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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

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Bach, J S: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV1046-1051 (complete)

Bach, J S: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV1046-1051 (complete)


Musica Florea, Marek Štryncl

The first Bach recording made by Musica Florea was Magdaléna Kožená and became the landmark international debut of the mezzo-soprano, whom the ensemble accompanied. A number of breakthrough and often highly praised recordings of Czech Baroque music (for example, Cannes Classical Award 2003 for Zelenka’s Sub olea pacis) ensued. Now Musica Florea return to Bach with a recording of the Brandenburg Concertos. A work that has been recorded on innumerable occasions by renowned orchestras here sounds novel, frequently with surprising tempos. It is precisely owing to the selection of tempos that many parts make a gain on musical logic and attractiveness for the listener, began dancing. On this recording, blood flows through the veins of Bach, elsewhere coldly decent, carved in stone.

The instrumentalists’ outstanding technique and stylistic purity go without saying, and with this recording, Musica Florea have confirmed their position among the best Czech and European orchestras dealing with knowledgeable interpretation of Baroque music. The most notable aspect of the recording, however, is their exuding of the sheer joy of Bach’s music. Blood flows through the veins of Bach, elsewhere coldly decent, carved in stone, on the new Musica Florea recording.

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Bach, J S: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV1046-1051 (complete)

Bach, J S: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV1046-1051 (complete)

Recorded in Vienna 1950


Eduard Melkus (violin), Nikolaus Harnoncourt (cello, viola da gamba) & Gustav Leonhardt (harpsichord)

Kammerorchester des Wiener Konzerthauses, Josef Mertin

Within a short time, early music enthusiasts had to say their farewells to two personalities who, for half a century, influenced the development of what we call the authentic interpretation of early music: Gustav Leonhardt and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. In 1950 Supraphon made a complete recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos performed by a chamber ensemble led by a musician of Czech origin, Josef Mertin (1904-1998). A scholar and organ builder as well, he relentlessly dusted the works of composers from the previous centuries (including Guillaume de Machaut), stubbornly seeking the way to give their music its authentic sound. The names of his pupils who took up his legacy make an impressive list that includes Claudio Abbado, Mariss Jansons and Zubin Mehta. Mertin managed to win a number of students for the interpretation of early music on period instruments, among them musicians without whom we can hardly imagine the field nowadays. The Brandenburg Concertos were performed by an ensemble whose members were the 22-year-old cembalist Gustav Leonhardt (playing the solo in Concerto No.5), a rising violin star Eduard Melkus and - a year younger - the violoncellist Nikolaus Harnoncourt. It was the first time that a chamber-sized ensemble and period instruments were used. Hopefully, listening to the recording will convince you that it is more than just a historical document. As far as Mertin and Harnoncourt are concerned, this unique recording is also a proud reminder of their Czech roots.

Recorded in Vienna, 1950

“Third and Sixth concertos especially satisfying…essential listening for Bach recording historians” Gramophone Magazine, March 2017

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Bach, J S: Cello Suites Nos. 1-6, BWV1007-1012

Bach, J S: Cello Suites Nos. 1-6, BWV1007-1012

Recorded live at the concerts of the 10th Prague Spring International Music Festival at the Rudolfinum, May 26– 27, 1955


Today, Bach’s suites form part of the repertoire of every distinguished cellist, and many of them have recorded the complete cycle.

Yet when sixty years ago the twenty-four-year-old Mstislav Rostropovich (1927–2007) first performed all the suites in public, it was a trailblazing act, linking up to the previous endeavour of Pablo Casals. When this live recording was made in 1955 at the Prague Spring festival, Rostropovich was 28 years of age.

He astounded the audience with his youthful verve and surprising artistic maturity. At the festival Rostropovich met his lifelong love, Galina Vishnevskaya, whom upon returning to Moscow he married after several days of acquaintance.

When in 1991 the cellist made a complete recording of the Bach suites in France, he was 64. Hence, all the more precious is this live recording from the Czech Radio archives, which waited more than half a century for its release. As a lover and connoisseur of wine, Rostropovich would certainly agree that some wines – and some recordings too – acquire a richer taste and a higher value over time. A sensational, newly discovered 1955 Rostropovich recording of the Bach suites.

