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Recordings

Fata Morgana

New recording of vocal works by the early-tweneth century Czech composer, Pavel Haas. Featuring four song cycles composed by Haas at various stages in his life, this captivating album includes the world premiere recording of Fata Morgana, Op. 6 – Haas’s first major work composed, following studies with Leoš Janáček, in 1922.


Release date: 3rd March 2017

Label: Resonus Classics

Cat No: RES10183


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Song by Pavel Haas 

(1899–1944)

Sedm písní v lidovém tónu, Op. 18 (1940)

Seven Songs in Folk Style

Fata Morgana, Op. 6 (1923)

Rabíndranáth Thákur, Zahradník

Čínské písně, Op. 4 (1921)

Chinese Songs

Čtyři písně na slova čínské poezie (1944)

Four Songs on Chinese Poetry

 

 

I first came across the music of Pavel Haas while researching the links between the Czech composers and their students. This line of enquiry led me from Leoš Janáček to Pavel Haas, one of his most significant and original students.

From the very first moment Haas’s music has mesmerised me: it was an exciting discovery and a wonderful challenge. The unique fusion of the local Moravian folklore influences, of jazz and film music of his time ( his brother Hugo Haas was one of the most popular actors in the pre-war Czechoslovakia ), with the echoes of the synagogue chants, which he heard as a child when visiting his uncle, a Jewish community cantor, as well as Haas’s intricate work with harmonic and rhythmic  patterns, and the formative influence of his composition teacher Janáček: all these factors united in a highly original musical language of great coherence, depth and wit. While Haas’s music captures the zeitgeist of his era, its roots reach deep into the Czech musical tradition, where the ancient Saint Wenceslas choral resonates, rousing the Czech nation to courage in the times of hardship.

My interest further led me to Haas’s daughter, Olga Haasová-Smrčková. Meeting this remarkable lady, the closest living relative of the composer, provided another impulse and inspiration for my work. Her wit and energy, regardless of her advanced age and frail health, her inner fire and inner strength made me think of what her father would have been like. It is an unspeakable tragedy that his life has been so cruelly cut in its prime, and one can but ponder on what another masterpieces Pavel Haas could have had composed. But we are fortunate to have the music he’s left us, which speaks on his behalf.

The ambition behind this album is double: to share the exquisite song cycles by Pavel Haas, and to present, for the first time, the magic of his Fata Morgana to the wider audience, but it is also to inspire others to get hold of the music, to study it, and make it a regular part of the repertoire on records and concert platforms. The legacy of Pavel Haas deserves that, and more.

Artists on the album:

Nicky Spence tenor

James Platt bass

Anita Watson soprano

Anna Starushkevych mezzo soprano

Navarra Quartet

Lada Valešová

piano & artistic director


Dumka

Solo piano survey of the unique Slavic musical form Dumka.


Release date: 15th September 2014

Label: Avie Records

Cat No: 2288


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1 Antonín Dvořák:  Dumka in D minor Op. 35 (1876)

2 Josef Suk:Dumka in D minor, Piano Pieces Op.7, No.5 (1891-1893)

3 Antonín Dvořák: Dumka / Furiant Op. 12 (1883)

Dumka

4 Antonín Dvořák: Furiant

5 Franz Liszt:Complainte ( Dumka ), Glanes de Woronince. No. 3;  S. 249; LW A249    (1847)

6 Milly Balakirev: Dumka in E flat minor (1900)

7 Piotr Tchaikovsky:Dumka in C minor Russian Rustic Scene, Op.59 (1886)

8 Mykola Lysenko:Dumka-Shumka, Second Piano Rhapsody on the Ukrainian Folk  themes Op. 18 (1877)

9 Bohuslav Martinů Dumka  No.1, H. 249, “Contemplation” 

10 Bohuslav MartinůDumka ( Contamplation )No.2, H. 250, “Elegie”

11 Bohuslav MartinůDumka No.3, H. 285bis

12 Improvisation on Czech and Slovak Folk Songs. Lada Valesova

What is Dumka?

