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Vitezslava Kapralova. CD-Empfehlung.
Unter dem Titel Vitezslava Kapralova: Portrait of a Composer liegt bisher eine CD vor, die einen repräsentativen Einblick in das Schaffen der Komponistin gewährt. Angefangen mit der wichtigen Komposition Militär-Sinfonietta op. 11 über das Streichquartett op. 8 von 1935 bis zu dem der Stadt Prag gewidmeten Waving Farewell op. 14 für Gesang und Orchester erlaubt diese Produktion eine intensive Bekanntschaft mit Kapralovas originellem Oeuvre. Die April Preludes op. 13 für Klavier führen in die kammermusikalische Sphäre und werdendurch ihr letztes vollendetes Werk, das ergreifende Ritornell für Violoncello und Klavier ergänzt. Auch die beiden Versionen des Love Carol für Gesang und Klavier - einmal in der Vertonung durch Bohuslav Martinu (1937) und zusätzlich in der Version Kapralovas (1938) lohnen die Anschaffung dieser CD. Einmal mehr in die stupenden Fähigkeiten der Komponistin für kleines Orchester zu komponieren, führt die Partita op. 20 für Klavier und Streichorchester ein. Diese Produktion macht unmittelbar deutlich, wie gross der Verlust ist, der Musikwelt durch den frühen Tod Kapralovas entstanden ist. Mit mehr als 70 Minuten Spielzeit lohnt die Ausbeute auch die relativ schwierige Beschaffung der Silberscheibe. Zugleich sollten unbedingt weitere Aufnahmen folgen, denn die Tonqualität der im Zeitraum von 1974 bis 1998 entstandenen Mitschnitte ist erwartungsgemäss sehr unterschiedlich, auch wenn das Studio Matous von Simon Matousek Beachtliches bei der Wiederaussbereitung geleistet hat.
Review by © Constanze Holze for Viva Voce, No. 62, November 2002, p. 5.

Jenny Lin, piano. Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. October 25, 2002.
The Formosa Chamber Music Society presented a brilliantly impressive recital by the young Taiwanese-born American pianist, Jenny Lin at Weill Hall on October 25. [...] Not only was her recital commandingly played; it was both substantial repertoire-wise, and pianistically daunting as well! April Preludes, Op. 13, a set of four preludes composed in 1937 by the short lived Vitezslava Kapralova [1915-1940], a holdover from Ms. Lin's recital at Miller Theatre, launched the evening in auspicious fashion. These Kapralova pieces again impressed as music of substantial beauty and emotional weight, all the more so when played with such warmth, organic integrity and sincerity. When confronted with unfamiliar music, this writer is always tempted to look for ways to pigeonhole it with more famous fare (I was thinking of a synthesis of Szymanowski and Prokofiev, but had to concede that Kapralova marched to her own drummer). [...] The capacity audience was brilliantly enthusiastic and for very good reason. This was a memorable concert.
From a review by Harris Goldsmith, for New York Concert Review, January / February 2003.

Mostly Czech Music...
On Friday, 19th July, the Czech violinist Iva Fleischhansova and pianist Jacqueline Metcalf played the final concert of this year's Harlaxton Summer Music at Harlaxton Manor in Lincolnshire. The programme, entitled Mostly Czech Music..., included works by Kapralova, Martinu, Suk and Enescu. The Burlesque, Elegie and Legenda of Kapralova were being given only their third performance in this country - music of haunting beauty which certainly deserves to be better known.
From a review by Douglas Hollick for the Dvorak Society Newsletter No. 61, October 2002.

Vitezslava Kapralova
Vytvorila pozoruhodne dilo, v nemz vynika zejmena lyricky melodicke bohatstvi a bystra spontanni hudebnost. Na jejich kompozicich je videt mistrovska prace, sila invence a suverenni ovladani kompozicni praxe.
Czech Radio Publishing House, October 2002.

Janackuv maj 2002
[...] Komorni radu festivalu predstavila take tri kvarteta. Kapralova Quartet (26.5.) symbolicky zaujal vynikajici interpretaci Smyccoveho kvartetu V. Kapralove, kompozicne zajimaveho dila skladatelcina "novakovskeho" obdobi.
From a review by Hana Adamkova-Heidrova for Opus Musicum, 2002/3 (July).

