Live recordings

Festival of Bohuslav Martinů

Incantation (Piano Concerto No. 4)
Symphony No. 1

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Vladimír Válek

Dagmar Pecková - mezzosoprano, Emil Leichner - piano
live on 17th December 1995 at Rudolfinum, Prague

Festival of Bohuslav Martinů

This concert closed the first cycle of concerts whose aim is to establish a tradition of festivals dedicated to the magnificent personality of Bohuslav Martinů, a composer of a gentle regard for his nation combined with an international view.

Nipponari (seven songs for female voice and small orchestra - I. Blue Hour, II. Old Age, III. Memory, IV. Life Spent in Dreams, V. Traces in Snow, VI. A Backward Glance, VII. At a Sacred Lake) was composed in 1912 to a translation of Japanese lyrics. Each song has a different instrumentation, each unusual, and makes use of strings, piano, harps, celesta and tamtam. Incantation, a piano concerto in two movements, has a very subjective and impressive atmosphere. Martinů composed it in 1955-56, when it was sure that he would never be able to return to his native country. Symphony No. 1 was composed when Martinů was already 52 years old. Before that time, he said he did not feel mature enough to write a symphony. It was commissioned by conductor Sergey Kusewitsky in memory of his deceased wife. Its first night with Kusewitsky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1942 was one of Martinů’s greatest triumphs in America.

Dagmar Pecková, an outstanding mezzo-soprano and a strong personality, started her successful operatic career at the Semper Opera in Dresden and later as a soloist with the Berlin Opera House. Since then she has been a regular guest at leading European opera houses (Stuttgart, le Chatelet and Bastille in Paris, Hamburg, Basel, Zurich, Salzburg, etc.) and concert halls (e.g. the Wigmore Hall) performing major operatic parts and a wide concert repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary works, such as Mozart, Dvořák, Mahler, Verdi, Janáček, Beethoven, Wagner, Hindemith.

Emil Leichner is a soloist of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. He has been performing and recording extensively as a solo pianist as well as a member of the Piano Quartet of Bohuslav Martinů. He is a member of the managing board of Bohuslav Martinů Foundation and a teacher at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts. He was the first to record Martinů’s complete piano works.

director: Stanislav Vaněk
time: 89 min.