Kapralova's music became public domain last year, and this change expedited several major initiatives celebrating the composer's life and music, resulting in an increased number of Kapralova projects overall. The most significant among these was the first English language book on the composer, published in November 2011 by Lexington Books, an academic press based in the United States. The Kapralova Companion, edited by Karla Hartl and Erik Entwistle, is a collection of biographical and analytical essays on the composer. Accompanied by an annotated catalog of works, annotated chronology of life events, bibliography, discography, and a list of published works, the book is an essential, comprehensive guide to Kapralova's life and music. Besides contributions by Hartl and Entwistle and a foreword by Michael Beckerman of New York University, the chapters have been written by Judith Mabary of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Timothy Cheek of the University of Michigan School of Music, and Jindra Bartova of the Janacek Academy of Performing Arts.
The Companion was not the only publication put out last year. Amos Editio in Prague published not just one but two Kapralova scores in 2011: Five Piano Pieces (from 1931-32), edited by Veroslav Nemec; and a piano and voice version of Kapralova's orchestral song Smutny vecer (Sad Evening, from 1936), reconstructed and prepared for publication by Timothy Cheek. Both projects were initiated and financially assisted by the Society. In addition, Czech Radio published Kapralova's melodrama for reciter, violin, and piano, from 1939, dedicated to the memory of Czech writer Karel Capek. In Germany, Egge-Verlag made available Kapralova's Trio for Woodwinds (from 1937), reconstructed by Stephane Egeling, principal oboist of the Aachen Symphony Orchestra and a member of Trio Lezard, while Certosa Verlag made available Kapralova's piano miniatures Zwei Blumenbouquets (Two bouquets of flowers, from 1935). In Toronto, the Society published the second edition of Kapralova's piano miniature Little Song (Pisnicka, from 1936) whose first edition, originally published in 1936 in Brno as a part of a collection of piano literature for children, has been long out of print. This witty, playful piece in ABA form (hence the title) can be downloaded free from the Society website.
Last year, the Society also assisted the release of a profile CD of the composer, a project undertaken in partnership with the Czech Radio label Radioservis. The all-Kapralova disc, the fourth since 1998, also includes two CD world premieres: Piano Concerto in D Minor, op. 7, and Three Piano Pieces, op. 9. Sonata Appassionata, op. 6, and the Variations sur le Carilon de l'eglise St-Etienne du Mont, op. 16, complete the disc. All works, but especially the piano concerto, beautifully rendered by Alice Rajnohova (who was a major force behind this project) and the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic conducted by Tomas Hanus, will delight Kapralova enthusiasts. Another recording with Kapralova's music was released in a limited edition by the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society in Madison, Wisconsin. The CD includes Kapralova's Elegy for violin and piano performed by Frank Almond and Jeffrey Sykes, thus becoming the third release of the piece since it was first put out in 2008 by Koch Records and Albany Records.
There were also two concert premieres in 2011. Kapralova's Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, from 1937-38, was given its world premiere by Trio Lezard during the Mitte Europa Festival in Decin, Czech Republic. Her orchestral song Smutny vecer (Sad Evening, from 1936), was performed for the first time (in a version for voice and piano) by Kimberly Haynes and Timothy Cheek at the University of Wisconsin. Other important performances included a Toronto premiere of Kapralova's string quartet by the Kapralova Quartet; and a Canadian premiere of Partita that was given a strong performance by Sara Davis Buechner, a former student of the late Rudolf Firkusny. She was accompanied by Sinfonia Toronto under the baton of Maestro Nurhan Arman at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Both premieres in Canada were financially assisted by the Society.
Kapralova's music was also programmed at two summer music festivals last year: the first, Concentus Moraviae (a chamber music festival based in thirteen cities in Moravia, Czech Republic), programmed Kapralova's ritornel for cello and piano; the second, the Mitte Europa Festival - a chamber music festival organized in several cities on either side of the border between the Czech Republic and Germany - presented the composer's reed trio. Kapralova's music was also introduced at the Spring Symposium organized by the University of Michigan School of Music (poster presentation by Nicholas Skorina) and at the 11th Czech and Slovak International Voice Competition (with semifinals taking place at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the finals in Montreal, Canada). The Society participated in this biannual event by sponsoring one of the competition prizes. The Kapralova Society Award is given to the best interpreter of a Kapralova art song. In 2011, it was awarded to Canadian soprano Lida Szkwarek, a graduate of the University of Western Ontario's Don Wright Faculty of Music.
Kapralova's music was also featured in eight radio broadcasts, and the participating radio stations included three national broadcasts. Among last year's broadcasts, the most important were the BBC Radio 3 series Private Passions on September 25, and the Czech Radio 3's live broadcast on December 14, of a special gala concert dedicated to songs and piano music of Kapralova and Martinu. The aforementioned BBC program also featured an interview with Simon Mawer whose novel Glass Room, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2009 and translated into Czech the same year, draws attention also to the life and music of Vitezslava Kapralova. During the program, the composer's oeuvre was represented by the first movement of her neoclassical Partita for Piano and Strings, op. 20.
