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Martinu: The Complete Piano Trios

Martinu: The Complete Piano Trios

Recorded at the Martínek Studio, Prague, between May 2015 and January 2016


Martinu:

Piano Trio No. 1 'Cinq pièces brèves', H. 193

Piano Trio No. 2 in D minor, H327

Bergerettes - Five Pieces for Violin, Cello and Piano

Piano Trio No. 3 in C major, H332


Smetana Trio: Jitka Čechová (piano), Jiří Vodička (violin) & Jan Páleníček (cello)

The complete set of Bohuslav Martinů’s piano trios affords a fascinating insight into the constant transformations of his musical idiom from the early 1930s to the 1950s, also giving testimony to the composer as a human and his particular mindset.

The first, five-movement, trio, Cinq pièces brèves (1930) was written in a carefree manner (within a mere ten days) and intuitively. It is the very first Martinů piece to reflect his penchant for Neo--‐Baroque music, so salient a trait of his later creations. The second trio, Bergerettes, comes across as surprisingly light-hearted, given the time of its coming into being – in February 1939, a month prior to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and half a year before the outbreak of World War II ... The last two piano trios, composed in the 1950s, bear all the features of Martinů’s mature musical phraseology. Trio No. 2, completed in 1950, ranks among the apices of Martinů’s Neo--‐Classicist period, while the structurally more complex Trio No. 3 (also known as the “Grand Trio”) has a concertante nature.

The recording of the complete Martinů trios was made by the renowned Smetana Trio, who masterfully render all the colour shades, from airiness to the broad lyrical cantilena typical of Martinů’s late works.

The first new Supraphon album of the complete Martinů piano trios in more than 30 years …

“The virtuoso demands of this hugely attractive music are meat and drink to these wonderful Czech musicians, including Jitka Cechova. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a better way to get to know this exhilarating and fresh music than from the hands, heads and hearts of the Smetanas.” Sunday Times, 3rd April 2016

“it's already obvious that the music for piano trio performed here by the Smetana Trio is going straight on the shortlist for 2016. Martinu's chamber music reveals originality at every turn; there's so much of it, but each new discovery — sonata, duo, trio, quartet, serenade — seems to unveil a gem….It's hard to imagine more ardent champions for this visceral, unpredictable music. And clear, warm sound is exactly what we've come to expect from the Supraphon label over the years.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2016 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - June 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Chamber Winner

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Supraphon - SU41972

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Smetana: Piano Works Volume 6

Smetana: Piano Works Volume 6


Smetana:

Six Characteristic Pieces for Piano, Op. 1

Woodland Feelings and Impressions

Caprice in G minor

Pensée fugitive

Album Leaves

March of the Prague Student Legion

March of the National Guard

Morceau caracteristique in C flat major

Romanza in B flat major

Erinnerung an Weimar (Memory on Weimar)


Recorded at the Martinek Studio, Prague, on November 26, 27, 29 and 30, and December 17–19, 2012. The sixth part of the Bedřich Smetana complete piano works series presents pieces composed in the 1840s, the time of the composer’s intensive studies and the outset of his independent artistic career. Dedicated to various persons (including Kateřina Kolařova, Smetana’s great love and future wife) are the Stammbuchblatter, lovely commemorative album leaves. Some of the pieces (Romance in B flat major, Woodland Feelings and Impressions) were published immediately; others were revised by Smetana and published later. Also dating from this period are the composer’s first larger virtuoso pieces (Allegro capriccioso, Caprice in G minor) and major work, the cycle Six morceaux caracteristiques, Op. 1. Smetana sent the autograph to Franz Liszt, who accepted the dedication with pleasure. The nimble hands of the pianist Jitka Čechova make ring the sheer virtuosity and engrossing poetics of the young Smetana’s piano works.

“The pleasure and manifold beauties of Smetana's fluent, idiomatic style are amply evident in his latest instalment...Cechova brings to this music a dignity and seriousness of purpose that recalls the great Firkušný.” International Record Review, September 2013

“it is always melodious and as music to unwind to it has much to recommend it, not least Supraphon's good, solid audio and Čechová's attractively romantic pianism.” MusicWeb International, 28th August 2013

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Supraphon Jitka Cechová Smetana Piano Works - SU38462

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Smetana: Piano Works Volume 7

Smetana: Piano Works Volume 7


Smetana:

3 Polkas poétiques,B95 Op. 8: Polka in E flat

Notturno in E flat major

Piano Sonata in G minor

Etude in C major

Etude in A minor 'in Liedform'

Sonatenform in C major

Sonatenform in B flat major

Sonatenform in A major

Rondos

Marches / Pochody


Recorded at the Martínek Studio, Prague, June and September, 2014.

