More recent 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.
Pisne Bohuslava Martinu v brnenských vilach
Posledni koncert v 17 hodin se konal ve vile Tugendhat. Tady meli posluchaci moznost slyset vykon mlade sopranistky Lady Bockove za klavirniho doprovodu Marty Vaskové.
Pevkyne, ktera v soucasnosti sklizi uspechy na zahranicnich scenach, zde predvedla nejen skvele ovladany a prijemny, kulaty a pritom jasny sopran, ale zaujala predevsim schopnosti se okamzite vcitit
do charakteru a nalady pisne [...] Zaverecny cyklus Sbohem a satecek, op. 14 (1937) na slova basne Vitezslava Nezvala je dilem Vitezslavy Kapralove.
Silna emotivni vypoved textu dala vzniknout vyjimecne krasne skladbe, plne citu a melodického vzepeti, kterou zpevacka naplnila silnou emocni energii.
Karla Hofmannova for Opera Plus, 6. 10. 2019.
Martinu ve vile Tugendhat
S blizicim se zaverem celeho vystoupeni [...] Bohuslava Martinu na par okamziku – a coby jakasi atematicka koda –
vystridala pisen Sbohem a satecek, op. 14 Vitezslavy Kapralove.
Tato kratka skladba z roku 1937 podivuhodnym zpusobem zapadla mezi znatelne prostsi fakturu lidove ladenych pisni Martinu. Pevecky narocnejsi pasaze dokreslene
hustou harmonii, která se nevyhybala obcasnym disonancim ani jazzovým prvkum v akordicke sazbe, byly efektni teckou za celým recitalem. Zdislava Bockova tak
prokazala, ze ma svuj hlas pod kontrolou napric polohami a skladebnymi pristupy.
Ondrej Musil for Opera Plus, 6. 10. 2019.
Musical Opinion on ESO at King's Place 28 April 2019
This concert, pairing partitas by Martinu and his sometime pupil and inamorata Vitezslava Kapralova with
Mozart’s 20th Piano Concerto in its chamber/string orchestral version and a newly restored version of Dvorak’s
wonderful Serenade for strings, was probably my most eagerly anticipated concert of the preceding six months.
It did not disappoint, with the Orchestra in top form under chief conductor Kenneth Woods and with one of the
finest pianists currently on the circuit, Noriko Ogawa, in sublime form.
For the majority of the small but enthusiastic audience, the main novelty was undoubtedly the Partita for piano and
orchestra composed in 1939 by Kapralova (1915-1940) which opened the second half. It is a work that wears its
seriousness of purpose on its sleeve, clearly bearing the influence of the Martinu of the Double Concerto for two
string orchestras, piano and timpani, completed the previous year and not dissimilar in atmosphere to Kapralova’s music.
Martinu allegedly advised his pupil over some details of structure and form but the pupil assimilated rather more
than might have been anticipated. The differences are rather stronger than the incidental similarities—not least in
its being a concertante work for piano and orchestra whereas Martinu’s has the keyboard more integrated as part
of the overall ensemble. Noriko Ogawa gave a compelling account of this vital and invigorating work,
relishing the powerful passages as much as the more delicate, expressive writing.
From a review by Guy Rickards for Musical Opinion, July 2019.
In many ways the most powerful work last night was the Partita for piano and strings, Op 20 (1939)
by Moravian composer and conductor Vitezslava Kapralova (1915-1940). [...] This striking work has a bold energy, and
last night's performance was persuasive enough to modify my breathing rhythm - always a sign of something powerful happening.
The pianist in this demanding work was Noriko Ogawa, born in Kawasaki, Japan in 1962, and based in London.
Charming to speak to after the concert, she is also, according to Ken Woods, very easy to work with.
From Keith Bramich's review for Classical Music Daily, April 29, 2019.
English Symphony Orchestra at Kings Place - Kenneth Woods conducts Martinu and Dvorak - Noriko Ogawa plays Mozart and Kapralova
During his years in Paris, Martinu supplemented his income through teaching, and one of his pupils was Vitezslava Kapralova. [...] In musical terms,
Kapralova was certainly worth his attention, and her Partita (1939) is a work that in many ways stands alongside Martinu’s
contemporaneous Concerto for Double String Orchestra, Piano and Timpani, without having quite the depth of utterance of that masterpiece.
If her Partita is a little too earnest in expression throughout, one could hardly imagine a more persuasive account than this –
wholly sympathetic, brilliant and powerful by turns.
From a review by Robert Matthew-Walker for Classical Source, April 2019.
Kapralova’s Partita shows her to be one of the great musical talents of her time.
