Current reviews, listed in the order of their publication date, with the latest review on the top of the page. For reviews by year, follow the menu in the left column.
A stirring introduction to a nearly forgotten composer. 5 out of 5 stars.
Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, Julius Reubke, Guillaume Lekeu, Lili Boulanger…. Add Vítezslava Kaprálová to the list of promising composers who didn’t get past the age of 25. Born in 1915 in Brno, she was fortunate enough to be nourished by the musical aristocracy of her day. Her father (and first teacher) Václav Kaprál had been a student of Vítezslav Novák (himself a student of Dvorák), and young Kaprálová in turn went on to study composition with Novák, too, as well as with Bohuslav Martinu (who may or may not have become her lover) and perhaps Nadia Boulanger (sources differ). Chalabala, Talich, and Munch guided her studies as a conductor; and she was befriended by Rudolf Firkušný and championed by Rafael Kubelík.
A quick learner in a rich and supportive environment, she was certainly making a splash in the 1930s—virtually every biographical note reminds us that she conducted the BBC orchestra in her own Military Sinfonietta to lead off the 1938 ISCM festival in London (a concert that also included, among other things, the world premiere of Webern’s Augenlicht, conducted by Scherchen, and one of the first performances of Markevitch’s Nouvel âge). Her life was cut short in 1940, when she fell ill (perhaps tuberculous, perhaps typhoid fever) as she was trying to make an escape to America in the wake of the German occupation of Paris. But given the brevity of her life, her output was surprisingly large. This disc, titled Waving Farewell, offers a large chunk of her orchestral output.
What does it sound like? Many of its influences and kinships are what you might expect from a curious, adventurous pre-War Czech who spent time in France and who was loosening the constraints of 19th-century tonality without venturing into the avant-garde. You’ll hear traces Martinu (who exchanged ideas with her until the end) and Janácek, of course, but also of Debussy (there’s a touch of Pelléas-like brooding in Waving Farewell) and Les Six. There are also signs of the broader musical community of the day: some Szymanowski (in both of the heartfelt orchestral songs), early Schoenberg (the somber and texturally imaginative Prelude of the Suite harks back to Verklärte Nacht), and even perhaps the Grainger of The Warriors (in the Military Sinfonietta).
Yet while that list of composers gives a sense of the orbit she’s spinning in, it doesn’t really give a good sense of her confidence and independence. This CD includes music from 1935 (the Suite and the Concerto) to 1939 (Prélude de Noël), and while she’s assertive from beginning to end, you can hear a definite growth in authority and coherence, even in this short period. The four-movement Suite, a 1935 recasting of a five-movement piano work written when Kaprálová was 16, seems like four unconnected pieces, each calling for a different orchestral makeup, each intriguing on its own (especially that Prelude, for strings), but not casting much light on each other. And while it’s even more attractive and imposing, the 1935 Piano Concerto, for all its fluency and all the skill of its writing, does not quite hold together. There’s certainly plenty of guilty pleasure to be had in its pseudo-Rachmaninoff opening (looking ahead to such grandiose Hollywood concertos as Adinsell’s Warsaw Concerto and Rózsa’s Spellbound Concerto); but that high Romanticism fits uneasily with the Poulencian wit of the finale.
The Military Sinfonietta of 1936–37, while similarly wide-ranging in its combination of snarky swagger and sweet reminiscence, eerie threat and bold punch, has far more integrity, as do the two gorgeous songs. (Barry Brenesal’s exceptionally informative review of Kaprálová’s mature songs, which included the earlier voice-and-piano version of Waving Farewell, aptly referred to the work’s “astonishing mixture of intimacy, vulnerability, and strength”; Fanfare 28:3.) As for the lightweight Prélude de Noël: composed in a few hours in 1939 as a Christmas greeting to be broadcast from (so-far) free France to occupied Czechoslovakia, it shows not only her ability to work under pressure, but also her ability to shed light in dark times. Its cheer must have cost her a lot, given the circumstances.