Srdce na Vysocine vytvoril Tomas Visek
SRDCE NA VYSOCINE. CD. [Tomas Visek, 2001]. Bohuslav Martinu: Otvirani studanek, Adagio. Vitezslav Novak: Maj [Intermezzo I.]. Vaclav Kapral: Nokturno. Jaroslav Kricka: Vesele kousky. Vitezslava Kapralova: Groteskni passacaglia. Otakar Sin: Amoroso [Intimni nalady]. Jaroslav Jezek: Kdyz jsem kytici vazala.
[...] Z kompozicniho hlediska zde zaujaly motivickou vtipnosti, kontrastem a lehkosti tanecni stylizace predevsim Vesele kousky op. 13 (vyber peti skladeb) od Jaroslava Kricky a dale na rytmicky strhujicim ostinatnim schematu umne vystavena Groteskni passacaglia V. Kapralove.
From an unsigned review published in Denik Smer, 3.4.2002.

Closing the Gender Gap in Music Without Much Conviction
The flimsiness of the claim that the gender barrier has been broken in classical music is shown nowhere better than at a concert of pieces composed by women. Even now at the start of the 21st century [...] a whole concert of music by women, performed by women, still feels unusual. It remains an exception to the classical music norm, which is a concert of music written entirely by men. The Miller Theater presented two concerts of women's music last week: on Tuesday a recital by the pianist Jenny Lin; on Friday another pianist (and composer), Beata Moon [...]. Each offered a cornucopia of pieces: seven by Ms. Lin, six by Ms. Moon's group, presumably in an attempt to show the breadth and range of what's out there, like the 1937 "April Preludes" for piano by Vitezslava Kapralova, a talented composer who died at 25. [...] Heroines did emerge, with Ruth Crawford Seeger prominent among them. Ms. Lin, who has recorded that composer's complete piano music, played five of her nine brilliant Preludes (1924-8), doing full justice to the sparkle, depth and contrast of these complex and varied pieces. Other highlights of Ms. Lin's strong recital included Elsa Barraine's misty, evocative "Hommage a Paul Dukas" and the Kapralova piece. [...]
From a review by Anne Midgette for New York Times, February 26, 2002.

PIANIST JENNY LIN'S ELOQUENT CASE FOR MODERN WOMEN COMPOSERS
Miller Theater (Columbia University), New York: February 19, 2002
American Pianist Jenny Lin's "Piano on the Edge" concert, a program of music by 20th century women composers, confirmed her growing reputation in the vanguard of young artists with an interest in unusual repertoire and the technique to give it life. [...] The program's first half came to a close under the gloomily gray skies of Galina Ustvolskaya's Sonata No. 1 (1947). The second half began in a decidedly more upbeat and lyrical vein with April Preludes (1937) by Czech composer Vitezslava Kapralova (1915-1940). These irresistible, fluently varied pieces reflect Kapralova's study with Novak and Martinu (they were composed for the great Czech pianist Rudolf Firkusny), though her own distinctive and somewhat quirky style (similar to Janacek's) shines through most of all. Judging by the uninhibited joy exhibited in her playing, Lin seems to have a special fondness and affinity for this composer. [...]
From a review by Victor Carr, Jr., for Classics Today, February 22, 2002.

"[S]uddenly I was absolutely stunned. 'Who was this composer?' I wondered. The personality was so strong, the harmonies so original, and the technique so secure, that it seemed as if the composer were there in the room before me. That song was 'Navzdy' (Forever), which will be on the concert. Others who have heard it since then agree with me; they are mesmerized by this song."
From an interview with Dr.Timothy Cheek, The University of Michigan School of Music, January 2002.

"Eminently pianistic"
Dr. Maurice Hinson, author of Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire, about Kapralova's April Preludes and Variations sur le Carillon, January 23, 2002.

