Forgotten Czech Piano Concertos / Kozák, Jindra, Prague Radio Symphony

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It would very much seem that the 19th- and 20th-century Czech piano concerto repertoire begins and ends with Dvorák and Martinu. The present recording, however, serves to prove that this is far from being the case. It contains three piano concertos that have been – undeservedly – overlooked.

Vítezslava Kaprálová wrote the Piano Concerto in D minor, characterized by brilliant instrumentation and an engrossing solo part, at the age of 20 as her graduation work. The premiere, which she herself conducted, met with great critical acclaim. In1937, the young composer moved to Paris to study with Bohuslav Martinu. Just a year later, Kaprálová was lauded at the International Society for Contemporary Music festival in London, which she opened conducting the BBC Orchestra performing her Military Sinfonietta. In 1940, when she was just 25, the gifted artist’s life and career were sadly terminated by a serious illness.

At that very age, Karel Kovarovic created his one and only piano concerto. A pupil of Zdenek Fibich, he would later on primarily gain recognition as a conductor and serve as director of Prague’s National Theatre Opera (1900–1920). Kovarovic’s Piano Concerto in F minor affords the soloists great scope to display their virtuosity.

Pavel Borkovec, a pupil of J. B. Foerster and Josef Suk, wrote his Piano Concerto No. 2 after World War II. At the time a mature artist, as a teacher he cultivated a new generation of major Czech composers (Petr Eben, Jan Novák, Vladimír Sommer, etc.).

The main protagonist of the present album, the pianist Marek Kozák, who has garnered accolades at a number of competitions (Zurich, Bolzano, Bremen, Prague, and elsewhere), has a penchant for exploring little-known and forgotten landscapes, as attested to by this revelatory recording.

Product Description:

  • Release Date: March 22, 2024

  • Catalog Number: SU4334-2

  • UPC: 099925433727

  • Label: Supraphon

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Romantic, 20th Century

  • Composer: Pavel Borkovec, Vitezslava Kapralova, Karel Kovarovic

  • Conductor: Robert Jindra

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra

  • Performer: Marek Kozak