GGramophone Awards 2011

Shortlisted - Historic

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Bach, J S: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006

Bach, J S: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006


Pavel Šporcl (violin)

Recorded in the Church of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Prague – Vinohrady, April 16–18, May 20–22, and June 15–17 , 2015. Just like mountain climbers who striving to conquer the summits of high mountains, musicians also need challenges. The next summit that Pavel Šporcl has chosen to attempt is one that figuratively reaches to the heavens.

Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo have already put the technique and musicianship of quite a few violinists to the test. Violin compositions without a basso continuo accompaniment were in general rather unusual, and these works in particular, with their many layers of musical content, place great demands on the performer, who must achieve both technical mastery and a mental grasp of several parallel lines all at once – the melody, the chordal accompaniment, and often even thematic material assigned to inner voices. The beautiful Ciaccona bringing the second Partita to a conclusion is among the most demanding works in the violin literature in terms of its length and its intricacy. Further increasing the already considerable challenge for the performer is the awareness that the first performer of these works was Bach himself. We will never get to hear Bach play these works, but Pavel Šporcl’s interpretations will certainly be worthy of repeated listening for their technically refinement and stylistically purity, while also offering something personal and unique. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas – the loveliest of challenges for Pavel Šporcl.

“Pavel Šporcl is a 'modernist', playing a ten-year-old, highly decorated blue violin, at high pitch. There's no doubt of his dexterity and spirit when fast movements demand: his perpetuum mobile in the presto finale of Sonata No. 1 is hypnotic…[he is] less convincing in slower, more pensive movements…[but] the hugely taxing 11-minute Ciaconna ending the third Partita [is] a high point, full of expressive detail while retaining the ongoing musical thread” BBC Music Magazine, March 2016 ****

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Chanson dans la nuit

Chanson dans la nuit

Recorded at the Suk Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on November 17-19 and December 5, 2011


Bach, J S:

Sarabande from Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV1002

Debussy:

Romance: L'âme évaporée et souffrante

Beau Soir

Préludes - Book 1: No. 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin

Fauré:

Après un rêve, Op. 7 No. 1

Klein, Gideon:

Lullaby

Kreisler:

Sicilienne and Rigaudon (in the style of Francoeur)

Lukas:

Hosprenglico

Marais, M:

Five Old French Dances

Paradis:

Sicilienne

Ravel:

Vocalise-étude en forme de habanera

Pavane pour une infante défunte

Salzedo, C:

Chanson dans la nuit

Vieuxtemps:

Capriccio in C Minor, 'Hommage à Paganini,' Op. 55


Jitka Hosprová (viola) & Kateřina Englichová (harp)

The soft, silvery tone of the harp and the rich, dark timbres of the viola make these instruments the ideal combination for playing a gentle night song or lullaby.

Chanson dans la nuit is a meditation amid the quiet of the night... Yet Jitka Hosprova and Kateřina Englichova are also able to make the night dance with their instruments. The listener can savour almost an hour’s worth of enchanting music for the viola and harp ranging from the Baroque masters to the French Impressionists. It is hard to believe that La fille aux cheveux de lin or Ravel’s Pavane were not originally created for these very instruments and that they can be played otherwise.

The programme was compiled for the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra’s enormously popular “For Mothers-To-Be” concert cycle. It makes a refreshing change to hear the bright sound of the violin replaced by the deeper colours of the viola, the brilliancy of the piano by the lambent tones of the harp, especially when the two instruments are in the hands of two such charming ladies and superlative musicians.

Their music finds its way directly to the heart. Chanson dans la nuit on the strings of the viola and harp – an hour of graceful music close to the heart.