Filharmonie Hradec Kralove uvedla svetovou premieru.
Dne 10. ledna se konal v sale Filharmonie Hradec Kralove paty koncert abonentni rady A, na nemz zaznel zajimavy a posluchacsky narocny program. Jeho stezejnim bodem bylo premierove koncertni provedeni skladby Vitezslavy Kapralove Concertino pro housle, klarinet a orchestr, jedne z poslednich skladeb teto vyznamne a dosud nedocenene skladatelky prvni poloviny 20. stoleti. [...] Dokonceni a celkove rekonstrukce skladby se ujal brnensky skladatel a muzikolog prof. Milos Stedron spolecne s Leosem Faltusem, profesorem skladby JAMU a upravili ji do podoby umoznujici jeji provedeni. Concertino patri k vrcholum skladatelskeho vyvoje Kapralove, jeho vyrazove bohaty hudebni obsah je do velke miry ovlivnen smutnymi udalostmi roku 1939 [..]. Vyznamnymi nositeli nalady jsou oba solove nastroje, vetsinou sdruzene, jejichz party, predevsim klarinetovy, jsou znacne exponovane. Soliste Pavel Wallinger (housle) a Pavel Busek (clarinet) je prednesli s obdivuhodnou lehkosti a brilantnosti, s citem pro vyrazove nuance skladby. Prvni a druhou vetu (obe v mirnem tempu) dokazali naplnit bolestnym vyrazem, jenz byl umocnen castym uzitim chromatickych postupu. Velkou zasluhu na zdarilem premierovem koncertnim provedeni mel dirigent Tomas Hanus, ktery pojal nastudovani skladby velice odpovedne. Predevsim se mu podarilo vyresit otazku nedokonceneho zaveru, ktery dle rekonstrukce M. Stedrone mel vyustit v tzv. fade out. Na misto toho nechal orchestr zopakovat prvni takty rychle zaverecne vety a ukoncil skladbu na zvucne tonice. [...] Objev skladby vyvolal u odborne hudebni verejnosti velky ohlas. Jeji provedeni kralovehradeckymi filharmoniky patri k velkym pocinum, vedoucim ke zviditelneni a propagaci dila autorky nepravem opomijene [...].
From a review signed by initials "VD". January 2002. Source unknown.

Concertino [pro clarinet, housle a orchestr, op. 21] je organickym pokracovanim Partity. Na pozadi dusledne polyfonicke struktury skladby - i hlavni tema je samo o sobe dvojhlase - krystalizuje novy vyrazovy styl ovlivneny predstaviteli francouzske moderny. Druha veta je lkavou meditaci, ktera se nese smerem danym v pocatecnim solu klarinetu. Treti veta je ve vyrazu uzasne silna, i v logice vedeni kazde myslenky, kterou Kapralova dovede nejen rozpracovat, ale i privest k vrcholu a ukoncit. Sexty tu a tam citove zbarvuji obsah vety.
From the concert program published at the occasion of the work's first public performance on 10.1.2002 by the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic.

Tomas Visek: Srdce na vysocine. Martinu, Novak, Kapral, Kricka, Kapralova, Sin, Jezek. Interpreti: Tomas Visek - klavir, Petr Matuszek - baryton, Nadia Zakhourova - recitace, Klara Kartakova - sopran, Marketa Dvorakova - mezzosopran, Jan Valta jr. - housle, Eva Novakova - housle. [67:30]
Klavirista Tomas Visek svuj snimek Srdce na Vysocine venoval 350. vyroci zalozeni vesnice Tri Studne, rodine Kapralovych a jejich skladatelskym pratelum. Timto je i jasne dana dramaturgie CD zahrnujici skladby skladatelu, s nimiz se Vaclav Kapral setkaval ve sve rekreacni vilce, kterou postavil ve Trech Studních pred sedmdesati lety. Mezi pratele Kapralovych patril Bohuslav Martinu, jenz byl zaroven ucitelem Kapralovy dcery Vitezslavy v Parizi. Do Trech Studni zajizdel take Vitezslav Novak, spjaty s rodinou jako ucitel kompozice jak Vaclava Kaprala, tak i jeho dcery Vitezslavy, ktera byla jeho zackou na Mistrovske skole v Praze. Jednim z nejblizsich pratel rodiny Kapralovych byl Jaroslav Kricka, jenz stravil velkou cast detství v Marsovicich, v rodisti sve matky. V Rokytnu se narodil Otakar Sin, ktery rovnez patri mezi blizke pratele rodiny. Tento snimek je jedinecny vyberem skladeb. Pet skladeb je zde nahrano ve svetove premiere. Mezi tyto skladby patri Maj (Intermezzo I.) Vitezslava Novaka, Nocturno (koncertni etuda) Vaclava Kaprala, Vesele kousky op. 13 Jaroslava Kricky, Groteskní passacaglia Vitezslavy Kapralove, ktera je soucasti Trech klavirnich kusu op. 9 a Amoroso Otakara Sina, soucast Intimnich nalad op. 5. Z del Bohuslava Martinu jsou vybrana dve dila, Otvirani studanek H. 354 a Adagio H. 362. Komorni kantata Otvirani studanek na slova Miloslava Burese zachycuje lidovy zvyk cisteni studanek a oslavy praminku na Vysocine, je velmi dobrym dokreslenim dramaturgie celeho CD. Posledni skladbou je Adagio H. 362 Bohuslava Martinu. Interpretace Tomase Viska si zaslouzi pozornost, je technicky vyborne propracovana a i po strance vyrazove je velmi vyrovnana a muzikalni.
Z recenze Kateriny Kohoutove pro magazin Harmonie 2002/01.

