Czech Songs (CD) – Magdalena Kožená

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Item: 8717306260770

Description

Czech Songs (CD) – Magdalena Kožená

Composers: Antonín Dvorák, Bohuslav Martinu, Hans Krása, Gideon Klein
Artists: Magdalena Kožená, Czech Philharmonic
Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Pentatone
Release Date: April 19, 2024

Magdalena Kožená, Sir Simon Rattle and the Czech Philharmonic invite the listener on a journey through Czech song via works by Dvorák, Martinu, Krása and Klein, showing the diversity of this nation’s rich musical history, and incorporating influences from folklorism and Jewish heritage to avant-gardism and Japonisme. Many of the songs are presented here in rarely heard orchestrations, enhancing the colorful nature of these works.

The first impression of Czech songs may be atmospheric nature scenes, or stories about pretty peasant girls and village pranks, but the selection on this album demonstrates that the imagination of Czech song composers stretched far wider. For example, Bohuslav Martinu’s “Nipponari” were inspired by Japanese culture, whereas his folksy “Songs on One Page” obtain a deeper meaning knowing that he wrote them in the United States, having fled the Nazi threat. His colleagues and contemporaries Hans Krása and Gideon Klein did not manage to get away, and both died in concentration camps. 

Krása’s German-language “Four Orchestral Songs” show a fascination with nonsense verse typical of avant-garde circles in the early 1920s. Klein’s “Lullaby” can be traced back to Jewish folk songs, yet its musical realization displays an openness to French musical styles. 

And no Czech song recital would be complete without Antonín Dvorák, whose “Evening Songs” and “Songs, Op. 2” are included. Many of these works are best known with piano accompaniment but are presented here in orchestrations. The Czech Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle marvelously bring out all the colors, while Kožená showcases her mastery in vernacular song.



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