Czech Songs

Release Date: 07-06-2024
PTC: 5187077
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Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)

Evening Songs, Op. 3

15) No. 7, Když jsem se díval do nebe (When I looked into the sky; orchestrated by Jiří Gemrot) 1:54
16) No. 1, Umlklo stromů šumění (The trees fell silent; orchestrated by Jiří Gemrot) 2:43
19) No. 4, Když Bůh byl nejvíc rozkochán (When God was in a happy mood; orchestrated by Jiří Gemrot) 3:35

Songs, Op. 2 (orchestrated by Jiří Gemrot)

20) No. 2, Ó byl to krásný zlatý sen (Oh, it was a lovely, golden dream) 2:45
21) No. 6, Mé srdce často v bolesti (My heart often broods in pain) 3:35

Hans Krása (1899-1944)

Gideon Klein (1919-1945)

Total Tracks 26
Total Duration 01hr 01min

Album information


Magdalena Kožená presents a recital of Czech songs, together with the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. 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 Martinů’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 US, 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 good old Antonín Dvořák, 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 marvellously bring out all the colours, while Kožená once more showcases her mastery in vernacular song.

Czech Songs is star mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená’s sixth album as part of her exclusive collaboration with Pentatone, after having presented the baroque cantatas recital album Il giardino dei sospiri and the songs in chamber-musical setting project Soirée in 2019, as well as Nostalgia together with Yefim Bronfman in 2021 and the title role of Handel’s Alcina together with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre in 2024. The current album was preceded by Folk Songs (2023), on which she also joined forces with the Czech Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle. Rattle conducts the world’s greatest orchestras and, since 2019 has returned annually to conduct the Czech Philharmonic, of which he will become Principal Guest Conductor as of the 24/25 season. He made his recording debut as pianist on Pentatone alongside Magdalena Kožená on Soirée (2019). In 2022-23 Rattle and Magdalena Kožená were the Czech Philharmonic Artists in Residence. The Czech Philharmonic is one of the world’s orchestral gems, recognised for its rich tradition with the Czech masters as well as European repertoire.  Since 2022, the orchestra has released Mahler’s Fourth, Fifth, Second and First Symphony on Pentatone as part of a complete Mahler cycle to appear on the label.

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