All in all, this is a poignant memento of lost talent—but one well worth hearing for what we have as well as for what never came to be. These recordings have their roots in a Kaprálová Festival at the University of Michigan in September 2015, but the recording dates suggest that most, if not all, of the performances were recorded later in the academic year. And while the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra would never be mistaken for a major orchestra (ensemble can be rough, colors can be dulled), the enthusiasm is palpable. Nicholas Phan, who has gotten mixed reviews in these pages, sings with an infectious ardor, and Amy I-Lin Cheng knocks off the Piano Concerto with aplomb. Through it all, conductor Kenneth Kiesler shows commitment to the cause. Notes are very detailed (get your magnifying glass out); and texts and translations (by Timothy Cheek, who also reconstructed the ending of Sad Evening) are included. Even with erratic engineering (if you raise the volume so that the mysterious opening of the Suite is even barely audible, you’ll regret it later on), this is a top priority.
A review by Peter J Rabinowitz, Fanfare Jan/Feb 2022.
Pohadka - Tales from Prague to Budapest. Kodaly, Dvorak, Mihaly, Kapralova. Laura van der Heijden, vcl; Jams Coleman, pno. Chandos (2022) CHAN 20227.
The surprise winner on this album is a three-minute piece by Vitezslava Kapralova, phenomenally gifted girlfriend of Bohuslav Martinu who died in France in 1940, tragically young at 25.
Where the Hungarians have a midfield of Dohnanyi, Bartók and Kodály, the Czechs always have talent to spare on the bench.
From a review by Norman Lebrecht for Ludwig van Toronto, January 7, 2022.
Samantha Ege at Milton Court lets Florence Price emerge as the great composer she really is. Program:
Florence Price – Fantasie Nčgre No.4; Fantasie Nčgre No.3; Margaret Bonds – Spiritual Suite; Florence Price – Fantasie Nčgre No.1;
Vitezslava Kapralova – Sonata Appassionata, Op.6 (UK premiere); Florence Price – Fantasie Nčgre No.2.
… Dr Samantha Ege is that rare phenomenon of which I wish there were many more, a performer-scholar who marries fine pianistic
ability to informed research resulting in finely-honed performances born of deep study and analysis. … The second half began
with what was billed as the UK premiere of Vitezslava Kapralova’s Sonata Appassionata, a two-movement work featuring a Maestoso
followed by a Theme and Variations. Ege has recorded this piece, though, as has Virginia Eskin on an all-Kapralova disc on
Koch (2008) which also includes one of Kapralova’s finest works, the April Preludes. Kapralova (1915-40) enjoyed a close
musical relationship with Martinu, who in her later years in Paris became something of a mentor figure as well as colleague.
Written in 1933, the Sonata Appassionata boasts a passionate first movement (with parts decidedly Janacek-like, particularly
in the left-hand writing); the theme of the second movement is absolutely charming, imbued with wistfulness and perfectly
Czech in nature. Ege gave it almost as a waltz before embarking on Kapralova’s fluid set of variations. The writing, from
spread chords to angular strict imitation, is brilliantly managed by the composer. I wonder if it was the piano Ege was using
that led to the deep bass lacking somewhat in resonance. Nevertheless, a fine performance of a piece that demands to be heard
From a review by Colin Clarke for Seen and Heard International, November 26, 2021.
Sam Haywood: Jsem nadseny, ze mam opet prilezitost vystoupit v Rudolfinu.
Klasika Plus: "Na programu me zaujalo i to, ze obsahuje skladbu Vitezslavy Kapralove. Mate k jeji hudbe blizko?
Sam Haywood: Slovy ani nemohu popsat, jak moc miluji hudbu Kapralove! Citim, ze bude vzdy dulezitou soucasti meho zivota.
Jeji tvorba je vysoce originalni, pevne zakorenena v minulosti, je bujara, a presto plna melancholie. Z jejiho klavirniho dila
je zrejme, ze byla skvelou klaviristkou. Obdivuhodna je i jeji symfonicka tvorba, v niz je zas znat to, ze byla také dirigentkou.
Barevne je jeji hudba velmi ziva a vyrazna. Je neuveritelne, ze za svuj tragicky kratky zivot dokazala vytvorit tolik skvele hudby."
