“This final volume of Bohuslav Martinů's complete vocal music includes some rare gems. The three Apollinaire songs – La neige blanche, L’adieu and Saltimbanques – are recorded here for the first time; they were last performed by Anna Pečírková and Václav Štěpán in 1931. Maybe Martinů himself lent a helping hand in arranging that this music, considered lost for more than 85 years, was happily rediscovered just a few weeks before the final recording session. The music is surely the highlight of all the edition's five volumes.”
– Jana Hrochová, mezzo-soprano
“Sometimes a musical work is similar to a pearl. It is born out of hardship, pain and discomfort and, after a while, it becomes precious and admired. This is particularly true of some of Martinů’s songs, presented here for the first time, declared lost and recorded after more than 80 years of oblivion. I would like to imagine that this work of rediscovery – difficult, challenging and sometimes painful – will become one day like the pearl it should have been many, many years ago.”
Bohuslav Martinů honed his songwriting craft in between composing larger orchestral works, his yearning for home reflected in the Four Songs to Czech Folk Texts written during desperate times in the Second World War. Sourced from previously unpublished manuscripts, this unique programme presents world premiere recordings of earlier songs written during summer holidays in Polička, as well as the Three Songs after Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire, long thought to be lost but miraculously unearthed just weeks before this recording. Pianist Giorgio Koukl regards these songs as similar to pearls, ‘born out of hardship, pain and discomfort and, after a while, becoming precious and admired’.
Listen to Jaškova zpěvánka (Jašek's Song)
About the Artists
Mezzo-soprano Jana Hrochová gained her first singing experience in a children’s choir in the Moravian town of Šumperk. Her operatic roles have included appearances as Carmen (Carmen), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), The Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), Fenena (Nabucco) and Nicklausse (The Tales of Hoffmann), among others. She makes regular guest appearances at opera houses and on concert stages in Japan, Spain, Mexico, Greece, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Italy.
Giorgio Koukl is a pianist/harpsichordist and composer, who is now considered one of the world’s leading interpreters of Martinů’s piano music, having recorded that composer’s complete solo piano music, together with five discs of Martinů’s vocal music and two discs of his piano concertos. As a logical continuation of this work, Koukl has recorded the complete solo piano works of Paul Le Flem, Alexander Tcherepnin, Alexandre Tansman, Arthur Lourie, Vítězslava Kapralova and, most recently, Witold Lutosławski.
Previous releases in the Martinů Complete Songs edition
“Koukl is one of the world’s greatest interpreters of the composer’s music which is further demonstrated with this recording.
Jana Hrochová Wallingerová’s voice is absolutely right for this repertoire with her perfect diction.”
– MusicWeb International
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