Despite the worldwide pandemic that continued to affect the musical world in 2021, a good number of notable performances and broadcasts of Kapralova’s music took place during the year. Much was happening also on the recording front, resulting in five new CD releases of or with the music by Kapralova, including her orchestral portrait Waving Farewell, released in June by Naxos. At around the same time in Prague, Klic Books published Kauza Kapralova (The Kapralova Case), a collection of correspondence and archivalia that document Kapralova’s postmortal repatriation and shed some light on the cause of her death, which has long been misdiagnosed as tuberculosis. In November, the Society published a collection of essays entitled The Women in Music Anthology to promote the legacies of nine women musicians, and the year ended in style with a Musee de l’homme exhibition in Paris, entitled Portraits de France, which celebrated 58 refugees and immigrants—29 men and 29 women who lived and died in France—selected from the original 318 nominees for their contribution to the “national narrative of the Republic of France.” Kaprálová made the final cut.Performances
The year 2021 saw a number of notable live performances that included two Wigmore Hall performances—by BBC New Generation Artist Ema Nikolovska, a Canadian who gave the UK premiere of Kapralova’s song cycle Sung into the Distance, and by American Kirill Gerstein, who performed the composer’s April Preludes. Another UK premiere was given of Sonata Appassionata at the Barbican in London, performed by Samantha Ege. April Preludes also received its Hungarian premiere by British pianist Sam Haywood at the Solti Hall in Budapest (—he also gave a rare performance of the work at Prague’s Rudolfinum—) and its Spanish premiere by Antonio Oyarzabal at the Pirineos Classics Festival. Country premieres were also given of Elegy, performed by Liza Ferschtman and Juho Pohjonen at the Jarna Festival in Sweden, Waving Farewell, performed by Odile Heimburger and Laurianne Corneille at the Un temps pour Elles Festival in France, and Five Piano Pieces, performed by Kathrin Schmidlin in Switzerland. Finally, Kapralova’s reed trio, performed by Robin Williams, William Stafford, and Alison Green, received its UK premiere at the Perth Concert Hall in Edinburgh. There were also two orchestral concerts, both in Prague: of Partita, performed by Ilaybüke Algür and the NeoKlasik Orchestra conducted by Vaclav Dlask (this concert was financially assisted by our Society) and of Military Sinfonietta, performed by the Prague State Opera Orchestra conducted by Richard Hein.Broadcasts
There were 20 radio broadcasts and podcasts of Kapralova’s music in 2021. Participating broadcasters were from Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and included six national broadcasters: the BBC, the CBC, Deutschlandfunk, ORF, RTBF (Belgium), and Czech Radio. Just to mention a few of the most substantial programs: CBC Music produced a 68-minute documentary dedicated to Kapralova’s life and music, broadcast as part of their In Concert Revival Hour series; Ameria Radio produced and broadcast a musical portrait of the composer, I Notturni di Ameria Radio: Musiche di Vitezslava Kapralova; Czech Radio 3 dedicated one of its 90-minute Lunch Concerts to four orchestral works by Kapralova: Partita, Concertino, Sinfonietta, and Piano Concerto; and Deutschlandfunk Kultur recorded and broadcast a piano recital of Steffen Schleiermacher, "Die Tschechische Avantgarde in Paris," which included five works by our composer.Publications
There were two books that came out in 2021. In June, Prague publisher Klic Books published Kauza Kapralova v dobove korespondenci a dokumentech (The Kapralova Case in Period Correspondence and Documents) with an introduction by Karla Hartl, who collected the documents for the book from various public and private archives and transcribed and annotated the included correspondence. The book narrates the story of Kapralova’s postmortal repatriation and sheds some light on the cause of the composer’s death. In addition, it points out to the pitfalls of ongoing exploitation of Kapralova's life and personality in literature and theatre. In October, The Kapralova Society released a free digital version of The Women in Music Anthology; the printed version followed in November. The book opens with two major essays on the Woman Composer Question that explain why, even today, we rarely see women included in music history textbooks, or hear their music performed by symphony orchestras or in major concert halls. The book then continues with chapters that explore, in some depth, the lives and legacies of nine women musicians who made a major impact in their respective fields and communities: Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Clara Schumann, Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach, Agatha Backer Grøndahl, Maude Valérie White, Florence Price, Vera Lynn and Vitezslava Kapralova.Sheet music
During the year, the Kapralova Society published two scores by Agnes Tyrrell (see further).CD Releases
There were five recording projects realized in 2021. Listed in chronological order, the Swiss label Claves Records released a CD entitled "Frauenstimmen" (Women’s Voices) that presented chamber music by several women composers, including Kapralova’s Ritournelle pour violoncelle et piano, in a stunning performance by Anna Fortova and Kathrin Schmidlin. The next came "La Muse Oubliee," a release of the Spanish label IBS Classical, featuring pianist Antonio Oyarzabal whose interesting program, dedicated to historical women composers, also featured Kapralova. He gave her April Preludes a stellar performance. The third release, entitled "Serenade aux etoiles," was dedicated to flute and piano music by several women composers from the Middle Ages to the present. This recording, featuring Monika Streitova and Ana Telles and released by Slovart label, included Kapralova's Elegy in an arragement for flute and piano. The CD "Charmes," produced by Orchid Classics, followed with the songs by Pauline Viardot, Alma Mahler, Clara Schumann, and—Kapralova, sung by the brilliant soprano Olena Tokar, a Leipzig Opera singer and a former BBC Young Generation Artist, who was accompanied by her pianist husband Igor Gryshyn. The last and most eagerly awaited CD, named after Kapralova’s greatest song, Waving Farewell, was produced by Naxos. Released in June, this orchestral portrait of Kapralova surpassed previous releases of her orchestral music with remarkably fresh and energetic performances by the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Kiesler. All works on the disc but one (Prelude de Noel) were composed early in Kapralova’s career: Suite en miniature, Piano Concerto, Sinfonietta, and two orchestral songs, of which Sad Evening was recorded in a world premiere. Presto Music chose the disc as their Recording of the Year but all five discs received rave reviews, attesting to the growing reputation of Kapralova as a major composer of her generation.Reviews