From an interview of Sam Haywood before his concert in Rudolfinum for Klasika Plus, November 12, 2021.
Want List for James Harrington .
I have always been a champion of under-represented repertoire and women composers who were
dismissed ... in their time and even up to the present. Oyarzabal seems to be a kindred
spirit, and his program of short piano pieces has been consistently enjoyable and enlightening.
... Oyarzabal has researched and selected 34 pieces by 13 women composers who wrote great music ... There are discoveries aplenty in this recording.
From a review by James Harrington for Fanfare, November/December, 2021.
The Kapralova Companion. Edited by Karla Hartl and Erik Entwistle. Hardback, 228pp, Lexington Books (2011). ISBN-13 9780739167236.
This well-compiled, scholarly publication provides the ideal primer for those
wishing to explore the life and music of Vítezslava Kaprálová. Thoroughly
researched, insightful and comprehensive it provides the perfect overview of
the most significant female composer in the history of 20th century Czech music.
From a review by Stephen Greenbank for MusicWeb, September 29, 2021.
Okno do duse Vitezslavy Kapralove na uvod komorniho cyklu PKF – Prague Philharmonia
Kapralova Quartet slozeny stylove ciste z zen – Veronika Panochova (1. housle), Simona Hurnikova (2. housle), Eva Krestova (viola), Simona Hecova (violoncello) –
podal vynikajici vykon.
Vecer dal velmi sugestivne pricichnout k zaverecnym priblizne peti letum Kaprálove zivota, kdy s nadsenim proziva sve profesni uspechy i vztah s Bohuslavem Martinu
pri jejim studiu v Parízi. (Tatjana Medvecka nam potvrdila sve retoricke schopnosti; text byl k prednesu zjevne skvele pripraven a recitovan s noblesou.)
From a review by Daniel Pinc for OperaPlus, September 2021
Vitezslava KAPRALOVA (1915-1940). Waving Farewell
If it hadn’t been for her premature death in 1940 at the young age of twenty-five, Vitezslava Kapralova would undoubtedly have become a major figure in 20th century music. […] It is thanks to the Kapralova Society, founded in 1998, that her music and memory has been rekindled, by concerts, recordings and publications. In 2015, the centenary of her birth, a Kaprálová Festival was hosted at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in which most of her works were performed over a seven day period. This significant event has provided the source of these recordings, newly released by Naxos. […] The most substantial work on the disc is the three-movement Piano Concerto in D minor, Op 7 from 1935. It was the composer’s first orchestral work. It exudes confidence, passion and exuberance. The opening movement is late-Romantic in style with sweeping melodies. The keyboard writing is virtuosic and big-boned, and the orchestration is lush and colourful. The largo exudes Slavic gloom, longing and nostalgia. The finale allows some light to enter in, with its upbeat and joyous demeanour. Influenced by the times, it sounds quite jazzy in parts. Pianist Amy I-Lin Cheng performs it with vibrant, infectious dynamism. It couldn’t be bettered.
Handsomely recorded, Kenneth Kiesler conducts the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra in convincing, invigorating and satisfying accounts which, I’m sure, will win these compelling scores many friends. A deep love and commitment to this composer conveys itself throughout. I urge you to explore.
From a review by Stephen Greenbank for MusicWeb International, August 2021
Say Hello to Vitezslava Kapralova with "Waving Farewell." Naxos 8.574144.
This release features live performances from the Kapralová Festival in Michigan. Kenneth Kiesler conducts the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra in some enthusiastic and firey performances.
Kapralova's music bristles with youthful energy, dazzling with brilliant orchestral colors. But there's substance here, too. These are well-crafted works that one might expect from a composer in a mid or even later career.
[...] Pianist Amy I-Lin Cheng does the 1935 Piano Concerto justice. Her playing melds Romantic expressiveness with an edginess that seems in keeping with Kapralova's character.
Another standout is the title track, "Waving Farewell." Kapralova wrote 33 songs, only a few given orchestral accompaniment. [...]
This recording presents five of Kaprálová's fifty compositions. I don't know about you, but I'd like to collect them all.
From a review by Ralph Graves, Charlottesville Classical, July 29, 2021.
