With the gradual return of live audience performances after two years of global pandemic, the year 2022 was a success that surpassed all expectations: more than eighty performances, broadcasts and events took place last year, with the legendary musicians Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma among the many performers of Kapralova’s music. The year started in style with the Musee de l’homme exhibition Portraits de France that continued in Paris from the previous year. The exhibition featured 58 refugee and immigrant women and men (out of 318 considered individuals) who were selected for their contribution to the “great national story of the Republic of France” over the past three centuries. Kaprálová was the only Czech that made the final cut. Much was also happening on the recording front: the year saw as many as five new CD releases, including a new complete collection of Kapralova’s solo piano music. Furthermore, Czech Radio made available second, revised editions of Kapralova’s only string quartet and the melodrama Karlu Capkovi, while Schott published a multivolume, graded anthology of piano music by women composers, with Kapralova’s April Prelude no. 2 included in the third volume. All four of the April Preludes are now included in the piano examination syllabus of Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music, which is not a small achievement, given that the Royal Conservatory examinations are not only conducted across Canada and the U.S., but also in Korea and other parts of Asia, so the repertoire included in the syllabus becomes widely known among teachers and students in those countries.Performances
April Preludes, Ritournelle for cello and piano, Sonata Appassionata, and Suita Rustica were the most frequently performed compositions by Kapralova in 2022. Antonio Oyarzabal, Samantha Ege, and Sam Haywood were among the biggest promoters of the composer’s music, giving it a number of performances in the course of the year. Several country premieres also took place last year: the Austrian premiere of Kapralova’s reed trio in Musikverein Vienna, performed by Lorenz Maderthaner, Dmytro Kyryliv, and Koda Miyzazaki; the British premiere of Suita Rustica, given by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Elena Schwarz; the Canadian premiere of Ritournelle for cello and piano by Canadians Brian Manker and Angela Park; the Peruvian premiere of April Preludes by British pianist Sam Haywood; the Irish premiere of Sonata Appassionata by British pianist Samantha Ege; and the Finnish premiere of Sad Evening (a version for voice and piano) by Finnish duo Emma Hartikainen and Tanja Niiranen, and of Suite en miniature, by Kuopion kaupunginorkesteri conducted by Mihhail Gerts. Other highlights of the year included performances of Suita Rustica by the Halle Orchestra and Jonathan Bloxhnam in Cardiff, a superb rendition of Kapralova’s Legend by Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman, accompanied on piano by Ieva Jokubaviciute during their "Women’s Voices from Eastern Europe" recital at Duke, and a wonderfully lyrical rendition of Ritournelle by the legends of classical music performance—Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma—during the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood concert series last summer.Broadcasts
There were 17 radio broadcasts of Kapralova’s music in 2022. Participating broadcasters were from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States, and included 6 national broadcasters: BBC Radio, Radio Nacional (Argentina), Radio Nacional de Espana, Czech Radio, Radio France, and WDR. Among several radio programs on Kapralova produced last year by WDR 3, Classic Praha, and Czech Radio 3, the latter offered once again the best quality: the 47-minute documentary "Vitezslava Kapralova, osobnost Francie," on the composer’s years in France, and the 58-minute radio feature, a part of the documentary series "Vizitka," reflecting on Kapralova's life and music.Recordings
Last year saw as many as five releases (and re-releases) of Kapralova’s music. In February, First Hand Records made available the first volume of Sarah Cahill’s women’s voices recording project, "The Future is Female," which included two of Kapralova’s April Preludes. Also in February, Chandos Records released "Pohadka—Tales from Prague to Budapest," an album of violoncello and piano music that featured Kapralova’s song For Ever in a skilfull arrangement for cello and piano, performed by Laura van der Heijden and Jams Coleman. In March, Naxos released (or rather repackaged) a 10-volume set of piano music entitled "Three Centuries of Female Composers" (disc 8/10 was the Diapason d’or disc of Giorgio Koukl, first released in 2017 with our Society’s support). In May, Claves Records released "Opus 1 feminin," the brainchild of Kathrin Schmidlin (Five Piano Pieces). Finally, in June, EuroArts released an album of complete piano music by Kapralova, performed by Leonie Rettig Karatas. The disc, entitled "La Vita. Leonie Karatas plays Vitezslava Kapralova," offers new readings of Kapralova’s piano works in highly accomplished performances. This recording was also financially assisted by the Society.Publications
Last year, Czech Radio Publishing House published revised editions of Kapralova’s melodrama Karlu Capkovi (1939) and her String Quartet, op. 8. The new edition of the quartet includes important revisions by Marta Blalock, a violinist and string quartet player, whose analytical dissertation was dedicated to the work. While the first edition may still be available from some distributors and retailers, performers are strongly advised to request the second, revised edition. Also in 2022, Schott published a 3-volume graded anthology of piano music by women, edited by Melanie Spanswick. The third volume included Kapralova’s April Prelude no. 2.Reviews
The following performances, publications, and recordings received favourable reviews in 2022: The Halle Orchestra’s performance of Suita Rustica in Wales Arts Review (Nigel Jarrett), Cymru (Peter Collins), and Ilkley Gazette (Geoffrey Mogridge). The Women in Music Anthology was reviewed in the IAWM Journal (Judith Mabary); the Czech Radio’s and Klic Books’ publications Vitezslava Kapralova: Tematicky katalog skladeb a korespondence s nakladateli and Kauza Kapralova v dobove korespondenci a dokumentech were both reviewed in Muzikologicke forum (Karel Steinmetz) and Hudebni veda (Barbora Vackova). The Chandos recording was reviewed in Ludwig van Toronto (Norman Lebrecht), BBC Music Magazine, and MusicWeb International (Leslie Wright), and became Presto Editor’s Choice for February 2022. The Claves disc was reviewed in La Liberte, Schweizer Musikzeitung (Sybille Ehrismann), MusicWeb International (Rob Challinor), and Fono Forum (Dorothee Riemer). The EuroArts recording was reviewed by Brigitte Magazine, Piano, MusicWeb International (Jonathan Wolf), and the Kapralova Society Journal (George Henderson). The First Hand Records disc was reviewed in BBC Music Magazine (Rebecca Franks); and Clavier’s 2018 release of Kapralova’s melodrama Karlu Capkovi was reviewed in Klassik (Christiane Franke). Finally, the Naxos’ 2021 release of Kapralova’s orchestral music was still garnering rave review in 2022, printed in Fanfare (Peter J. Rabinowitz), Contemporary Classical (Thea Derks), MusicWeb International (Stephen Greenbank), and Harmonie (Veroslav Nemec).
