Supraphon to release cantatas from the Czech Highlands: Bohuslav Martinů Returning to his Homeland
When Miloslav Bureš sent his first poem Song of the Ruby Spring to Bohuslav Martinů in 1955, he seemed to have touched the deepest spot of the composer’s heart. The poet set his verses into the landscape of the Czech Highlands, the region of Martinů’s childhood and a rich source of his memories. The composer must have identified strongly with the character of the pilgrim returning to his birthplace, because he wrote The Opening of the Springs within nine days. Later he set to music three more poems by Bureš, finishing the last one, Mikeš of the Mountains, half a year before his death. For Martinů, the cantatas represented an important link to his homeland at a time when the political situation and later also his poor health were diminishing his hopes of coming back home. One can only imagine what he felt when he was sitting in Schönenberg, Switzerland, listening to the vinyl record with the first recording of his Opening of the Springs published by Supraphon, or when his friends were sending him reports about the Czech premieres of his works...
This new recording made by the Prague Philharmonic Choir is based on the currently prepared critical edition that takes into account the composer’s manuscripts and interpretation requirements. Insisting on the highest performance quality and returning to Martinů’s original ideas were what motivated the musicians throughout the making of this recording, due to be released on 21st October 2016.
Bohuslav Martinů - Cantatas from the Czech HIghlands
1/ The Legend of the Smoke from Potato Tops, H 360 / 1956
Cantata for mixed chorus, soprano, contralto, baritone, flute, clarinet, French horn, accordion and piano
2/ The Opening of the Springs, H 354 / 1955
Cantata for female chorus, soprano, contralto, baritone, recitation, two violins, viola and piano
3/ The Romance from the Dandelions, H 364 / 1957
Cantata for mixed chorus and soprano solo
4/ Mikeš of the Mountains, H 375 / 1959
Cantata for mixed chorus, soprano, tenor, two violins, viola and piano
Prague Philharmonic Choir, choir master Lukáš Vasilek. Pavla Vykopalová - soprano; Ludmila Hudečková - contralto; Martin Slavík - tenor; Jiří Brückler, Petr Svoboda - baritone; Jaromír Meduna - recitation; Ivo Kahánek - piano; Members of the Bennewitz Quartet et al.
Recorded in the Rudolfinum, Prague, October 22, 23, 26, 29 and December 21, 2015.