Adventures in Music: NLO Concert - 10th December
The main interest was undoubtedly the Military Sinfonietta of Vitezslava Kapralova. Having studied in Prague with Vitezslav Novak and Vaclav Talich, she later studied in Paris with Charles Munch, Nadia Boulanger and Martinu. It was her relationship with the latter, as much as the atmosphere of encroaching war, which gave rise to Martinu's masterly Double Concerto of 1938. Tuberculosis had steadily undermined Kapralova's health - she died in Montpelier in 1940 aged just 25. Composed during 1936-7, the Military Sinfonietta was first performed in Prague in 1937 and heard in London the following year as part of the International Society for Contemporary Music, the composer conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Queen's Hall. Cast in a single movement lasting fourteen minutes, the work has a symphonic momentum and formal follow-through, the presence of Janacek's Sinfonietta enlivening the objective classicism of Hindemith and Roussel. A brusque 'Tempo di Marcia' is followed by an ingratiating 'Andante e cantabile' before an animated 'Allegro con brio' heralds the expansive central 'Andante'; then there's an agitated 'Allegro moderato' that builds to a climactic 'Maestoso' before the piece surges to its affirmative conclusion. This was a tough assignment for the NLO, its members responding with the required vigour and enthusiasm. This is strikingly individual music by a composer whose all-too-small output needs further investigation.
From a review by Richard Whitehouse for Classical Source

Vitezslava Kapralova's Military Sinfonietta heard in London after a gap of 63 years.
Kapralova's work, part of an 'Adventures in Music' programme also featuring music by, among others, Shostakovich, Satie, Vaughan Williams, Walton, and Brahms, was played on Monday, 10 December 2001 at the University College Bloomsbury Theatre by the New London Orchestra. Since founding the orchestra in 1988, its director Ronald Corp has made Bohuslav Martinu's music one of the mainstays of its repertoire, and the Martinu interest has led him to Kapralova. She went to Paris in 1937 to study with the composer and a year later, on 17 June at the Queen's Hall in London, she conducted the then BBC Orchestra in her own Military Sinfonietta. She was only 23. Her age and her ability as a conductor, as well as the freshness of her work, caused quite a stir at the International Society for Contemporary Music festival which London was hosting in 1938.
Her Sinfonietta is a relatively short 15-minute piece, but it testifies to Kapralova's precocious talent. The title 'Military' clearly refers to the bright opening in the brass, but also to the dark, almost frightening references to it later on, underscored by the percussion. How different was Kapralova's sense of foreboding in the months leading to the Munich agreement and the subsequent outbreak of war, can be demonstrated by comparing her work with Martinu's Double Concerto - a work reflecting similar anxieties. But then, she was very much her own person even at that early stage in her development as an artist. Martinu wrote that "it was a great joy to discuss musical problems with her. She could always defend and justify her opinions...she always knew what she wanted...I learned from her too."
Her gift to Martinu - judging by Ronald Corp's sensitive performance - might have been the influence of the Brno school handed down through her father, himself a pupil of Janacek. It was in the lyrical passages in the middle section of the one-movement Sinfonietta that the lovely lyricism, reminiscent of the most touching passages in Janacek's music, came through. That and Kapralova's vivid use of tone colours, coupled with solid linear and rhythmic counterpoint, received a beautifully wrought treatment from the conductor and the orchestra.
Kapralova's 1938 London appearance in a performance of her own work seems to testify to the ISCM festivals having been remarkably exciting events in the 1930s, quite unlike the post-war serial/aleatoric ghettos that they eventually turned into.
The NLO concert marked the launch of a new partnership between the orchestra and the UCL. Already four more concerts at the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre are planned for the first half of 2002.
From a review by Karel Janovicky, for the Dvorak Society Newsletter No.58, January 2002.