“With God’s help and favour, I will one day be a Liszt in technique, a Mozart in composing,” so wrote Smetana in his diary in January 1843. This sentence reflects the sheer determination and confidence in his own talent that compelled the 19 year old composer – in defiance of his parents – to leave for Prague so as to continue his studies and eventually become one of the best-known Czech music creators. The beginning of his journey was fraught with tough, uncertain material conditions, and the young Smetana had to be tenacious indeed. Jitka Čechová’s new recording features early pieces written in 1845 and 1846, years of intensive study and the outset of Smetana’s independent artistic career. Many of them are being released on CD for the very first time; some of them were used by the composer in his later works or revised. The pianist Jitka Čechová has completed the seventh instalment of the currently most comprehensive recording of Bedřich Smetana’s piano works. Owing to her zest and faultless interpretation, we now have the opportunity to savour this remarkable and still underestimated layer of Smetana’s oeuvre within the context of the greatest 19th– century composers of piano music.

“Čechová gooses the variations on the Czech folksong, 'Sowing the millet' with perky accents, highlighted inner voices and some truly explosive octaves…no quirky detail of the sprawling, early and ambitious 30-minute G minor Sonata goes unnoticed on [her] watch…a fascinating and excellently produced instalment of an important cycle.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

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Supraphon Jitka Cechová Smetana Piano Works - SU38472

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Smetana: Piano Works Volume 5

Smetana: Piano Works Volume 5


Smetana:

Bagatelles and Impromptus for piano (8)

Galopp in D major

Galopp di bravoura

Louisen-polka

Georginen-polka

Erinnerung an Pilsen (Memory of Plzeň)

From a Student's Life, polka

Impromptu in E flat minor

Impromptu in B minor

Impromptu in A flat major

Mazurka Capriccio in C sharp minor

Duo sans mots (Duo without Words)

Walzer (1844)

Quadrille in F major

Quadrille in B flat major


The fifth CD of the complete piano works of Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) takes us back to the world of the composer’s student years. (Smetana wrote all the featured - and surprisingly mature - pieces before he had reached the age of twenty.) He introduces himself as a passionate dancer; the polkas, so typical of Smetana, as well as gallopades, waltzes and quadrilles, bear witness to the hectic social and musical life he led during his studies in Prague and Plzeň, where he was a sought-after pianist and was able to intensively develop his talent.

The first preserved composition is the Louisen Polka, followed by the Georginen Polka and Aus dem Studentenleben (From Student Life). The three Impromptus (1841-42) and Bagatelles et Impromptus (1844) are the first attempts to create compositions of a more serious nature and reflect Smetana’s inspiration by his musical idols (Chopin, Liszt, Schumann).

Even though young and a self-taught pianist, these early works reveal Smetana as a singular and inspired composer. The dancelike vigour and simple tenderness of these miniatures are rendered by the energetic pianist Jitka Čechová with an admirable naturalness and grace. Jitka Čechová discovers Bedřich Smetana’s early piano works on our behalf.

“Cechová certainly understands this repertoire and she pays due respect to Smetana's youthful efforts. Throughout this volatile repertoire, her virtuosity is impressive and she clearly commands a Romantic tone...The recorded sound is on the hard side, but this is certainly a very collectable issue.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2011 ****

“it is always melodious and as music to unwind to it has much to recommend it, not least Supraphon's good, solid audio and Čechová's attractively romantic pianism.” MusicWeb International, 28th August 2013

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Supraphon Jitka Cechová Smetana Piano Works - SU38452

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Jitka Cechová – Live at the Rudolfinum

Jitka Cechová – Live at the Rudolfinum


Brahms:

Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

Liszt:

Piano Sonata in B minor, S178

Mephisto Waltz No. 1


Recorded live at the Dvorák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague, on March 31, 2001 (Brahms) and on March 22, 2008 (Liszt). New recording / Live

Following the series of four CDs featuring Smetana piano works (Supraphon SU3841-44), the ebullient pianist and buttress of the highly acclaimed Smetana Trio, Jitka Cechová, decided to “take up the gauntlet” with a live concert recording, which deprives the performer of the comfort of detailed corrections in the studio. Owing to their sheer difficulty, Brahms’ and Liszt’s compositions are a great challenge for any renowned pianist.

