Magazine article Czech Music

Magdalena Kozena: Songs My Mother Taught Me

Magazine article Czech Music

Magdalena Kozena: Songs My Mother Taught Me

Article excerpt

Magdalena Kozena

Songs My Mother Taught Me (Dvorak, Eben, Janacek, Martin, Novak, Rosler, Schulhoff)

Magdalena Kozena--mezzo soprano, Dorothea Roschmann--soprano, Malcolm Martineau--piano, Michael Freimuth--guitar. Production:

Marita Prohmann. Text: Eng., Ger., Ft. Recorded: March 2007. Released: 2008. TF: 70:04. DDD. l CD Deutsche Grammophon 00289 477 6665.

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We have reason to rejoice at every new title that Magdalena Kozena publishes with one of the most important of recording companies. And when the title in question involves a number of lesser-known works of Czech music, what is more in song repertoire, the occasion deserves even greater recognition. For me the clear high point of the new CD is the marvellously expressively treated cycle, Fairytale of the Heart by Vitezslav Novak. Indeed, it is my impression that the closer the pieces are to the genre of artistic songs, the more entirely perfect is the result. This also goes for Petr Eben's cycle Songs for the Lute with guitar accompaniment. While these have folk motifs and are based on old texts in four languages, the whole cycle is very tightly integrated and unified by carefully conceived stylisation. On the new CD these two cycles are framed in a selection from Gypsy Melodies, Moravian Two-Part Songs and Evening Songs by Antonin Dvorak, Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs by Leos Janacek, National Songs and Dances of the Tesin Region by Erwin Schulhoff and Bohuslav Martinu's Little Songs on Two Pages. Beside each other here we have very different kinds of folk inspiration, with Dvorak's famous song Kdyz mne stara matka [When My Old Mother] following straight after the Janacek and two Moravian Two-Part Songs in duet with Dorothea Roschmann inserted between the Novak and Martinu. In my view this CD definitely includes pioneering titles, but in terms of comparison with singers of the same category, superlatives are not always in order. One cannot help remembering that on her brilliant CD Anne-Sophie von Otter has all the Gypsy Melodies, naturally in German, but wonderfully performed. Or there is the joint CD from B. Bonney and A. Kirschlager for Sony that includes a complete set of the Moravian Two-Part Songs--which is completely phenomenal and even won the Echo Klassik Prize. …

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