Bohemian Impressions

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BOHEMIAN IMPRESSIONS • Václav Neumann 1 , Libor Pe?ek 2 , cond; Czech PO; 3 Jí?í B?lohlávek, cond; Prague Philharmonia • SUPRAPHON SU 4058-2 (68:02)...

BOHEMIAN IMPRESSIONS Václav Neumann 1 , Libor Pe?ek 2 , cond; Czech PO; 3 Jí?í B?lohlávek, cond; Prague Philharmonia SUPRAPHON SU 4058-2 (68:02)

1 SMETANA Má Vlast: From Bohemia’s Woods and Fields. 1 DVO?ÁK Czech Suite: Preludium; Romance. In Nature’s Realm. 2 SUK A Summer’s Tale: Intermezzo. 3 NOVÁK Moravian-Slovak Suite: The Lovers; The Country Musicians. 1 MARTIn? Bouquet of Flowers: Idyll. 1 JANÁ?EK The Cunning Little Vixen: Introduction. Lachian Dances: “The Saws.” 1 FIBICH Poem. At Twilight

Bohemian, certainly, but also Moravian—though it would have been a less catchy title. In any case, geographic quibbles aside, this is a simple sampler, a compilation from Supraphon and Panton’s vaults of material that will be very well known in original guise.

We start with Má Vlast , but not, fortunately, Vltava . Instead we hear Václav Neumann’s mid-1970s recording of the piece known to one and all as From Bohemia’s Woods and Meadows , before a process of Virgilian change transformed them first to Woods and Fields and now, apparently, to Fields and Groves. The world of translation truly never sleeps. I prefer Neumann’s Czech Philharmonic performance to his less idiomatic earlier Leipzig one. His Dvo?ák Czech Suite is represented by two movements notable for illustrating the highly nuanced and personalized sound of the inimitable wind section—all freshness and vocalized wit. A more substantial offering, however, comes in the form of the concert overture In Nature’s Realm , recorded in the early 1980s. The LP from which this derives sported various other overtures including Carnival, Othello, and My Home . Again there’s plenty for the winds to do here, in particular, though the recording doesn’t register with quite as much immediacy as the earlier ones.

It’s Neumann who bears the bulk of the recordings. He also directs the sole Martin? piece, the Idyll from The Bouquet of Flowers , always a joy to hear. And Janá?ek is represented by two pieces, the introduction to The Cunning Little Vixen and “The Saws—from the Lachian Dances, which are both, necessarily perhaps, somewhat unrepresentative. Zden?k Fibich’s Poem , that luscious onetime standby of fiddle players, is lusciously and lovingly played. Libor Pe?ek’s mid-’80s recording of Josef Suk’s Intermezzo from A Summer’s Tale , a finely evocative torso, is adeptly played by the Czech Philharmonic. Vít?zslav Novák’s Moravian-Slovak Suite is represented by two of the central movements, a contrasting pair well chosen for this purpose.

The recordings date from 1971 to 1998. I’m sure this taster disc would interest the casual listener. Sterner auditors may not, of course, wish to sully their shelves with a mere compilation of this sort.

FANFARE: Jonathan Woolf

Product Description:

  • Release Date: May 27, 2011

  • UPC: 099925405823

  • Catalog Number: SU4058-2

  • Label: Supraphon

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Antonín Dvořák, Bedrich Smetana, Bohuslav Martinů, Josef Suk, Leoš Janáček, Vitezslav Novák, Zdenék Fibich

  • Conductor: Jirí Belohlávek, Libor Pesek, Václav Neumann

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Performer: Neumann