Martinu: Openings

Album cover art for upc 896931005883
Label: Navona
Catalog: NV6288
Format: COMPACT DISC

Jitro Czech Girls Choir; Vele, Ludek; Novotná, Jana; Jelínková, Martina; Houdek, Jiri; Strejcek, Alfred; Kubínová, Markéta; Skopal, Jirí; Häckl, Zdenek; Chrobák, Michal; Peruška, Jan; Pazdera, Jindrich; Horová, Ludmila; Kekula, Josef

Their fourth release with Navona Records, OPENINGS by the Jitro Czech Girls Choir and conductor Jirí Skopal presents the rich beauty of the Czech Republic’s national dances, folk texts, and songs for audiences around the world. Composer Bohuslav Martinu believed that music holds the power to open our minds to a new, transcendent understanding of time, nature, and tradition. The first piece on OPENINGS, Primrose does so with buoyant joy. The bright, airy timbre of the children’s choir is radiant, with lyrics that conjure up pastoral images of the beautiful Czech countryside. From the Czech word “petrklíc,” Primrose symbolizes Saint Peter’s key which opens the earth each spring as the ice and snow of winter recede. Next comes Songs for a Children’s Choir, composed by Martinu in Switzerland during 1959—the last year of his life. The piece borrows texts from collections of Czech folk songs and poetry, employing the tight, sculpted harmonies of Jitro. The album’s final track, Opening of Spring, relates the story of a springtime queen, laden with flowers, followed through the country hills by a procession of townspeople. OPENINGS is an apt title for this newest album by the Jitro Czech Girls Choir, not only because of its focus on spring and renewal, but also because it offers a portal through which listeners of all backgrounds may appreciate and enjoy the beauty of Czech culture. With technical precision and infectious exuberance, the girls of Jitro lovingly offer the songs and stories of their people to all who listen.

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