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Vitezslava Kapralova Piano Concerto in D minor, Op. 7, Three Piano Pieces, Op. 9, Variations sur le carillon de I'eglise St-Etienne du Mont, Op. 16, Sonata Appassionata, Op. 6.

Alice Rajnohova-piano, *Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra, Tomas Hanus-conductor.

Text: Czech, English. Recorded: Piano Concerto (live) Nov. 2010, House of Arts, Zlin; other compositions: June 2011, Congress Centre, Zlin.

Released: 2011. TT: 53:32. DDD. I CD Radioservis CR0577-2.

This representative selection of piano works by the most intriguing Czech female composer of the first half of the 20th century opens with the Piano Concerto in D minor, Op. 7, with which in 1935 the twenty-year-old Kapralova graduated from the Brno Conservatory. In chronological terms, it is preceded by the two years older Sonata

Appassionata, Op. 6, placed at the very end of the disc. Three Piano Pieces, Op. 9. from late 1935, dates from the first few months of the composer's studies at the Prague Conservatory, while Variations sur le carillon de leglise St-Etienne du Mont, Op. 16, was written during her final. Paris-linked creative period. Alice Rajnohova has devoted to Kapralova's piano works for a number of years and it is evident that the composer's world is close to her-when listening to the CD, I had the constant, very pleasant feeling that the pianist and the composer were on the same wavelength. Alice Rajnohova performs the Piano Concerto with exceptional lan and understanding, with her playing evoking the mindset of the twenty-year-old Kapralova, bursting with energy and sheer joie de vivre. The first movement abounds in so many ideas-both compositional and interpretational-and so much is going on in it that you have an impression reminiscent of film music. The slow movement takes you by surprise with its brevity and darkness, which is in splendid contrast to the playful yet rhythmically engrossing final movement. Zlin's Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Tomas Hanus, play with great zest and with an exuberance as youthful as that of the soloist. With regard to it being a "live" recording, the orchestra's sound is captured splendidly. yet it is possible that in the case of a studio recording and a more appropriate arrangement of microphones it would have been even more rounded. In comparison with the grand-scale conception of the Piano Concerto, the pieces for solo piano represent rather more intimate works. Yet in them too Kapralova offers a copious amount of expression and mood contrasts, and it is true bliss to listen to how smoothly and sensitively Alice Rajnohova is able to gradate them. Notwithstanding the compositional diversity and variety and bearing in mind the fastidiousness (and many a time compactness) of the instrumental texture, Rajnohova's interpretation as a pianist is exceptionally pure and limpid, which may be one of the reasons why all the compositions-including the most complex-as performed by her are perfectly lucid and clear in structural terms. The booklet featuring Daniela Zichova's very nicely designed cover contains high-quality and interesting texts written by Alice Rajnohova and Jan Hlavac, as well as brief profiles of all the interpreters. It comes, however, as something of a surprise that Radioservis was not able to make marketing use of the fact that the Piano Concerto and Three Piano Pieces are in fact "world premiere recordings" and that it did not highlight this on the cover. or at least on the track list. The CD's release was sponscred by Canada's Kapralova Society and we can safely assume that Alice Rajnohova's recording will rank high among the projects the company has supported.

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Author:Nemec, Veroslav
Publication:Czech Music
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:558
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