Vitezslava Kapralova: Ritratto di una compositrice
(Matous ADD)
La continua ricerca di novita, da proporre al pubblico degli appassionati di musica classica, ha favorito in questi ultimi anni il fiorire di iniziative volte a far conoscere compositori poco noti o addirittura sconosciuti.
Il fenomeno si e presto esteso anche alla musica femminile sia con il nascere di case discografiche come la statunitense Leonarda o di case editrici come la tedesca Kassel, specializzatesi nel genere, sia grazie ad iniziative che hanno portato alla ribalta le opere di un numero sempre maggiore di validissime compositrici.
Va quindi segnalato, al proposito, il cd della Matous dedicato alle musiche della cecoslovacca Vitezslava (Vita) Kapralova, nata a Brno nel 1915 e morta di tubercolosi a Montpellier nel 1940, allieva di Novak e Talich a Praga e, successivamente, di Munch, della Boulanger e di Martinu a Parigi, che all'attivita di compositrice abbino anche quella di direttrice d'orchestra.
Il disco, intitolato Vitezslava Kapralova: ritratto di una compositrice, comprende la produzione che va dal 1936 al 1940 e si apre con la Sinfonietta Militare, op.11 (1936-37), eseguita in prima assoluta nel 1938, per l'inaugurazione del Festival della Societa Internazionale per la Musica Contemporanea (ISCM) di Londra, dall'Orchestra della BBC, diretta dall'autrice in persona. Curiosamente, da allora, e fino allo scorso 10 dicembre, quando e stata riproposta dalla New London Orchestra, diretta da Ronald Corp, non era stata piu eseguita nel Regno Unito.
Alla Sinfonietta seguono, nell'ordine, il Quartetto per archi, op.8, i Preludi d'Aprile per pianoforte, op. 13, Love Carol per voce e pianoforte, Ritornello, op. 25 per violoncello e pianoforte e la Partita per pianoforte ed orchestra d'archi, op. 20, brani di ottima fattura, che testimoniano l'abilita della Kapralova anche nel comporre musica cameristica e le affinita con lo stile del suo maestro Martinu.
Il disco termina con Waving Farewell per voce ed orchestra, op. 14, che prende come riferimento i testi dell'omonima poesia del poeta ceco Nezval, sul tema della nostalgia per Praga, sentimento condiviso dalla Kapralova, costretta a vivere in esilio in Francia a causa dell'occupazione nazista della Cecoslovacchia.
Per quanto riguarda l'esecuzione, gli interpreti coinvolti nella registrazione sono molti, considerando anche la varieta dei brani registrati. Meritano, percio, di essere nominati tutti, a partire dall' Orchestra Sinfonica di Stato di Brno diretta da Frantisek Jilek, fino al Quartetto Janacek, passando per il soprano Lenka Skornickova, il tenore Vilem Pribyl, il violoncellista Ivan Merka ed i pianisti Jitka Drobilkova, Jiri Skovajsa, Jaroslav Smykal.
Concludiamo con un ringraziamento alla Kapralova Society, ente nato per la divulgazione della musica della compositrice ceca (ma che ha finito per occuparsi anche della musica al femminile in generale), che e stata una delle principali finanziatrici del cd ed ha, quindi, permesso ai musicofili di conoscere una delle maggiori figure di riferimento della musica ceca del Novecento.
Marco del Vaglio, for iperdue.com