All aforementioned releases received favourable reviews. "Frauenstimmen" was reviewed for Fono Forum
(Dorothee Riemer), Scenes magazine (Cecilia Viola), 24heures.ch (Matthieu Chenal), Classica (Jacques Bonnaure), Le Courrier
(Gianluigi Bocelli), and das Orchester (Gerhard Anders). Reviews of the "Muse Oubliee" appeared in Gramophone (Robert Cowan),
MusicWeb International (Nick Barnard), Guardian, BBC Music Magazine, Melómano (Fran Balsera), Scherzo (Ana Garcia Urcola),
Revista La Segarra (Santi Riu), Pianist (Thea Derks) and Fanfare (James Harrington). "Serenade aux etoiles" was reviewed by Czech Radio 3 (Milan Bator);
"Charmes" was reviewed by BBC Music Magazine (Natasha Loges – Choral and Song Choice in April),
by Presto Music (Katherine Cooper – Presto Music's editor's choice for April and the Recordings of the Year finalist),
planethugill.com (Robert Hugill), and Art Music Lounge (Lynn Rene Bayley);
"Waving Farewell" received reviews in BBC Record Review (Nigel Simeone), Gramophone’s Listening Room (James Joly), Ludwig van Daily (Norman Lebrecht),
Presto Music (Katherine Cooper - Editor's Choice and the Recordings of the Year finalist), Stretto Magazine,
(Michel Dutrieue), Classical Explorer (Colin Clarke), MusicWeb International (Stephen Greenbank), Critica Classica (Marco del Vaglio),
deVolkskrant (Jenny Camilleri), Charlottesville Classical (Ralph Graves), Art Music Lounge (Lynn Rene Bayley), David’s Review Corner
(David Denton), Kulturabdruck, and larkreviews.co.uk.
Women in Music
In 2021, we published the nineteenth volume of the Kapralova Society Journal. The winter issue offered the feature "J.L. Zaimont’s musical storytelling in Virgie Rainey," written by Kheng K. Koay; the essay "Where has this music been all my life? On women composers in the 20th century. Featuring the life and music of Amy Beach, Vitezslava Kapralova, and Grace Williams," by George Henderson; and Tom Moore’s article on the life and music of Leonie Collongues, his latest addition to our journal series 'Women of the 19th Century Salon.' The issue was rounded off with the usual In Review section. The summer issue included a feature by Erin Hackel and Karin Hauger, "Bokken Lasson: Norwegian Feminist, Artist, Entrepreneur," and an interview of Elisabeth Blair about her trailblazing podcast Listening to Ladies. The In Review section included three book reviews of recently published monographs on Mabel Daniels, Madeleine Dring, and Johanna Kinkel.The Women in Music Anthology
The purpose of this anthology, poblished by the Kapralova Society at the end of the year, was to guarantee a prolonged life to a group of ‘best of’ articles, published in the Kapralova Society Journal over the course of sixteen years. The various essays were revised, some substantially, and updated for inclusion in the book. The publication is divided into two sections. The first is dedicated to historical women composers and musicians, and begins with two introductory essays on the Woman Composer Question. The book then continues with chapters that celebrate the lives and legacies of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Clara Schumann, Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach, Agatha Backer Grøndahl, Maude Valérie White, Florence Price, and Vera Lynn. One chapter also focuses on the history of all-female orchestras. The second section is dedicated to the latest research on Kapralova. Only essays with a broader appeal have been selected for this section of the anthology, providing a historical context to the times in which Kaprálová lived and died, and to the Czech musical culture of the period. Several chapters pertain to the intriguing task of reconstructing music from sketches and autograph fragments, with three examples of possible approaches to tackle such a task successfully. A digital version of the anthology can be downloaded free from the Society website.The Agnes Tyrrell Edition
Since 2021, a small section of our website has been dedicated to the music of Agnes Tyrrell (1846–1883). A pianist and composer of Czech and English descent who lived her whole life in Brno, Kapralova’s birthplace, Tyrrell was one of the few women to compose a symphony prior to 1900. In 2018, her Overture in C Minor received its world premiere by the Orchester L’anima giusta conducted by Jessica Horsley at the frauenkomponiert Festival in Bern and was recorded for Swiss Radio. It has so far been the only known recording of Tyrrell’s music. The L’anima giusta performance brought Tyrrell to the attention of our Society that now also promotes her life and work. Many of Tyrrell’s autographs are held in the Moravian Museum of Brno, and last year we published two of them: Theme and Variations, op. 8, and Grand Sonata, op. 66. The scores are available on request to those professional pianists who want to study this music for possible performance.Online Resources
In the past twenty years, the Kapralova Society website has become an important platform for promoting women’s achievements in classical music. The site not only offers an open access journal on women in music but now also offers several free e-publications and digital sheet music. Its reputation has grown over the years, and in 2021, it was also acknowledged by the Library of Congress, which selected the site for their web archives project.