This is music of huge appeal and a profound quality. Had she lived longer, she could have been the 20th Century’s female Shostakovich or Walton, or perhaps a female Leonard Bernstein,
striding across the worlds of conducting and composing with equal command.
But every piece she did leave us is a real treasure; this one perhaps most of all.
Conductor Kenneth Woods quoted in the program notes to the English Symphony Orchestra concert at Kings' Place, London, UK on April 28, 2019.
EntArteOpera Festival: Chamber Music and Songs. Henriette Bosmans, Vally Weigl, Charlotte Schlesinger, Vitezslava Kapralova, Bohuslav Martinu / Hermine Haselbock (mezzosoprano), Franz Bartolomey (violoncello), Clemens Zeilenger (piano). Gramola CD 99183 (2018).
Let’s state right at the beginning that this is a rare collection dedicated to little known repertoire. A joint project of EntArteOpera Festival and Gramola, the disc features art songs and chamber music of
four European women composers: Austrian composer Vally Weigl (1894–1982), Dutch composer Henriette Bosmans (1895–1952), German composer Charlotte Schlesinger (1909–1976) and Czech composer
Vitezslava Kapralova (1915–1940). Bosmans was the only one of them who survived the rise of National Socialism and the war years in her homeland.
Weigl and Schlesinger were both forced to emigrate and spent the remainder of their lives in the United States, while Kapralova died early on, on the verge of the Second World War, in exile in France.
The recording’s primary focus is on the featured composers’ art songs but the selection for Weigl, Bosmans and Kapralova also includes an additional chamber piece: Weigl is represented by an
impressionistic piano toccatina, Bosmans by her early, romantic sonata for cello and piano,
and Kapralova by her neoclassical ritornel for cello and piano. The disc also includes, almost as an afterthought, Kapralova’s and Martinu’s German language version of Love Carol (Liebesliedchen)
in a world premiere CD recording. Haselbock, Zeilenger, and Bartolomey give the works excellent performances.
Enthusiastically recommended for Bartolomey’s rendition of Kapralova’s ritornel alone!
Review by Karla Hartl, Kapralova Society Journal 17, no. 1 (2019): 13.
Vitezslava Kapralova: Concertino for Violin, Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 21. Thomas Irnberger (violin); Reinhard Wieser (clarinet); Wiener Concert-Verein; Doron Salomon (conductor). Gramola CD 99098 (2018).
(Double CD coupled with Ethel Smyth’s Concerto for Violin, Horn and Orchestra, Karl Amadeus Hartman’s Concerto funebre [Israel Chamber Orchestra/Sieghart] and Martinu’s Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra H 342 [Korstick (piano)/Georgisches Kammerorchester Ingolstat/Sieghart]).
The real gem of this album is Kapralova’s Concertino. This work is one of the most enchanting and captivating in her output. The music dances, flows easily – even capriciously – but always totally
convincingly. All of the performers are clearly enamoured of the work and give it everything they’ve got.
The first movement is the only one with a tempo marking but it seems that the performers have judged the work to perfection. The excitement of the two outer movements are in fine contrast to the exquisite
beauties of the central, slow movement.
The Concertino’s orchestration and the last movement were never completed by the composer, and Milos Stedron and Leos Faltus came to its rescue, editing for publication. They let the unfinished third
movement simply fade away.
No matter; let it be said that this is a performance easily up to and even beyond the standard set by the only other recording available, a Czech Radio double CD of much importance with Pavel Wallinger on
Lukas Danhel on clarinet and the Brno Philharmonic conducted by Olga Machonova Pavlu.
Kapralova’s Concertino stands as one of her most original and fascinating compositions. We cannot know where her composing career would have headed but this work stands as
a signpost, a milestone on the trajectory of her music. She remains an outstanding figure of her generation and this work, really quite unlike
anything from the others around her, marks her as one of the greatest of the lost geniuses of the time.
From a review by Peter Herbert, Kapralova Society Journal 17, no. 1 (2019): 13.
Behind the Notes: LCMS and Venus Unwrapped 2019
A central thematic strand at Kings Place through 2019 is the Venus Unwrapped festival, a celebration of women’s
contribution to classical music, especially as composers. [...] [O]n 28 April we welcome the pianist Noriko Ogawa and
the English Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Woods, in a programme to include the exciting Partita for piano and strings by Czech composer
Vitezslava Kapralova. Kapralova seems to be becoming something of a cult figure, her music championed by,
amongst others, the conductor Rafael Kubelik. Born in 1915, she died in France in 1940 at the age of only 25, yet had
already composed some astonishing music, including the Partita, completed in 1939.
From an overview of upcoming events by Peter Fribbins for The LCMS Magazine 14, January 2019.