The vibrant music of Vitezslava Kapralova
There is little doubt that Vitezslava Kapralova's early death at the age of 25 robbed the musical world of a potent force. Her work list only constitutes around 50 pieces,
but the more I hear the more I want to hear, and the present disc, recorded at the Kapralova Festival in Michigan, fits the bill very nicely. [...]
The Christmas Prelude is a two-minute explosion of bustling excitement. Kapralova's music is sometimes labeled “Stravinskian”; small wonder with, in this performance, the
clear Petrushka vibe of the opening. [...]
Great though it is to have that fun, one of the meatier pieces follows, the Military Sinfonietta. The terrain here is more varied, and massively inventive. Kapralova’s writing
is buoyant, expert and utterly remarkable, and the performance by the University of Michigan Symphony under Kenneth Kiesler is certainly enthusiastic, and moves with quixotic
reflexes to honour the composer’s way of flitting rapidly from one emotion to the next.
The ecstatic writing of Smutný vecer (Sad Evening, c. 1936) whether in the luminosity of the woodwind chords or the glowing climax really seems to refer to the music of Alexander
Zemlinsky. The next song, Sbohem a Sátecek (Waving farewell, 1938) is fragrantly scored and poignant. In both songs, Nicholas Phan is a brilliant soloist. [...]
Nice to have Kapralova’s op. 1 here, a Suite en miniature (1935), four very short movements that include a delicate Lullaby full of pastoral woodwind pipings.
The Piano Concerto, Kapralova’s first large-scale orchestral work (1935), is definitely late Romantic in style but has her own accent; the piano’s glissando at the end of
the first movement speaks of an irrepressible spirit. The happy side of [her] personality certainly comes across in the helter-skelter finale, whose opening transforms to a
meltingly beautiful passage including solo violin, rounding off a fabulous disc. Taiwanese pianist Amy I-Lin Cheng is the brilliant soloist, while Kenneth Kiesler here,
as throughout the disc, leads his forces with conviction and accuracy.
From a review by Colin Clarke for Classical Explorer, July 17, 2021
Aufbruch zu neuen Ufern. Vitezslava Kapralova: Prelude de Noel, Military Sinfonietta, Sad Evening, Waving Farwell, Suite en miniature, Piano Concerto in D Minor. Naxos (2021).
Auch der durchaus reprasentative Querschnitt, den das University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra unter der Leitung von Kenneth Kiesler, eingespielt hat, tragt unbestreitbar originelle
Zuge. Zwar konnte man Einflusse von Bartok, Strawinsky, „Les Six“ und naturlich Martinu ebenso aus den Werken herausdestillieren wie Spuren zeitgenossischer Jazzmusik oder mahrischer
Folklore. Doch das Ergebnis ist zweifelsohne Kapralova – so wie Strawinsky Strawinsky und Martinu Martinu ist.
Zu den Hohepunkten ihres Werks zahlt die gerade funfzehnminutige „Militar-Sinfonietta,“ welche die Komponistin selbst mit der Tschechischen Philharmonie und dem BBC Symphony Orchestra
auffuhrte. […] Eine weitere Entdeckung besonderer Art ist das fantastische Klavierkonzert d-moll (1934–35), das sich formlich aus der Spatromantik heraustastet, um neue melodische und
rhythmische Moglichkeiten zu erkunden. Amy I-Lin Cheng nahert sich der Raritat spiel- und experimentierfreudig und tragt – wie der Tenor Nicholas Phan, der die Orchesterlieder
„Smutny vecer“ (Sad evening) und „Sbohem a satecek“ (Waving Farewell) interpretiert – dazu bei, fur Vitezslava Kapralova einen Platz in der Musikgeschichte zuruckzugewinnen.
From a review printed in Kulturabdruck, 17 July 2021
Vitezslava Kapralova: Waving Farewell. Naxos 8.574144
Discovery, for me, though, is 'Sbohem a satecek' by the short-lived and clearly very talented Vitezslava Kapralova (1915-40): Nicholas Phan gives a wonderfully impassioned performance that demands further exploration of the composer.
