Vitezslava Kapralova: Two Choruses for Women's Voices a cappella, op. 17. Kapralova Society KS-WAV-002.

Recorded 26 June 2023 at Vesmir Ostrava, Czech Republic. Released as Hi-Res audio on September 5, 2023 by © The Kapralova Society.

Performed by Canticum Ostrava (choirmaster Jurij Galatenko) conducted by Alena Hron

Sound Engineer: Pavel Kuncar
Liner notes: Karla Hartl
Produced for The Kapralova Society by the Janacek Philharmonic.

Please note that this music is in print. Click here for the complete discography of Kapralova's music.

Kapralova composed Dva zenske sbory, op. 17, the two choruses for women’s voices a cappella, during her studies at the Prague Conservatory Master School: “Vezdicka” is from March 1936 (noted in the composer’s diary on March 16), “Potpolis” from December 1936. Both place considerable demands on the singers in terms of intonation, rhythm, and diction, for Kaprálová did not concern herself with ease of execution, clearly giving preference to musical ideas over the technical possibilities of choral singing. Perhaps she did not expect them ever to be performed. Indeed, it was only at the request of her father, Vaclav Kapral, who wanted them to be included in the repertoire of a local women’s choir (possibly Vachuv sbor moravskych ucitelek) that she revisited the score more than a year later. Kapral, who was an experienced choirmaster, took the liberty of revising both pieces prior to sending them a few days before Christmas 1937 to Kapralova for approval. She was not pleased with the revisions, however, particularly disliking his interventions in “Vezdicka”: “As for the choruses, Dad, it’s a difficult matter,” she wrote to Vaclav Kapral in January 1938, “you must first send me my original for reference. I don’t like the way you corrected Vezdicka, for example. It’s too fractured, and it has too many climaxes, weakening the dynamics.” However, the cantata Ilena, Carillon variations, and a few other compositions, on which Kaprálová worked simultaneously in the early months of 1938, occupied her mind to such an extent that in March she eventually gave in for the lack of time: “There’s nothing that can be done for the choruses except either to completely recompose them or leave them as you corrected them. They are too difficult to sing. If you insist that they should be performed, so be it, but they will curse me like starlings.” Despite her self-criticism, Kaprálová eventually assigned the two choral pieces an opus number, thus acknowledging their indisputable quality, and included them in her catalogue.