MAY 2019

Martinů Songs reviewed

At the beginning of 2019, a successful album with Martinů's songs was released by Supraphon (Songs on One Page, H 294, Songs on Two Pages, H 302, New Slovak Songs, H 126, and The New Chapbook, H 288), featuring soprano Martina Janková, baritone Tomáš Král and pianist Ivo Kahánek. In addition to the praiseworthy reviews of magazines and music web sites, such as Diapason, Le Monde, MusicWeb International, or Gramophone, the album received Diapason d’Or.

Photo: Petra Hajská

Diapason Magazine (April 2019) / Nicolas Derny

“These three artists achieve miracles in every one of the songs making up this fragrant collection: Martina Janková’s luscious voice seems to be more radiant than ever, Tomáš Král negotiates the musical syncopations and the stress patterns of the language with equal skill, and pianist Ivo Kahánek, the catalyst for the whole enterprise, is ceaselessly inventive in support. […] It was a good idea to frame the recital with some of the composer’s war-time songs, among the last he ever wrote. In these songs, he recalls his native country and his home town of Polička with an intense nostalgia, tenderly conveyed by the soprano. It was an even better idea to allow the two singers to ‘converse’ within those songs which allow the possibility. […] To make us totally happy, the artists had to give equal importance to texts and notes – sometimes even more to words. They do it with constant sensitivity and great insight."

Gramophone / Tim Ashley

"Janková’s clear, silvery soprano offsets Král’s light, warm baritone throughout. Nothing is over-dramatised or tipped towards sentimentality (…) Pianist Ivo Kahánek, meanwhile, binds the songs together with playing of understated dexterity and emotional restraint. It’s a lovely disc, most beautifully done."​

MusicWeb International Jonathan Woolf

“Supraphon’s focus on these folk settings sets it apart from the multi-volume Naxos discs but in a fruitful and complementary way … Janková’s focused innocent purity adds a slightly different, less interventionist gloss … baritone Tomáš Král sings with a boyish warmth, and master pianist Ivo Kahánek – who has never made a bad disc – proves exemplary in the cimbalom evocations.”

Le Monde / Marie-Aude Roux

"A l’instar de Bartok et de Kodaly pour la Hongrie, le Morave Bohuslav Martinu collecta les musiques folkloriques populaires de sa région, entre Bohême et Slovaquie, dans lesquelles il puisa une large part de son inspiration, notamment après s’être exilé aux Etats-Unis dès 1923. La chaude maturité vocale de Martina Jankova, la sensible délicatesse de Tomas Kral, non moins que le piano fédérateur d’Ivo Kahanek donnent à ces musiques contrastées leur tour sentimental ou nostalgique, drôle voire grinçant. En solo ou en duo, les chanteurs et leur compagnon au clavier nous entraînent sur les chemins d’Europe centrale dont les 52 mélodies de Martinu sont autant de petites pierres de touche."

Das Opernglas (April 2019)

„Martina Janková singt diese Lieder mit dem tiefen Verständnis für alles, was mit Liebesleid und -lust zu tun hat. Ihr wendiger, wundervoll samtig timbrierter Sopran verleiht den Liedern Intimität und Wahrhaftigkeit. Zurecht lobt sie ihren Partner Tomáš Král als einen feinfühligen Sänger, dessen lyrische Stimme begeistert und wunderbar zu Martinů's Idiom passt. Wer Freude an den kleinen, unspektakulären Dingen des Lebens hat, der wird diese CD als ein mit zahlreichen Juwelen gefülltes Schatzkästlein zu schätzen wissen.“

The Art Music Lounge Lynn René Bayley​

“This is an utterly delightfull album of (mostly) short songs by Martinů, all quite lyrical and tonal and mostly based on folk music, and one of the reasons it is so delightful is that both Martina Janková and Tomáš Král have attractive voices without wobbles and with wonderfully musical styling and excellent diction. (...) If you enjoy Martinů in general and folk-based songs as a rule, you’ll love it!”