Kapralova's music was also reviewed in several music magazines and online platforms in 2011. One review, written by Tomas Kabrt for the Czech musical monthly Harmonie, reported on the world premiere of Kapralova's trio for woodwinds. Other reviewers focused on CD recordings of Kapralova's art songs. Two reviewers took interest in the Women of Firsts CD, produced by Centaur Records in 2008 and featuring Kapralova's song cycle Forever (reviews by Marco del Vaglio for Critica Classica and Agire, and by Michelle Latour for the Kapralova Society Journal); and two writers reviewed the 2003 recording of complete songs by Supraphon (Doundou Tchil reviewed the disc for Cassical Iconoclast and Michelle Latour for the Kapralova Society Journal).
In addition to these reviews, several articles and texts on Kapralova's music were published in 2011. Kapralova Society Journal alone published several texts on the subject. The spring issue featured Tereza Jandura's analytical article “Kaprálová's Jablko s klína, op. 10,” based on her doctoral dissertation and providing an interesting insight into one of the most diverse song cycles composed by Kapralova. The fall issue featured another insigthful analysis of one of Kapralova's art songs, this time by Michelle Latour (“Kaprálová's song Leden”), and the article “Kaprálová's Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon,” by Stephane Egeling, that explores the history and background of Kapralova's only work for reed trio. Furthermore, the Czech Radio weekly Tydenik Rozhlas printed Karla Hartl's article “Unikatni Vitezslava Kapralova” about the reception of Kapralova's Piano Concerto in D Minor when it was first performed in 1935 in Brno.Women in Music
In 2011, the Society put out the ninth volume of its online journal of women in music, The Kapralova Society Journal, publishing research by Tereza Jandura, Michelle Latour, and Stephane Egeling. The Society's online resources on women in music continue to be a main attraction for visitors to our website and are frequently bookmarked by online discussion groups and blogs, and linked to by public and college libraries worldwide.Acknowledgement:
We would like to thank the following artists who performed Kapralova's music in Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, and the United States in 2011 (in alphabetical order): Nurhan Arman, Louise Andree Baril, Margie Beral, Sara Buechner, Tina Chang, Timothy Cheek, Steve Couch, Jan Creutz of Trio Lezard, Adrian van Dongen, Stephane Egeling of Trio Lezard, Peter Geisselbrecht, Stefan Hoffmann of Trio Lezard, Milada Jedlickova, Kapralova Quartet, Teiya Kasahara, Ema Katrovas, Canon Mark Laubach, Isabelle Leclerc, Cassandra Lemoine, Timothy Lissimore, Chloe Moore, Kripa Nageshwar, Ondrej Olos, Jessica Louise Paul, Barbora Polaskova, Andrea Priechodska, Alice Rajnohova, Michael Shannon, Sinfonia Toronto, Skampa Quartet, Whitney-Leigh Sloan, Rachel Storlie, Lida Szkwarek, Carol Tome, Kylie Toomer, Elizabeth Veilleux, Ladislava Vondrackova, Jana Wallingerova, and Chie Watanabe.
We also wish to thank our partners, friends, and all the others who assisted our efforts in 2011: Agire, allmusic.com, Amos Editio, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Sarah Baer, Jindra Bartova, BBC Radio 3, Michael Beckerman, Ales Brezina, Timothy Cheek, Classical Iconoclast, Concentus Moraviae Festival, Critica Classica, Samantha Crownover, Liane Curtis, Czech Radio (Studio Brno), Czech Radio (Studio Pilsen), Czech Radio 3 (Vltava), Thea Derks, Egge-Verlag Coblenz am Rhein, Erik Entwistle, Judith Fiehler, Eugene Gates, Barry Gorman, Laura Grzybowski, Harmonie, Paul Hartl, Jan Hlavac, Tereza Jandura, Journal of the IAWM, Tomas Kabrt, David Kanovsky, Katerina Konopaskova, Konzervator Olomouc, Michelle Latour, Lenore Lautigar, Lexington Books, Sarah Meredith Livingston, Luther College, Judith Mabary, Jiri Macek, Erin Maher, James Manheim, Bohuslav Martinu Foundation, Bohuslav Martinu Society (Brno), Simon Mawer, Eve Meyer, Jaroslav Mihule, Mitte Europa Festival, Veroslav Nemec, Nocturnes in the City, Alain Nonat, Olomoucky denik, Pennsylvania State University, Pavla Quinn, Radio Proglas, Radio Vara 4, Radioservis, Tomas Reznicek, Martin Rosen, Jan-Olof Sjostrom, Nicholas Skorina, Ian Stewart, Doundou Tchil, Théâtre Lyrichorégra 20, Emily Threinen, University of Michigan, University of North Texas College of Music, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marco del Vaglio, Alena Vesela, WPRB Princeton, and ZUS Vitezslavy Kapralove.
Prepared by Karla Hartl, Chair, The Kapralova Society. Toronto, January 2012.