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Sergei Sergeievitch Prokofiev (1891-1953)

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Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky & Sinfonia Concertante

Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky & Sinfonia Concertante


Prokofiev:

Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78

Vera Soukupová (mezzo-soprano)

Prague Philharmonic Choir

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

André Navarra (cello)


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Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Prokofiev:

Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 'Classical'

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat major, Op. 10

Sviatoslav Richter (piano)

Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16

Dagmar Baloghova (piano)


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Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet Suites and Peter & the Wolf

Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet Suites and Peter & the Wolf


Prokofiev:

Romeo and Juliet - Suite No. 1, Op. 64a: Death of Tybalt

Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67

Eric Shilling (narrator)

Romeo and Juliet - Suite No. 2, Op. 64b


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Prokofiev - String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2

Prokofiev - String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2


Prokofiev:

String Quartet No. 1 in B minor, Op. 50

Sonata for Two Violins in C Major, Op. 56

String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 92


The Pavel Haas Quartet, one of the very finest chamber ensembles of the present time, earned for their first two CDs of the quartets of Janácek and Pavel Haas numerous prestigious accolades (Classic FM Gramophone Award, BBC Music Magazine Award, Cannes MIDEM Classical Award, etc.).

With the Prokofiev pieces featured on this album the Quartet has for the first time entered the field of the Russian (or, if you will, international) repertoire. Prokofiev plunged into writing his first quartet in 1930 during his first sojourn in America on the basis of a commission from the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

The “classical” sounding work blends the easily distinguishable inspiration by Beethoven’s quartets and the typically Prokofievian pungency and lyricism. The duet, written in Paris, is an inconspicuous yet masterly small-scale work of art and alongside Bartok’s 44 violin duets ranks among the paramount opuses of this genre.

The second quartet came into being in 1941 in the Caucasus, where the Soviet government had moved the artistic elites and their families so as to protect them against the Nazi onslaught. Here Prokofiev came across untouched folk material which he sensitively, humbly and with the precise degree of artistic stylisation incorporated into the “Kabardinian” quartet.

Their sheer musicality and ferocious youthful energy make the Pavel Haas Quartet an ideal interpreter of these gems of Prokofiev’s chamber oeuvre.

“...a performance of tremendous musical energy: robust, well characterised and exact.” The Independent on Sunday, 17th January 2010

“Their tone is large, quasi-orchestral. They take risks; often they play fast. Above all, they play with passion...Semi-quavers scurry, all sinews showing. Fortissimo attacks blast your socks off...Gloriously invigorating and a great antidote to the winter blues.” The Guardian, 29th January 2010 ****

“beautifully performed... fierce intensity and fierce clarity go hand in hand” Sunday Times, 31st January 2010 ***

“Prokofiev's Second Quartet is one of the most immediately attractive quartets in the repertoire. In the wondrous Adagio the cello line rises high, ghostly melodic statements in octaves can expose the smallest tuning difficulties and pizzicati needs must sparkle like ice. The young players pass every test before dispatching the inventive finale with equal aplomb... The strenuously wrought First Quartet comes off just as well. The concluding Andante... is rarely tackled with the passion you find here. Of the small clutch of "classic" performances of the component pieces, none is more usefully programmed than the present disc, nor so naturally recorded. Why hesitate?” Gramophone Magazine, March 2010

“there is a fairly high level of intensity in these Prokofiev works for the young Czech players to meet, and they rise vividly to the challenge...it's probably right that [they] feel its ebb and flow with passionate engagement.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2010 *****

GGramophone Awards 2010

Finalist - Chamber

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - March 2010

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Supraphon - SU39572

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Prokofiev: Symphonies Nos. 1 - 7 (Complete)

Prokofiev: Symphonies Nos. 1 - 7 (Complete)


The life of Sergey Prokofiev in seven symphonies – and in one of the first complete recordings.

Sergey Prokofiev’s seven symphonies reflect all the stylistic transformations along his artistic path – from a “modernist”, whose works echo the headlong development of music in the first two decades of the 20th century, to the mature creator of Symphony No. 7 (1951/52), characterised by melodiousness and freedom of expression.