Kapralova's Piano Concerto in D Minor, Op. 7
Aside from the Five Compositions for Piano, Op. 1, which Kapralova later orchestrated as Suite en miniature for small orchestra, the Piano Concerto in d-minor, Op. 7, is her first assured orchestral work of large scale. Full of youthful exuberance and brilliance, combined with exoticism and romantic sentiments, it displays Kapralova's remarkably precocious aptitude as a composer: at only 20, she already shows an impressive command of the orchestra's resources and the traditional concerto form.
The piano concerto is well balanced in structure and rich in harmonies, anchored in a post-romantic idiom, and rooted in the modernist tendencies of Czech music during the first half of the 20th century, where folk music holds a strong effect on a unique harmonic language. Centered in the key of d-minor, it is an unpretentious work where nostalgia alternates with frequent hints of late-19th century virtuoso writing, as typified by Saint-Saëns or Anton Rubinstein. Its gestures are bold and simple, with striking melodies and rhythmic clarity, conveying all sides of Kapralova's well-rounded musical personality: passion, humor, energy, lyricism, discipline, and spontaneity.
The first movement, marked Allegro entusiastico, deviates from the traditional concerto pattern where the initial movements are often written in a modified sonata form. The main theme in d-minor is first briefly introduced by the orchestra, then the piano solo presents the complete melody. The music is distinguished by its long lyrical lines, alternating between the tutti and the soloist undergoing modulations. The second movement begins with a folk song in Bb-minor with strings and piano solo, treated in canonic form. Dominated by this bittersweet and melancholic folk melody, the entire movement is relatively short, and precedes without break the third and final movement. With its exotic character and high-spirited rhythm, the use of folk music is most evident in the third movement. It follows a rondo form, typical of a traditional concerto. Contrary to the previous movement, the theme is joyful, decorated with virtuosic passages for the soloist. Colored by the use of pentatonic scales, the recurrent section is a dance in contrast with the folk songs of the intermediate sections. The coda recalls the opening dance melody, leading to the ending in D-major.
Review by © Jenny Lin for the Kapralova Society Website, October 15, 2001.

Krest noveho CD na Trech Studnich
Interpret Tomas Visek na nej zaradil skladby autoru se vztahem k Vysocine [...]. Krome znamych jmen zde posluchac najde i kompozice autoru nepravem opomijenych. Rada skladeb byla takto nahrana vubec poprve. Pripomenuti techto mene znamych, ale presto velmi hodnotnych del bylo jednim z Viskovych zameru. Vedle skladeb Bohuslava Martinu (jeho kantata Otvirani studanek cele CD otvira) a Vitezslava Novaka tu stoji Nokturno Vaclava Kaprala, Vesele kousky od Jaroslava Kricky, Groteskni passacaglia Vitezslavy Kapralove a z dila Otakara Sina pak Amoroso z Intimnich nalad. Byla sem zarazena take klavirni verze zname pisne Kdyz jsem kytici vazala, kterou Jaroslav Jezek slozil na brehu rybnika Medlova.
From a review signed by -dr- published in Vysocina, 20.9.2001
SRDCE NA VYSOCINE. CD. [Tomas Visek, 2001]. Bohuslav Martinu: Otvirani studanek, Adagio. Vitezslav Novak: Maj [Intermezzo I.]. Vaclav Kapral: Nokturno. Jaroslav Kricka: Vesele kousky. Vitezslava Kapralova: Groteskni passacaglia. Otakar Sin: Amoroso [Intimni nalady]. Jaroslav Jezek: Kdyz jsem kytici vazala. Tomas Visek, Petr Matuszek, Nadia Zakhourova, Klara Kartakova, Jan Valta jr., Eva Novakova, Milan Likar, Divci sbor posluchacu Konzervatore v Teplicich, Jan Valta.

MK 0049-2011 (Matousek/Studio Matous)
... The Military Sinfonietta recording (Jilek and the Brno Philharmonic) is vast improvement at least in sound over the recording (Trhlik/FOK Orch) I had for years on a 10" mono LP. By any measure, this is an impressive work, thematically cogent and elegantly worked out.
From a review by John Wiser, Classical Archives Listserv, July 2001.

Kapralova, Vitezslava (1915-1940)
An outstanding female composer, conductor, and pianist who is now receiving renewed international acclaim ...
Timothy Cheek: Singing in Czech. A Guide to Czech Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire. The Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland, and London, 2001. Page 144.