James Joly for the Gramophone's Listening Room, July 1, 2021.
Vitezslava Kapralova’s bruisende muziek is toegankelijk maar geraffineerd. Naxos 8.574144
Op dit album, opgenomen tijdens een festival geheel gewijd aan haar, betuigen Kenneth Kiesler en zijn University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra eer aan Kaprálová’s explosieve optimisme.
Haar bruisende muziek is toegankelijk maar geraffineerd, vergelijkbaar met die van Aaron Copland. Met het orkestpalet kon ze kennelijk alles. In de eclatante Militaire sinfonietta gooit ze met dikke kleurspatten,
haar Suite en miniature is vol verrukkelijke nuances. Helaas heeft Kaprálová slechts één pianoconcert kunnen voltooien, maar wat is het een virtuoos stuk, gedreven door ontembare stootkracht.
Review by Jenny Camilleri for deVolkskrant, July 1, 2021.
LA MUSE OUBLIÉE. Antonio Oyarzabal, piano, IBS 52021 (1 CD).
La variedad de nombres, estilos, procedencias y épocas podía resultar un escollo para la unidad del CD, pero la selección es realmente magnífica y las obras elegidas, de gran altura. Sin duda el trabajo de investigación previo de este pianista has sido profundo y de gran calidad. . . . En cuanto a la ejecución de Oyarzabal, lo primero que llama la atención es una elegancia exquisita que le permite transitar del Barroco de Jacquet de la Guerre a la vanguardia de Ruth Crawford Seeger con una gracia natural y sin la menor dificultad aparento.
From a review by Ana García Urcola for Scherzo, July 2021.
Vitezslava Kapralova: Waving Farewell. Naxos 8.574144
It’s impossible to listen to this disc without speculating about what this prolific Czech composer would have gone on to achieve had she survived beyond her 26th birthday,
but all the music here speaks of a bold, original voice that was already considerably developed: the Military Sinfonietta blends Stravinsky-ish spikiness with a certain
cinematic quality that put me in mind of Korngold, whilst the orchestral songs sound like Berg with a twist.
Katherine Cooper, Presto Editor's Choice, June 2021
Nigel Simeone reviews new releases of orchestral music by Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Louise Farrenc and Vitezslava Kapralova.
Andrew McGregor: Such a short life. Is it already a well developed voice?
Nigel Simeone: That’s the marvelous thing, it is! Looking at the program book of the 1938 ISCM Festival in London, where the Military Sinfonietta was conducted by her, in fact, it was the first piece of the opening concert, and it says in there that she had all sorts of plans to go back to Prague and study with Alois Haba which might have meant that her music would have taken a very different direction, but the main influence that we hear on there is that of Martinu, really, . . . but it doesn’t in the slightest sound that she was imitating anybody else at all, that is a really original voice here, a bit like Lili Boulanger, the same kind of instant sense of intensiveness and originality.
Andrew McGregor: Now we got the Michigan University Symhony Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Kiesler. It is obviously not the Chicago or Boston Symphony orchestras, how well do they equip themselves in Kapralova’s music?
Nigel Simeone: Amazingly well! I mean that they do not remotely sound like a university orchestra, even a good one, and they are terrific.
Just a word about why it is called Military Sinfonietta. She said that it was very much a kind of defensive military—essentially, it is a Patriotic sinfonietta, . . . it’s not a warlike thing. It’s an extraordinary, single movement piece, it has moments of repose but essentially it’s pretty animated, very exciting, and a wonderful demonstration what an absolutely staggering talent Kapralova was.
BBC Record Review. BBC Radio 3, June 26, 2021.
Vitezslava Kapralova: Waving Farewell. Naxos 8.574144
The Naxos release is a wonderful carnival of orchestral music by Czech composer–conductor Vita Kaprálová,
performed by the first rate University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kenneth Kiesler.
The disc opens with a delightful orchestral miniature full of instrumental colours, entitled Prélude de Noël. It was written for Christmas Day of
1939 by Kaprálová in exile as a present to her parents back home.