While the Scythian Suite, with its harshly “barbarian” aggressiveness, is the work of a young innovator, the simple Haydn-like melody treatment and lucid texture of the First Symphony, which the twenty-five-year-old Prokofiev referred to as “Classical”, made it perhaps his most frequently performed work, one that anticipated the neo-Classical trend in modern music.

Despite Prokofiev’s endeavour to create new “great music” devoid of complexity and accessible to the people, his later compositions were constantly fiercely criticised for being “formalist”. Zdeněk Košler drew attention to his artistry by winning globally prestigious competitions (Besançon, New York), as well as by assisting Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic.

His Prokofiev with the Czech Philharmonic is one of the very first complete recordings of the composer’s symphonic works. The newly remastered sound confirms its timeless qualities.

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Supraphon - SU40932

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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

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Great Czech Conductors: Martin Turnovský

Great Czech Conductors: Martin Turnovský


Bizet:

Jeux d'enfants (Petite Suite), Op. 22

Prague Symphony Orchestra

Hindemith:

Trauermusik

Ladislav Černý (viola)

Prague Chamber Orchestra

Ibert:

Concerto for Cello & Wind Instruments

Chamber Harmony

Martinu:

Symphony No. 4

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

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

André Navarra (cello)

Chamber Harmony

Tre Ricercari

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Myslivecek:

Sinfonia in D major

Prague Chamber Orchestra

Prokofiev:

Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63

Ladislav Jásek (violin)

Prague Symphony Orchestra

Saint-Saëns:

Le carnaval des animaux

Pavel Štěpán, Ilja Hurník (piano)

Prague Symphony Orchestra


Martin Turnovský

A Czech conductor who excelled worldwide. Martin Turnovsky recordings for the first time on CD.

Paradoxically, a greater opportunity to witness the artistry of the remarkable Czech conductor Martin Turnovsky, whose teachers included Karel Ančerl and George Szell, has been afforded to audiences abroad.

After winning the international conducting competition in Besancon (1958), he had to wait almost a decade for the real launch of his international career, since the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia prevented him from travelling around the world.

He was chief conductor of the Dresdner Staatskapelle and Staatsoper, and, after emigrating to the West at the end of the 1960s, led the Operas in Oslo and Bonn, guest-conducted the New York Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and other major orchestras. Only after the regime change in Czechoslovakia in 1989 could he renew his work with orchestras on home soil. In the 1960s he made numerous recordings for Supraphon. The majority of those presented on these discs are now available on CD for the first time. They bear witness to Turnovsky’s distinct talent, which several years later would dazzle to the full in front of the world’s most renowned orchestras.

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Supraphon Great Czech Conductors - SU40822

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Jean-Pierre Rampal in Prague – The Complete Supraphon Recordings

Jean-Pierre Rampal in Prague – The Complete Supraphon Recordings


Benda, Franz:

Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord in F major

Viktorie Švihlíková (harpsichord)

Flute Concerto in E minor

Prague Chamber Orchestra, Milan Munclinger

Feld:

Flute Concerto

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Václav Jiráček

Prokofiev:

Flute Sonata in D major, Op. 94

Alfréd Holeček (piano)

Richter, F X:

Sonate da camera No. 3 in A major

Viktorie Švihlíková (harpsichord)

Flute Concerto in D major

Prague Chamber Orchestra, Milan Munclinger

Rosetti:

Flute Concerto in D major

Prague Chamber Orchestra, Václav Neumann

Stamitz, C:

Flute Concerto in G major, Op. 29

Prague Chamber Orchestra, Martin Turnovský


Jean Pierre Rampal (flute)

Golden memories of Jean-Pierre Rampal’s time in Prague – legendary recordings, newly digitally remastered.

During his very first trip across the Iron Curtain, the French flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal (1922–2000), made friends with Milan Munclinger, an outstanding Czech musician, with whom he shared a passion for Baroque music. Owing to Munclinger’s initiative, on 31 May 1955 Rampal performed alongside the pianist Alfred Holecek before the packed auditorium within the Prague Spring festival. The very next day, Rampal made the first in his series of recordings for Supraphon, which featured Prokofiev’s Sonata. Until 1956, he made premiere recordings of sonatas by František Benda and F. X. Richter, concertos by Carl Stamitz and F. A. Rosetti, as well as, and most significantly – with the Prague Chamber Orchestra conducted by Munclinger – concertos by Richter and Benda. The latter two were extraordinary indeed, as evidenced by the international critical acclaim: the album went on to receive the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros.