The third (and final) sonata created by the 20-year-old Brahms and the one and only sonata by the 42-yearold Liszt originated in the very same year. Whereas the former met with a significant response, the latter had to struggle for more than half a century to gain a firm foothold in concert programmes. Today, both of the pieces are deservedly ranked among the apexes of Romantic piano music.

In Jitka Cechová’s masterful and inspired interpretation, enhanced by the splendid acoustics of Prague’s Rudolfinum, the recording is a truly fantastic experience.

“Cechová's interpretation comes over as rather lyrical and thoughtful, not seeking to overawe but to identify the emotional bedrock from which the massive superstructure arises... As far as wild bravura goes, she shows herself able to give her all with a barnstorming but rather choppy account of Mephisto Waltz No. 1” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 ****

“A romantic virtuoso who is never dull, her playing is fiercely energised and enthusiastic.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2010

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Supraphon - SU40212

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Smetana: Piano Works Volume 4

Smetana: Piano Works Volume 4


Smetana:

A Treasure of Melodies

Album Leaves, Op. 2

Album Leaves, Op. 3

Sketches, Op. 4

Sketches, Op. 5

3 Polkas de Salon,B94 Op. 7

3 Polkas poétiques,B95 Op. 8


Volume 4 of Jitka Cechová’s Aclaimed Smetana surgvey.

The dramaturgy of the fourth CD comprising Bedrich Smetana’s piano works also reflects the pedagogic activity that fully occupied him in the late 1840s and early 1850s. It gave rise to a host of charming compositions and cycles, rather small in proportion yet rich as regards the scale of moods, impressions, compositional techniques and expressive possibilities the composer gave rein to on these modest areas.

A significant group of compositions is formed by the generally popular Album Leaves, which at the time Smetana succeeded in publishing under different titles (Stammbuchblätter, Charakterstücke or Skizzen, dedicated to Clara Schumann).

The other group is formed by Polkas which, after the fashion of Chopin’s mazurkas, begin stylising and transforming into independent concertante formations of idealised dance (Trois polkas de salon, Trois polkas poétiques).

In the form of an easy-on-the-ear collage, the energetic young pianist and member of the renowned Smetana Trio Jitka Cechová Jitka Cechová offers another chapter of Smetana’s piano works in a gamut of colours and moods.

“Jitka Cechová's profound experience and feeling for this repertoire is evident throughout. Her blend of rhythmic spontaneity and subtle reflection imbues these relatively slight works with a remarkable depth reaching heights of eloquence in the elusive Three Poetic Polkas, Op. 8.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2009 *****

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Supraphon Jitka Cechová Smetana Piano Works - SU38442

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Smetana: Piano Works Volume 3

Smetana: Piano Works Volume 3


Smetana:

Czech dances for piano, books 1 & 2 (14)

Bettina Polka (1st version)

Venkovanka, The Peasant Woman - polka

Romance in G minor

Andante in F minor


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Supraphon Jitka Cechová Smetana Piano Works - SU38432

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Smetana: Piano Works Volume 2

Smetana: Piano Works Volume 2


Smetana:

Dreams

Album Leaves

Toccatina in B flat major, G major, G minor, E flat minor & B flat minor

Andante in E flat major B97

Polka in G minor

Polka in A major

Polka in F minor

Polka in E major

Hochzeitsszenen 'Wedding Scenes' T41/B64


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Supraphon Jitka Cechová Smetana Piano Works - SU38422

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Smetana: Piano Works Volume 1

Smetana: Piano Works Volume 1


Smetana:

Macbeth & The Witches

Vision at the Ball

Etude in C major

Bettina Polka (1st version)

The Curious One

Souvenirs (4) de Bohème en forme de polka Opp. 12 & 13 (B115-16)

Etude "At the seashore"

Fantasy on Czech Songs


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Supraphon Jitka Cechová Smetana Piano Works - SU38412

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