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Gipsy Way

Gipsy Way


Bach, J S:

Gavotte (Rondeau) from Partita No. 3 in E major BWV1006

Bock, J:

Fiddler on the Roof: theme

Boulanger, G:

Georgette in D major

Avant de Mourir

Brahms:

Hungarian Dance No. 5

Cosma, V:

Alexandre le Bienheureux

Le Grand Blond avec une Chaussure Noire

Dinicu:

Skylark

Hubay:

Scène de la csárda No. 4 'Hejre Kati', Op. 32

Khachaturian:

Sabre Dance from Gayane

Sarasate:

Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20

Smetana:

Má Vlast: Vltava

Faithful love cannot be marred (from The Bartered Bride)

trad.:

Russian Fantasy / Russian Gipsy Melodies

Cimbalon Polka

Mama (Russian Folk Song)

Transylvanian Fantasy in E minor

Gipsy Song 'Náne Cócha'

Williams, John:

Schindler's List: Theme


Pavel Šporcl (violin)

Romano Stilo

The new DVD featuring the violin virtuoso Pavel Šporcl captures one of his two unique open-air concerts at the Smetana Litomyšl festival with the Slovak Roma cimbalom band Romano Stilo that took place in the middle of June 2010 in the castle courtyard.

The concerts were truly extraordinary events for Pavel owing to the unusual repertoire and the special atmosphere both on the stage and among the audience.

While Pavel Šporcl regularly steps out from the domain of classical music to embrace zestfully other genres, Romano Stilo cannot be considered an orthodox cimbalom band either. In addition to Gypsy, Russian, Hungarian and Romanian folk music, they performed compositions by Pablo Sarasate, Johannes Brahms and Aram Khachaturian, as well as the film themes from Schindler’s List and The Fiddler on the Roof, all of them spiced with a soupçon of jazz... Pavel plays a repertoire that seems to be the natural domain of musicians with Gypsy blood with such mastery and abandon that one feels tempted to look into his family tree – and Romano Stilo are a wonderful partner to him. It was a true joy to be there – and this DVD affords you the unique opportunity to savour their splendid performance.

DVD Video

Region: 0

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Hommage a Zuzana Růžičkova

Hommage a Zuzana Růžičkova


Bach, J S:

Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue in D minor, BWV903

French Suite No. 5 in G major, BWV816

Keyboard Concerto in G major (after Vivaldi), BWV980

Cabezón, A:

Capricho

Couperin, F:

Vive le neveu

Falla:

Concerto for Harpsichord & Chamber Ensemble

Martinu:

Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orchestra

Scarlatti, D:

Keyboard Sonata K519 in F minor

Keyboard Sonata K19 in F major

Keyboard Sonata K278 in D major

Keyboard Sonata K375 in G major

Keyboard Sonata K8 in G minor

Keyboard Sonata K70 in B flat major

Keyboard Sonata K1 in D minor

Keyboard Sonata K63 in G major

Keyboard Sonata K406 in C major

Keyboard Sonata K11 in C minor

plus:

Capricho (a Antonio Cabezon, 1510–1566) 1:02

Vive le neveu (a Francois Couperin, 1631-1698) 1:46


Zuzana Růžičkova (harpsichord)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra & Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, Kurt Sanderling & Vaclav Neumann

Zuzana Růžičkova, an exceptional personality upon whom the critics conferred the title “First Lady of the Harpsichord”, continued the pioneering efforts Wanda Landowska had made to get the harpsichord recognised as an independent concert instrument. The path she took was co-determined by her lifelong relationship to Bach, whose complete works for harpsichord she has recorded, and along it she was also accompanied by a number of friends she regularly met: Karel Ančerl, Gideon Klein, Sviatoslav Richter, Josef Suk.

She hasn’t, however, remained merely a Bach specialist: in addition to early music, she has recorded all the classic modern harpsichord works, including Poulenc’s Concert champetre and her beloved Bohuslav Martinů’s Concerto for Harpsichord, awareness of which she helped to raise all over the world. A number of pieces have been written directly for Zuzana Růžičkova, among them compositions by Jan Rychlik and the remarkable Sei invenzioni canonici per cembalo by Viktor Kalabis, whom the harpsichordist was married to for over half a century.

This representative selection from Zuzana Růžičkova’s highly acclaimed discography is Supraphon’s way of marking her 80th birthday. The overwhelming majority of these recordings are appearing on CD for the very first time. The perfect way to mark Zuzana Růžičkova’s 80th birthday – a harpsichord feast ranging from Bach to the 20th century.