Rampal’s final Supraphon album, made with the Czech Philharmonic in April 1958, contains the flute concerto by the then 33-year-old Jindrich Feld, who primarily gained global recognition thanks to Rampal. The phenomenal French flautist would continue to come to Prague in the following years to give concerts and to meet his close friends among Czech musicians.

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Josef Špaček plays Smetana, Janáček & Prokofiev

Josef Špaček plays Smetana, Janáček & Prokofiev

Recorded at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, December 2012.


Janacek:

Violin Sonata

with Miroslav Sekera (piano)

Prokofiev:

Sonata in D major for solo violin, Op. 115

Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80

with Miroslav Sekera (piano)

Smetana:

From the Homeland - two duos for violin and piano

with Miroslav Sekera (piano)


Josef Špaček (violin)

Janáček, Smetana, Prokofiev – Josef Špaček’s “Slavonic debut”.

Still only 26, the violinist Josef Špaček has already covered an enormous amount of ground. After completing his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, he attended Itzhak Perlman’s class at the Juilliard School in New York, and he has given solo performances under the baton of outstanding conductors (Bělohlávek, Eschenbach, Honeck, Hrůša).

In 2009 he won the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), in May 2012 he became a laureate of the closely observed Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and in the same year led the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra as concert master at the chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek’s inauguration concerts. For his Supraphon debut, Josef Špaček has chosen works by Slavonic composers. The two duets from Smetana’s From My Homeland are considered the counterpart to his cycle My Country, while Janáček’s Sonata, which was introduced to the world by Paul Hindemith as a soloist, is evidently the most frequently performed Czech violin sonata. And when it comes to Prokofiev, the Russian master’s music is a truly heartfelt matter for Špaček (as a soloist, he has executed both of his concertos). The pianist Miroslav Sekera is a wonderful partner to Špaček on the recording, as are the superb and inspiring acoustics of the Dvořák Hall of Prague’s Rudolfinum.

“Špaček and Sekera are very much on home ground with Janacek's Sonata, taking it much less forcefully than some performers do and reaching into the music, past the typically abrupt gestures, to its lyrical centre...They relax with Smetana's two agreeable pieces” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Supraphon - SU41292

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Stravinsky & Prokofiev: Piano Works

Stravinsky & Prokofiev: Piano Works


Prokofiev:

Four Etudes, Op. 2

Piano Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84

Stravinsky:

Le Chant du Rossignol

Études (4) for piano, Op. 7


Veronika Böhmová (piano)

Recorded at the Martinů Hall, Academy of Music Prague, September 14-15 and October 26- 27, 2013.

Veronika Böhmová immediately enchants you with her sheer vivacity – both when you meet her face to face and when seeing her playing the piano. In addition to her teachers (Ivan Klánský, Arkadi Zenzipér), she has also gained experience with a number of other remarkable pianists (Berman, Béroff, Hellwig, etc.).

The conductors with whom she has performed include Jiří Bělohlávek, Jakub Hrůša and Paul Goodwin. Her most significant successes are second prizes at the Maria Canals Competition in Barcelona and the Anton G. Rubinstein Wettbewerb in Dresden and progressing to the semifinal of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Following her debut at the Prague Spring and on numerous renowned stages throughout Europe, Veronika Böhmová has now made her eagerly anticipated debut recording.

Like the pianist herself, the selected repertoire is unusual: besides Prokofiev’s weighty “war” Sonata No. 8 and Stravinsky’s fiendishly difficult piano version of Le chant du rossignol, the CD features the two Russian composers’ rarely played yet brilliant etudes. The album is an exquisite delicacy served on a silver tray to real gourmets and connoisseurs.

Veronika Böhmová’s debut recording – a fresh new take on Stravinsky and Prokofiev.

“Böhmová has much fun with [the Etudes], for both sets are really spirited releases of creative energy rather than anything more serious...Böhmová also responds with great subtlety to Stravinsky's arrangement of his The Song of the Nightingale...An interesting and attractive record.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2014

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