We thank all of those who promoted the composer’s music and memory in 2021:
and: 24heures.ch, Ameria Radio, Gerhard Anders, ArcoDiva, Arisona State University School of Music, Arium TV, Dejan Badnjar, Frank Balsera, The Barbican, Nick Barnard, Jindra Bartova, Milan Bator, BBC Music Magazine, BBC Radio 3, BBC Record Review, Matthew Berry, Binghamton Music Department, Elisabeth Blair, Pascal Blanchard, Gianluigi Bocelli, Jacques Bonnaure, Jenny Camilleri, CBC Music, Charlottesville Classical, Matthieu Chenal, Arthur Chimkovitch, Colin Clarke, Classica, Classical Explorer, Claves Records, Aurélie Clemente-Ruiz, Community School of Music and Arts Mountain View, Katherine Cooper, Robert Cowan, Critica Classica, Czech Center (New York), Czech Museum of Music, Czech Radio 3, Czech Radio (Brno Studio), Czech Radio Publishing House, David Danton, das Orchester, Indrani Das Schmid, David’s Review Corner, Thea Derks, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Patrick Devine, deVolkskrant, Bertrand Dicale, Michal Dockal, Michel Dutrieue, Dvorak Society Journal of Czech and Slovak Music, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ottawa, Erik Entwistle, Fanfare, Fono Forum, France Musique, Yvan Gastaut, Eugene Gates, Gedok, Gramophone, Grand 101 Wellington County, Ralph Graves, Alison Green, Stephen Greenbank, Guardian, Erin Hackel, Hamburger Kunsthalle, James Harrington, Karin Hauger, George Henderson, Peter Herbert, Jan Hlavac, Janet Horvath, Alison Howard, Robert Hugill, IAWM Journal, IBS Classical, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Interlude, Jarna Festival Academy, James Joly, Marketa Kabelkova, Klasika Plus, Boris Klepal, Klic Books (Prague), Kheng K. Koay, Simona Kostrhunova, Kulturabdruck, larkreviews.co.uk, Le Courrier, Norman Lebrecht, Library of Congress, Lieder Society, Liszt Academy Concert Centre (Budapest), Natasha Loges, Ludwig van Daily, Judith Mabary, Lucia Maloveska, Marvin Duchow Music Library, Melomano, Helene Michel, Jaroslav Mihule, Tom Moore, Musee de l’homme (Paris), Katarzyna Musial, MusicWeb International, Musik Meister AG, Musikschule Baar, Musiq3-RTBF, Naxos, NPO Radio 4 Nederland, Oberlin Conservatory, Old Well Theatre, OperaPlus, Opus musicum, Orchid Classics, Pianist, Paolo Pietropaolo, Daniel Pinc, Pirineos Classics Festival, planethugill.com, Prague Philharmonia, Prague State Opera, Presto Music, Tom Quick, Radio Classic (Prague), Radio Classica, Radio Concertzender, Radio Monalisa, Revista La Segarra, Patrick Reynolds, Dorothee Riemer, Ritmo, Santi Riu, Royal Academy of Music (London), Scenes magazine, Schaffhauser Nachrichten, Scherzo, Seen and Heard International, Zoja Seyckova, Nigel Simeone, Robert Skarda, Lucie Slivonova, St. Lawrence Jewry Concert Series, Marie Stastna, Stretto Magazine, Alice Tabery, The Nine, Un temps pour elles Festival, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, University of Toronto Library of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ana Garcia Urcola, Marco del Vaglio, Sakira Ventura, Cecilia Viola, Wigmore Hall, Wonderfiel Festival (Helsinki), WQXR, and Petr Zaruba.Farewell to Marco del Vaglio (1962–2021), a staunch promoter of Kapralova’s music in Italy. You will be greatly missed.
This report was prepared by Karla Hartl. Vancouver Island, January 22, 2022 (last update on February 7, 2022).