Music suppressed by the Third Reich
International Conference: University of Virginia (UVA), Charlottesville, March 2001

The Gala concert [..] opened with a dramatic performance of Korngold's "Ich ging zu ihm" sung by Kathryne Jennings, from the opera Das Wunder der Heliane. Then followed an astonishing work, Four Preludes, by Vitezslava Kapralova played with fine technical accomplishment by the young Chinese American pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. The sublimely wonderful third movement from Erwin Schulhoff's Sonata for Flute and Piano provided a marvellous foil to the Kapralova.
From report by Michael Haas and Erik Levi, IFSM Newsletter No.2, May 2001.

Soul-Searching and Beauty From Holocaust Composers
The members of the Hawthorne String Quartet all play in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but quartet playing for them is more like a mission than an extracurricular hobby. Their reportory tends toward the unusual rather than the standard [...] On Monday evening at St. Bartholomew's Church, the quartet played works by Erwin Schulhoff, Gideon Klein, Hans Krasa and Viktor Ullmann, four of the best known Terezin composers, all of whom died at other camps. Included as well was a quartet by Vitezslava Kapralova, a promising composer who died in France while waiting to emigrate to the United States. [..] The Kapralova string quartet (1935-36) explores a world of interesting effects painted around long, lyrical lines. Kapralova was 21 when she completed the work, and still a student: she went on to study conducting with Munch and composition with Martinu. Yet here she has complete command of the quartet's expressive resources.
From a review by Allan Kozinn for The New York Times, May 12, 2001

Kapralova: Sinfonietta militare ed altri brani. Matous-ADD
Lo scorso anno, nella rubrica Donne in musica, ci siamo occupati della compositrice ceca Vitezslava Kapralova, nata a Brno nel 1915 e morta di tubercolosi a Montpellier nel 1940. Ritorniamo ora sull'argomento per recensire un cd della Matous, frutto della collaborazione fra la suddetta casa praghese e la Kapralova Society, ente fondato allo scopo di diffondere l'opera della musicista. Il disco, relativo alla produzione che va dal 1936 al 1940, inizia con la Sinfonietta Militare, op.11 (1936-37), brano che reca l'impronta di Martinu, connazionale e maestro della Kapralova a Parigi. Esso fu eseguito in prima mondiale nel 1937 dalla Filarmonica Ceca, alla presenza del presidente della Cecoslovacchia e, successivamente, fu interpretato dall'Orchestra della BBC nel 1938, all'inaugurazione del Festival della Societa Internazionale per la Musica Contemporanea di Londra. In entrambe le occasioni fu la stessa Kapralova a condurre le due orchestre, riscuotendo grande successo anche come direttore. Dopo la Sinfonietta e la volta del Quartetto per archi, op.8 e dei Preludi d'Aprile per pianoforte, op. 13, che indicano una notevole abilita della musicista anche nel settore cameristico. A seguire troviamo Love Carol per voce e pianoforte, che trae spunto dall'omonimo brano di Martinu, anch'esso presente nella registrazione, e Ritornello, op. 25 per violoncello e pianoforte, l'ultima composizione portata a termine dalla Kapralova prima dell'aggravarsi della malattia. Il disco si completa con la Partita per pianoforte ed orchestra d'archi, op. 20 e Waving Farewell per voce ed orchestra, op. 14. La prima utilizza una forma musicale barocca e la integra con sonorita moderne mentre il secondo fa riferimento ad un'omonima poesia di Nezval, avente come tema la nostalgia per Praga, sentimento condiviso dalla Kapralova che trascorse da esule in Francia i suoi ultimi anni. Per quanto riguarda l'esecuzione, data l'ampia varieta delle musiche, numerosi, e tutti molto bravi, risultano gli interpreti. Fra essi, per questioni di spazio, ci limitiamo a ricordare l'ottima prova dell'Orchesta Filarmonica di Stato di Brno, diretta da Frantisek Jilek, impegnata nella Sinfonietta. I ringraziamenti finali sono doverosamente indirizzati alla Matous ed alla Kapralova Society che, con il loro sforzo congiunto, hanno fatto conoscere agli appassionati le composizioni di una delle figure piu importanti della musica ceca del Novecento.
Review by © Marco del Vaglio for Nuova e Nostra, No. 5, March 2001, page 13. [Reprinted with kind permission of the author.]

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