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Ivan Moravec: Twelfth Night Recital

Ivan Moravec: Twelfth Night Recital


Bach, J S:

Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue in D minor, BWV903

Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight'

Chopin:

Mazurka No. 32 in C sharp minor, Op. 50 No. 3

Nocturne No. 5 in F sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2

Nocturne No. 8 in D flat major, Op. 27 No. 2

Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52

Mazurka No. 41 in C sharp minor, Op. 63 No. 3

Debussy:

Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque)

Mozart:

Piano Sonata No. 13 in B flat major, K333


Ivan Moravec (piano)

Recorded live at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on 6 January, 1987

This live recording of Ivan Moravec at the Rudolfinum in Prague was to have been first released on the occasion of his 85th birthday. The previously unreleased recording was discovered after 28 years in the Supraphon archives, and it managed to pass the test of the great artist’s uncompromising self-censorship.

Moravec’s playing of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Debussy at this concert meets the same standards as his finest recordings – technical refinement of details, carefully elaborated architecture, and rare inner vitality. Ivan Moravec’s masterful performance is further enhanced by the special atmosphere of a live concert. The earthly journey of this great pianist of the twentieth century and of this extraordinary person came to a close in July of 2015. This recording is left behind to us as his last message and statement about beauty.

A previously unreleased recording of a recital by Ivan Moravec – commemorating a great pianist of the twentieth century.

“To listen to Moravec is to be reminded of another era, one in which there was no political correctness surrounding Bach and the modern piano. He gives a warm, richly rhetorical reading of the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, one that is seemingly without ego and entirely compelling. The Mozart sonata is another highlight.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2015

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JS Bach: Cantatas

JS Bach: Cantatas

Recorded live at the Church of St. Adalbertus (Sv. Vojtěch), Opava, September 30 – October 1, 2012


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV202 'Weichet Nur, betrübte Schatten' (Wedding Cantata)

Cantata BWV82a 'Ich habe genug'

Cantata BWV51 'Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen'


Martina Janková (soprano)

Collegium 1704 (on period instruments), Vaclav Luks

The soprano Martina Janková, a Zurich Opera soloist since 1998, has been a frequent guest of the Salzburg Festival and worked with conductors of such renown as Gardiner, Harnoncourt, Fedoseyev, Herreweghe, Rattle, etc. She also participated in Gardiner’s acclaimed Bach Cantatas project.

On this recording, Janková returns to the Bach repertoire alongside the distinguished Czech Baroque ensemble Collegium 1704, conducted by Václav Luks. Their different purposes (the first being a wedding cantata, the other two sacred works) notwithstanding, the three cantatas featured on the album have something in common: each of them in a way treats one of the possible forms of joy. Bach’s musical world is close to Martina Janková’s sensibility and voice – both in virtuoso coloratura passages (Jauchzet Gott) and fine expressive nuances (Ich habe genug). The live recording further augments the immediate experience with encountering Bach’s beautiful and inimitable music.

“Jankova has a pleasing voice - at best exhibiting some real quality, especially as Weichet nur progresses...[she] exhibits genuine warmth and coloratura in Jauchzet. Indeed, roulades of semiquavers present few obstacles to her...Collegium 1704 perform with enduring discipline and no little vitality.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

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JS Bach: Harpsichord Concertos

JS Bach: Harpsichord Concertos


Bach, J S:

Keyboard Concertos Nos. 1-7 BWV1052-1058


Zuzana Růžičková (harpsichord) & Miloslav Klement, Karel Klement (recorder)

Prague Chamber Soloists, Václav Neumann

Recorded in Prague at the Rudolfinum, December 19–23, 1966 (Concertos Nos 3 and 4), June 27–28, 1967 (No. 6), June 30, 1967 (No. 7), July 1, 1967 (No. 5), September 14 and 19, 1968 (Nos 1 and 2)

Bach saved my life… You always feel in his music that God is present somehow.” This is not empty declamation. It is a deep confession of harpsichord player Zuzana Růžičková, a survivor of the inconceivable horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. She always felt that Bach’s music was one of the things that helped her survive.

Zuzana Růžičková gave new life to Bach’s music by persistently promoting the use of harpsichord (as opposed to commonly used piano) in performing Bach repertoire in concert. She was the very first person to initiate the gigantic project of recording the complete harpsichord concertos composed by Bach.

Zuzana Růžičková understands the deep inner order and the hidden emotionality of Bach’s music so well that her recordings of his works remain no less inspiring at the present time.

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