I have often pondered on a definition of Slavic Soul in music. What makes us recognise that particular mode from the others? Why does it tuck on our hear strings the way it does? My contemplations let me to the music form of Dumka, with its etymological root “ duma “ : “ a thought”.  The more research I did, the more magical Dumkas for piano I kept discovering, some well know and some less so. While all of them stay true to their form with lyrical, bitter-sweet longing, arching melodies and sometimes dance-like middle parts, each of them is also distinctly different with varying hues of moods and colours. The music captures these subtleties effortlessly, but it is more difficult to put into words their essence, which I feel so acutely and personally. For me each Dumka evokes different association: Russian autumnal landscape in contrast with the fiery Russian dance in Tchaikovsky, flow of bitter-sweet memories without any feel of despair in Dvorak, teardrops followed by recollection of happier days, resolved in peaceful acceptance in Suk, winter evening by the fireplace, while the snowdrops dance behind the window in Balakirev, Hungarian visitor being inspired by the tuneful Ukranian songs in Liszt, a young, witty and charming cosmopolitan Czech in Martinu. And as a father figure stands Mikola Lysenko, who merges the virtuosity of his age with folk roots of his homeland in perfect symbiosis. Saying that, you, my listener, might completely disagree with me, and that would also be wonderful, as my aim is to take you on a journey, display different landscapes, evoke different moods and memories, and spike your curiosity about this compact word Dumka, and what lies behind it.

Lada Valešová


Intimate Studies

Piano music by Janáček, Haas, Martinu and Suk


Release date: 23rd March 2009

Label: Avie Records

Cat No: AV2142


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Leoš Janáček (1854 – 1928)

In the Mist piano cycle in four movements 16:14

1 I Andante 3:57

2 II Molto adagio 4:26

3 III Andantino 2:33

4 IV Presto 5:18

Intimate Studies 9:08

5 Palace of the “Malá Strana” 1:28

6 (Without Title)) 0:41

7 Melody 0:24

8 Merely blind fate? 0:57

9 So that one could never return 0:57

10 Golden Ring 0:18

11 I am waiting for you! 0:46

12 In Remembrance 1:19

13 To my Olga 0:41

14 Cradle Song 1:01

15 Lord Jesus Christ is Born 0:36

Pavel Haas (1899 – 1944)

Suite for Piano Op. 13 (1935) 14:04

16 I Praeludium 2:16

17 II Con molta espressione 2:53

18 III Danza 2:26

19 IV Pastorale 3:26

20 V Postludium 3:03

21 Allegro moderato 1:42

Bohuslav Martinů (1890 – 1959)

Film en Miniature H.148 (1925) 12:36

22 Tango 2:33

23 Scherzo 1:44

24 Berceuse 3:04

25 Valse 2:25

26 Chanson 1:24

27 Carillon 1:26

28 Spring (1921) 3:33

Josef Suk (1874 – 1935)

Spring 17:35

29 I Spring 5:55

30 II Breeze 1:57

31 III Awaiting 3:33

32 IV *** (as titled by Suk) 2:32

33 V Longing 3:24

“Intimate Studies” is the innovative debut release from Czech pianist Lada Valešová who has developed a fresh and intriguing programme of works that link both teacher and student alike during the early part of the 20th century.. The CD features 20th century piano music composed by four of her native country’s leading composers: “In the Mist” (Janáček), “Suite for Piano Op.13” and “Allegro Moderato” (Haas), “Film en Miniature H.148” (Martinů) and “Spring Op.22a” (Suk).

However, of particular note is the performance of a rare collection of eleven tone poems and studies, some complete miniature works, some unfinished kernels of ideas written by Janacek under the collected title: “Intimate Studies”.

Reviews:

“ mesmerising pensiveness … in this entirely imaginatively planned recital, Valešová plays with heart-warming sensibility and tonal refinement.”

Daily Telegraph

“as good as a potted history of Czech composition during the 20th century … intense sensitivity”

Classic FM Magazine

“Extraordinary stuff, magically played ”

Evening Standard CD of the Week

“her unflappable technique is joined by an intimate warmth and an ability to say things of worth that can’t be rushed” –Fanfare

“off the beaten track…distinguished by inspired and modern interpretation ” 4 forks – Diapason

“played with an instinctive intelligence that only a Czech can bring to this repertoire” – The Observer

“a thoroughly recommendable disc” – Gramophone “absorbing and intelligent recital” – Independent on Sunday

“ You have to take your hat off to someone who can plan a recital CD with the imaginative insight of investigative musicologist and the execute it with such musicianly sensitivity…. ” – International Piano

“ idiomatic playing of Valešová is strongly to be preferred…This is a delightful recital, warmly and sensitively played…the musicianship and perception are altogether in another class” – MusicWeb International

“The overriding impression created by this disc is of an unpretentious talent, free of mannerism or gratuitous showmanship, employed at the service of music the pianist clearly loves” page1image14520– Musicalcriticism.com

“considerable demands on the performer … Lada Valešová is brilliant”

–International Record Review