The following track is the composer’s trademark composition — the Military Sinfonietta that brought her international fame at the opening night
of the 16th ISCM Festival in London in 1938 (the performance by
the BBC Orchestra under the baton of the composer was shortwaved to the United States where it was re-broadcast by CBS, and received a most
favorable review in Time magazine).
The work was recorded several times before but here the performance is particularly strong,
with the orchestra never loosing momentum and pacing to the finale of an almost
Hollywood sound (in the best Hollywood tradition, I might add). The heart of the disc belongs to Kaprálová’s
two orchestral songs: the first, Sad Evening,
appearing on record for the first time, is performed with an utmost sensitivity; the operatic quality of the second, Waving Farewell,
becomes even more prominent in Nicholas Phan’s performance. The songs are followed by a fittingly somber,
almost ominous mood of Praeludium, the first movement of the four-movement Suite en miniature—Kaprálová’s first opus she composed at sixteen and orchestrated at twenty.
The mood of the suite brightens up with the two next movements and
ends joyfully with dance rhythms of the Menuetto movement. The disc closes with Amy I-Lin Cheng’s performance of Kaprálová’s late romantic
Piano Concerto in D Minor, the composer’s graduation work
which delighted audiences at its premiere in 1935 and continues to do so ever since. A disc to have!
Reviewed by Karel Dragoun for kapralova.org, June 25, 2021.
VITEZSLAVA KAPRALOVA – WAVING FAREWELL. NICHOLAS PHAN, tenor AMY I-LIN CHENG, piano, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN S O,
KENNETH KIESLER, conductor, NAXOS 8.574144 58’57. It is a tragedy that Vitezslava Kapralova died so young. The music here is superb.
Reaching only the age of 25 what more might she have gone on to achieve? The most substantial works here
are Vojenska symfonieta (‘Military Sinfonietta’) and Piano Concerto in D minor, Op 7.
Well worth investigating.
larkreviews.co.uk, June 17, 2021.
Lebrecht Listens. Reviving Europe's Forgotten Female Composer.
The mystery and tragedy of [Kapralova's] existence has been explored in a couple of novels, but her psychology remains an enigma and her music
is hard to categorise. At first impression it falls midway between Leos Janacek – who was her father's teacher – and Bohuslav Martinu,
who was her lover; yet first impressions are misleading and there is much in this new compilation to indicate that Kapralova's voice was very much
her own. [ . . .] A piano concerto in D minor opens with what she prescribes as an allegro entusiastico, although it never sounds
quite like that. The solo line is muted and contemplative to the point of introspection; late Rachmaninov meets young Messiaen. [. . .]
Kapralova was a talent of rare eloquence and self-possession, too good to remain lost in the mists of time.
From a review by Norman Lebrecht for Ludwig van Daily, Toronto edition, June 11, 2021.
KAPRÁLOVÁ, V.: Waving Farewell / Suite en Miniature /
Piano Concerto (Phan, Amy I-Lin Cheng, University of Michigan Symphony, Kiesler), Naxos 8.574144
Nicholas Phan has a suitably liquid tenor voice for his two solos, and the conductor, Kenneth Kiesler, extracts totally committed performances in a high impact recording. Highly recommended.
From a review by David Denton for David's Review Corner, June 2021.
KAPRÁLOVÁ: Prelude de Noel. Military Sinfonietta. Sad Evening. Waving Farewell. Suite en Miniature, Op. 1. Piano Concerto /
Nicholas Phan, ten.; Amy I-Len Cheng, pno; University of Michigan Symphony Orch.; Kenneth Kiesler, cond / Naxos 8.574144.
Sad Evening is a song that was only discovered in 2006, receiving its premiere at the University of Michigan’s Kapralova Festival in 2015.
This is a very harmonically advanced piece, with only the singer’s line remaining resolutely tonal and lyrical. The constantly shifting
harmonies remind one of Schoenberg’s Erwartung or Gurre-Lieder, which tells us that she had an open ear to all the new musical changes of
her time. . . . I was really struck by the originality and creativity of her Suite en Miniature, a piece that again combined elements of
French music with early Schoenberg, the latter in the “Praeludium” which, built around mysterious lead lines, constantly shifting
harmonies and string tremolos, is reminiscent of that composer’s Verklarte Nacht. . . .
