Václav Kaprál (1889-1947) - String Quartet in C Minor 20:41
1. Allegro moderato 9:08
2. Adagio molto. Presto 11:33
Janáček Quartet (Miloš Vacek, Vítězslav Zavadilík, Jan Řezníček, Břetislav Vybíral)
3. Václav Kaprál - Sonáta for Piano No.3 9:08
Alice Rejnohová piano
Václav Kaprál - Sonata for Piano No.4 14:03
4. Moderato ma appassionato e poco rubato 5:51
5. Allegretto semplice 2:38
Alice Rajnohová piano
7. Václav Kaprál - Předtucha / Premontion 3:20
Alice Rajnohová piano
8. Václav Kaprál - Uspávanky / Lullabies 8:51
Anna Baarová alt
Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra
Petr Altrichter conductor
9. Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915-1940) - Smuteční pochod Op.2 / Funeral March Op.2 6:42
Renata Bialasová piano
Stereo digital studio recording.
The String Quartet in C minor, of 1925, is in two movements. The opening one, in sonata form, ushers in a meditative mood which gradually evolves to passages of violent agitation; and in the second, moments of gentle reflection alternate with outbursts of merriment. The quartet's motivic material draws inspiration from folk music. The composer dedicated it to the Moravian Quartet.
The piano ranked among the domains of Kaprál's creative endeavour. A top-class pianist, he was not just a student the renowned Adolf Mikš in Prague, whose piano method he himself applied, but in 1924 he also attended interpretation courses conducted by Alfred Cortot in Paris. Kaprál's masterpieces include four piano sonatas. Of those, the one-movement Sonata No. 3 was written after his visit of Paris, and by the sheer drama of its expression comes close to the vigour of Janáček's idiom. It was premiered shortly after its completion, in France, by Erwin Schulhoff to whom it is dedicated.
A virtually descriptive character is embedded in the Sonata No. 4, of 1939. It sprang up in spontaneous response to the Nazi invasion of this country, and was originally named 15th March, 1939. Its first movement mirrors eloquently the atmosphere of despair and loss which shrouded those days. The second part is already calmer, even sunnier, notwithstanding its elegiac undertones. The sonata reaches its climax in the third movement, bringing in tones of defiance attesting to the composerś faith in the eventual victory.
Premonition for piano is Václav Kaprál's most extraordinary composition. Sometime in mid-July 1940, he suddenly found himself in the throngs of unspeakable melancholy, entailing an ominous premonition. He felt a compulsive urge to sit down at the piano and write a piece of music auguring a catastrophic event. One month later, listening to a BBC wartime radio broadcast, he learned about the death, around the time of his writing this miniature, of his only child, Vítězslava Kaprálová, on her way from the war zone, in a hospital in Montpellier.
Mementos of the brevity of human life are likewise very much present in Lullabies (1932), setting Slovak folk poetry, with characteristic minor-key harmonies inspired by folklore music. The work, Kaprál's most notable song cycle, reached the international platform in Barcelona, where it was performed during the festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music, on April 20, 1936. In the previous year, it won the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts Award.
The Funeral March, of 1932, is the work of Václav Kaprál's daughter, Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915-1940), then seventeen-years-old. A composer and conductor, she produced during her short but eventful life an output of around fifty works. The Funeral March was first performed by conservatory student Milada Bláhová, at a soirée given by the Brno Conservatory on April 18, 1932. Set in the context of Václav Kaprál's legacy, its music bears clear signs of intrinsic conceptual affinity between the two composers.
Josef Kaprál (Vítězslava Kaprálová Society), Jan Hlaváč (Czech Radio Brno)