds, Percussion & Piano in C minor, H. 143

Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Martin Turnovský

Duo for Violin and Cello No. 1, H. 157

Josef Suk (violin)

Duo for Violin and Cello No. 2, H. 371

Josef Suk (violin)

Prokofiev:

Sinfonia Concertante in E minor for cello & orchestra, Op. 125

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Karel Ancerl

Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119

Alfred Holecek (piano)

Ravel:

Vocalise-étude en forme de habanera

Respighi:

Adagio con variazioni for cello and orchestra

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Karel Ancerl

Schumann:

Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Karel Ancerl


André Navarra (cello)

When at the age of 15 André Navarra (1911-1988) completed his studies at the Paris Conservatoire, he ceased taking lessons and set out on his own path, honing his skills on, among other things, Ševčík’s virtuoso violin etudes, which he himself arranged for the cello.

He drew inspiration from the finest instrumentalists of his time. Victory in the prestigious competition in Vienna (1937) launched his international career as a soloist. Following his debut at the Prague Spring festival in May 1951, he would pay numerous visits to the city – to appear at the festival, to perform opposite the Czech Philharmonic, as well as to record for Supraphon.

The present 5-CD pack is the first complete release of the 19 studio albums Navarra made for the label between 1953 and 1966.

Includes some remarkable tracks that have not been previously issued digitally.

His collaboration with Karel Ančerl and Josef Suk gave rise to the legendary recording of Brahms’s Double Concerto, with the accounts of pieces by Prokofiev, Bloch, Schumann and Respighi made with the Czech Philharmonic under Ančerl being just as impressive and enthralling. In addition to Josef Suk, Navarra worked with the superlative pianists Alfred Holeček and František Maxián.

The Supraphon set includes six hours of sensitively remastered recordings, a real treat for those loving the enchanting cello timbres.

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Supraphon Archiv - SU42292

(CD - 5 discs)

Normally: $41.00

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Scheduled for release on 22 September 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

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