From a review by Lynn Rene Bayley for Art Music Lounge, June 10, 2021
La muse oubliee. Piano works by Beach, Smyth, C. Schumann, L. Boulanger et al. Antonio Oyarzabal (piano). IBS Classical IBS52021.
There's no forgetting Oyarzabal's enthralling performance, or indeed his sublime programme of piano works by women composers from Fanny Mendelssohn to Ruth Crawford Seeger. What a treat. Five stars.
From a review for BBC Music Magazine 2021/6.
Vitezslava Kaprálová, Nadia Boulanger, Lili Boulanger u.a. Frauenstimmen. Anna Fortova (Violoncello), Kathrin Schmidlin (Klavier).
[...] Ähnlich jung verstarb Vitezslava Kaprálová (1915–1940). Mit den Worten „Ich will es den Männern zeigen“ wird sie zitiert, und die energische Geste, mit der ihr Ritornell op. 25 beginnt, mutet an wie ein in Musik gegossener Ausdruck dieses Vorsatzes. [...]
Der schwerblütige Ton der Bosmans-Sonate, Kaprálovás schneidiger, Martinu-naher Neoklassizismus, Nadia Boulangers Brillanz, die Subtilität der Komposition Haenslers: Alles gelingt in Perfektion, alles ist
getragen vom spürbaren Engagement der beiden Partnerinnen für zu Unrecht verdrängte Frauenstimmen. Ein Sonderlob hat sich Kathrin Schmidlin „verdient“, für die ebenso einfühlsam wie perlend vorgetragenen
Solostücke von Lili Boulanger und Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel.
From a review by Gerhard Anders for das Orchester no. 6 (June 2021): 73.
La Muse Oubliee (IBS Classical).
In La Muse Oubliee, the Spanish born, UK-based pianist Antonio Oyarzabal challenges the assumption that
the female muse is an inspirer rather than creator. [...] The result is a musically intriguing and beautifully balanced recital. [...]
Preludes by Lucija Garuta and Vitezslava Kapralova both leave you wanting to hear more...
From a review printed in Guardian (Guardian Classical), c. May 9, 2021.
Charmes. Songs by Viardot-Garcia, Schumann, Mahler & Kapralova. Olena Tokar, Igor Gryshyn; Orchid Classics.
The young Ukrainian certainly supplies charm aplenty on this terrific debut solo CD of music by female composers
(particularly in the florid lines of Pauline Viardot-Garcia’s dark fairytale Nixe Binsefuss), but her lyric soprano also has plenty of bite when required.
The five songs by Vítezslava Kaprálová (who died aged just 25) have an other-worldly, Debussy-ish opulence that testifies to a hugely distinctive voice cut down in its
Review by Katherine Cooper for Presto, May 2021
La Muse Oubliee. Antonio Oyarzabal (piano), rec. Auditorio Manuel de Falla, Granada, Spain 28-30 August 2020. IBS CLASSICAL IBS52021 [73:17]
This is a well-planned and executed survey of music by thirteen women composers. ... While some of the works presented
here are intended as polished miniatures, others offer something more substantial. Vitezslava Kaprslova’s April
Preludes certainly fit that second category. This was my first encounter with Kaprálová’s work but she was clearly
a massive talent. She died in France aged just twenty-five by which time she had written a significant body of work as
well as establishing herself as a conductor. Her music is available via several recordings and these Preludes are –
according to the liner – her most popular piano work. Her voice is quite individual but at the same time is a
compelling fusion of contemporary and Czech folk influences. ... The IBS Classical recording is good and unfussy.
The acoustic in the Auditorio Manuel de Falla is warm without being overly resonant. ... Where this disc succeeds
triumphantly is by showcasing a wide range of musical styles all of genuine quality. Perhaps this does risk becoming
a ‘box of delights’ – just as Lucija Garuta’s Prelude in E intrigues, you are already moving onto
Vitezslava Kapralova! A multi-disc option covering exactly these same composers in greater depth would be ideal.
