Martinu - Nipponari, Magic Nights, Czech Rhapsody

Album cover art for upc 099925395629
Catalog: SU3956
Format: CD

Dagmar Pecková – soprano, Lubica Rybarská – soprano, Ivan Kusnjer – baritone, Kühn Mixed Choir, Prague Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek

Nipponari – Cycle of seven songs for female voice and small orchestra, H 68 (1912) Magic Nights (Kouzelné noci) – Three songs on Chinese texts for soprano and orchestra H 119 (1918) Czech Rhapsody (Česká rapsodie)* – Cantata for baritone, mixed choir, organ and orchestra H 118 (1918)

Gramophone Editor's Choice - March 2009
All three of these compositions open the imaginative world of the young Martinů to the listener, providing a glimpse into his early works for voice and orchestra. Nipponari and Magic Nights were both inspired by exotic texts. The works of Japanese poets used in Nipponari are infused with a wistful, dreamy mood which is masterfully captured by Martinů’s unusual instrumentation and subtle compositional technique. For his Impressionistic Magic Nights he instinctively chose texts about sorrow in a distant land far from home, unaware that this theme would play a fateful role in his own life. Mahler, incidentally, drew on the same collection of poems for his song cycle Das Lied von der Erde. The general nationalistic fervor of 1918 and the thought of national independence are reflected in the Czech Rhapsody — released here for the first time on CD — particularly in his use of the Hymn “Saint Wenceslas” (patron saint of the Czech nation), and the premiere of this work was a tremendous success for Martinů.

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