Women in Music
In 2022, we published the anniversary, twentieth volume of the Kapralova Society Journal. The winter issue opened with Karla Hartl’s feature "The Power of Advocacy in Music: The Case of Vitezslava Kapralova" and published Tom Moore’s article on the life and music of Laure Brice, his latest addition to our journal series Women of the 19th Century Salon. The issue was rounded off with the usual In Review section, with contributions by Judith Mabary and George Henderson. The summer issue included a feature by Diana Ambache, "Les Parisiennes: French Women Composers of the Long Nineteenth Century," Anja Bunzel’s essay "Roubalova 100, Wanklova 100, Tomaskova 150? Exploring Women’s Contributions to Nineteenth-Century Musical Culture in the Czech Lands," and Jessica Edgar’s "Alone, Together: the Dis/embodied Soprano Voice in Oxbridge Chapel Choirs," as well as interviews with Patrick Reynolds (The Adore Project) and Kyra Steckeweh (her Agnes Tyrrell edition and the Dora Pejacevic film documentary). The In Review section included books and CD reviews by Serena Wang, Judith Mabary, and Samantha Ege.
We thank all of those who promoted the composer’s music and memory in 2022:
and: 91.9 Classical KC, ADORE Project, Diana Ambache, ArcoDiva, Auditorio Manuel de Falla, The Babel Flute, The Barbican, BBC Music Magazine, BBC Radio 3, Marta Blalock, Miriam Blumlova, Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Concert Series, Brigitte Magazine, Anja Bunzel, Vilma Campitelli, Castleton Festival, Rob Challinor, Chandos, Cheltenham Town Hall Concert Series, CKIA FM (Quebec), Classic FM (London), Classic Praha, Claves Records, Peter Collins, Contemporary Classical, Catherine Cooper, Czech Radio 3 (Vltava), Czech Radio (Brno Studio), Czech Radio (Ostrava Studio), Czech Radio Publishing House, Thea Derks, Duke University Department of Music, Jessica Edgar, Samantha Ege, Sibylle Ehrismann, Epiphany Center for the Arts, EuroArts, Fanfare, Finding a Voice, First Hand Records, Christiane Franke, Rebecca Franks, Yvan Gastaut, Eugene Gates, Stephen Greenbank, Harmonie, George Henderson, Jan Hlavac, Huntingdonshire Philharmonic, Ilkley Gazette, Nigel Jarrett, Klara (Belgium), Klassik, Klub moravskych skladatelu, Brooke Knoll, Robert Kolinsky, Giorgio Koukl, Krajska vedecka knihovna v Liberci, La Liberte, Norman Lebrecht, Leicester Museum and Gallery, Lichterfeld Foundation, Lieder Society, Ludwig van Toronto, Judith Mabary, Emmanuel Macron, Martinu Festival Policka, Martinu Festtage, Meeting Brno Festival, Mills College, Mississipi University for Women, Geoffrey Mogridge, Tom Moore, Musée de l’homme Paris, Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg (Florida), Music Academy of the West, Musica Non Grata, Music by Women Festival (Columbus), MusicWeb International, Musikverein Vienna, Muzikologicke forum, Nation/Cymru, Naxos (Grand Piano), Veroslav Nemec, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oxford Piano Festival, Presto Music, Prospero Classical, Peter J. Rabinowitz, Radio France, Radio Nacional Clasica (Argentina), Radio Nacional de Espana, Sharon J. Resch Institute of Music at UW-Green Bay, Research Group ACHAC, Patrick Reynolds, Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Sylvia Roth, RTVE Radio Classica, Schott, Schweizer Musikzeitung, Irodakhon Shamsieva, SHE Festival of Women in Music, Robert Skarda, Lucie Slivonova, Sociedad Filarmonica de Badajoz, Sociedas Filarmonica de Gran Canaria, Sociedas Filarmonica de Lima, Melanie Spanswick, Renata Spisarova Kotik, Spolecnost Bohuslava Martinu (Brno), Kyra Steckeweh, Karel Steinmetz, St. James’s Church Piccadilly, Marie Sykorova, Alice Tabery, Tribby Arts Center at Shell Point, University of Arkansas, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of South Carolina School of Music, University of Wisconsin at Green-Bay, Barbara Vackova, Jiri Vejvoda, Mahulena Vondraskova, Serena Wang, Wales Arts Review, WDR3, Wimbledon International Festival, Jonathan Wolf, Leslie Wright, and Petr Zaruba.
A report by Karla Hartl. In Toronto on December 26, 2022.