It would be good to think we are reaching a point where the gender of a composer is irrelevant or at least not a
perceived novelty but in the meantime this disc is a wholly successful recital of high quality music, perceptively
From a review by Nick Barnard for Music Web International, April 28, 2021.
Duo Anna Fortova / Kathrin Schmidlin. Voix de femmes.
...Le Ritornello op. 25, sa derniere oeuvre, ici interpretee par le Duo Anna Fortova Kathrin Schmidlin, est une expression puissante et concentree d’une eloquence tragique.
Tout au long de sa jeune vie, Vitezslava Kapralova a su imposer son art et ses visions supres de ses pairs, revendiquant toujours son statut de femme compositrice et musicienne.
La richesse de son oeuvre, caracterisee par une imbrication de chromatismes postromantiques et d’harmonies impressionnistes, fait d’elle une figure majeure de la musique tcheque du XXe siecle.
From a review by Cecilia Viola for Scenes magazine, April 2021, pp. 30–31.
La Muse Oubliee. Antonio Oyarzabal, piano. Ibs Classical IBS52021.
Antonio Oyarzabal's piano recital La Muse Oubliee is distinguished by featuring 34 memorable miniatures. [...] The hugely talented Vitezslava Kapralova was admired by both the conductor
Rafael Kubelik and the pianist Rudolf Firkusny. [...] [E]ach the work of a true original, artistically valid, superbly played and recorded.
From a review by Robert Cowan for Gramophone, April 2021.
Charmes – Alma Mahler Werfel, Clara Schumann, Pauline Viardot Garcia, Vitezslava Kapralova; Olena Tokar, Igor Gryshyn; Orchid Classics.
...Finally on the disc, the least known composer. The Czech Vitezslava Kapralova was born in Brno, the daughter of a composer (father) and a singer (mother). She studied first at Brno Conservatory, and then with Vitezslav Novak, and Vaclav Talich in Prague, and Bohuslav Martinu (and possibly Nadia Boulanger) in Paris. Quite a pedigree. And she had quite a career, accumulating a body of work and conducting both the Czech Philharmonic and the BBC Orchestra. But she died at the age of 25, misdiagnosed so a double tragedy. Here is a very distinct, confident and fascinating voice. The songs date from the 1930s, but there is an independence of spirit here. We don’t hear many of the fashionable isms, no jazz, no neo-classicism. Instead there is a seductive chromaticism, a sense of impressionism and a definite way of creating an effect with just voice and piano, and two of the songs are to her own poetry.
Olena Tokar has a lovely fluid, bright-toned soprano voice which flows beautifully around these songs, and she makes each work stylish and apt in style. She is similarly fluent in the way she moves between languages. She is well supported by pianist Igor Gryshyn, who makes a fine partner throughout the disc.
From a review by Robert Hugill for planethugill.com, April 8, 2021.
The “Charmes” of Women Composers. Olena Tokar, Igor Gryshyn, Orchid Classics ORC100154
...We end with the songs of another musical genius, Vitezslava Kapralova, who died at the age of 25. Her songs are more modern, more Bartok-influenced, yet with a lyrical quality entirely her own. Oddly enough, it is in this music that Gryshyn sounds the most interesting as accompanist.
From a review by Lynn Rene Bayley for The Art Music Lounge, April 4, 2021.
Dilo Vitezslavy Kapralove dnes
Tematicky katalog skladeb Vitezslavy Kapralove a korespondence s nakladateli predstavuje nejuplnejsi a nejpodrobnejsi soupis dila Kapralove, v nemz nic neni opomenuto:
zachyceny a popsany jsou vsechny prameny – skici, autografy i autorizovane opisy až po vydani jejich definitivni verze. Vytvorit takovou publikaci vyzaduje leta soustredene
prace v mnoha badatelnach vcetne cestovani do mist, kde jsou materialy ulozeny, srovnavani, premysleni a hledani, vcetne mimoradne slozite a narocne korektury
misty dvojjazycneho textu. Je pak vic nez potesujici, mužeme-li konstatovat, ze nova publikace Karly Hartl splnuje vsechny tyto maximalisticke naroky beze zbytku.
From a review by Jindra Bartova for Klasika Plus, March 9, 2021.