Antonín Dvořák - Moravian Duets: Op. 20 for soprano and tenor, op. 32, 38 and songs Život vojenský (Army Life) and Na tej našej střeše (On Our Roof) for soprano and mezzosoprano / alto
Simona Šaturová - soprano, Markéta Cukrová - mezzosoprano, Petr Nekoranec - tenor, Vojtěch Spurný - piano. Recording has been made on Dvořák's original grand piano (Bösendorfer, Vienna 1879) at the Antonín Dvořák Museum in Prague.
"Isn't it possible to turn some local material into duets, for example Moravian songs?" This question was posed by Jan Neff, himself from Moravia, who grew tired of repeating German songs over and over again at the piano with his wife and Antonín Dvořák. His question in fact stood at the birth of Moravian Duets and also marked the beginning of Dvořák's journey abroad. "Why not, find good lyrics and I will take care of the rest." When the composer got the first selection of folk songs from Sušil's collection, he decided to take only the lyrics and provide them with his own tunes. As soon as the duets got into the hands of Johannes Brahms (who was a member of a committee that assessed Dvořák's application for a state scholarship), the well-established composer did not hesitate to recommend them to his Berlin publisher Fritz Simrock. "When you play them, you will enjoy them just as I did, and as a publisher you will especially be pleased by their unique beauty." It was Simrock who initiated the composition of a four-hand version of the Slavonic Dances that led to Dvořák's first major international success. The present recording is unique in another aspect as well: the complete set of 23 Moravian Duets have been played and recorded on Dvořák's original grand piano, a 1879 Bösendorfer that is a pride of the Antonín Dvořák Museum in Prague. The challenge was taken hold of by young musicians who are not only crowned by international laurels but also possess a sensitivity both for the charm of Dvořák's songs and the unique timbres of the instrument touched by the composer's own hands.
The only one and unique - a complete recording of Moravian Duets on Dvořák's piano
“These early duets established Dvorak as a composer for ‚domestic‘ use. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Irmgard Seefried made a recording of Op 32 with Gerald Moore, sung in German, of course, but here Saturova and Cukrova — with the help of Nekoranec in three of the Op 20 set — bring native linguistic flair and ‚Slavonic‘ sound to these delightful miniatures, revealing Dvorak’s bounteous melodic gift in his early thirties. Delectable.” The Sunday Times, 8th May 2018
“They are all here, the 23 songs with idiomatic checks from the singers Simona Šaturová and Markéta Cukrová and given their domestic salon origins it’s lovely to hear Dvořák’s own piano played by Vojtěch Spurný a Viennese Bosendorfer from 1879 adding its own distinctive timbre to the sound. Recording’s nicely balanced in the Dvořák museum in Prague – the notes are excellent with full text and translations and if you want the complete Moravian Duets don’t hesitate. Supraphon is the label as you might have guessed.” BBC Radio 3 Record Review, 5th May 2018
“…the natural phrasing of the two native Czech singers and the witty, rhythmically vivid pianism of Vojtěch Spurný ensures that this performance enshrines a captivating sense of freshness, conversational agility and sentiment… The performers bring a spirit of youthful generosity to bear and judicious sampling will provide plenty of Moravian-based nourishment.” MusicWeb International, July 2018
“Trois des quatres recueils de Duos moraves sur le proper Bösendorfer de Dvořák. Un piano de salon que Vojtěch Spurný touche assez subtilement pour offrir l'accompagnement idéal aux voix proportionnées de Simona Šaturová et Markéta Cukrová, plus gâtées que lui par les micros. Si ces dammes mettent beaucoup d'esprit et de lyrisme dans des tête-à-tête où chaque mot se savour, on se régale aussi de dialogue entre la mature soprano et le vert Petr Nekoranec dans l'Opus 20. Lumineux.” Diapason, July 2018
“Simona Šaturová’s silvery soprano and Markéta Cukrová’s warm mezzo blend nicely in the Op 32 and Op 38 sets, where the parallel harmonies are pitch perfect and carefully shaded dynamics convey shifting emotions… Petr Nekoranec, very gallant and elegant, is their tenor… Spurný, meanwhile, proves an excellent accompanist, always supportive of the singers, knowing exactly when to hold back and when to assert himself… It’s an excellent disc, warmly recommended.” Gramophone, September 2018
“Simona Šaturová et Markéta Cukrová, de leurs timbres parfaitement appariés, les chantent comme à la maison, avec un naturel où s’alternent piquant et nostalgie, Petr Nekoranec ajoutant son beau ténor lyrique, le piano de Vojtěch Spurný danse ou rêve, alerte et versicolore, mettant par son clavier plein d’imagination comme un petit orchestre champêtre.” Artalinna, May 2018
“Beide Sängerinnen sind Geschichtenerzählerinnen, deren Energie und Spontaneität aus jeder Note klingt. Ein wenig stellt sich tatsächlich der Eindruck von beseelter und lustvoller Hausmusik ein – im allerbesten Sinne. Auch Petr Nekoranec erweist sich mit schlankem und wendigem Tenor als kongenialer Partner… Diese Aufnahme ist mit Sicherheit keine hochpolierte Massenware, die im Schönklang ertrinkt, sondern eine kraftvolle und persönlichkeitsstarke Lanze für eine viel zu sehr vernachlässigte Kunst: Hausmusik in ihrer schönsten Ausprägung.” Klassik.com, July 2018
“All three are fine singers and bring a native familiarity with the sound of the language and the musical style. As a leading Czech pianist and conductor, Spurny sounds thoroughly at home with this music… This is a real delight. Any lover of Dvorak will not want to be without this fine addition to the catalog.” American Record Guide, August 2018
“The recording is a joy to listen to from beginning to end, the pieces are performed very well, and it is a pleasure to have the complete set in the original, both in terms of language and in terms of instrumentation. I recommend it enthusiastically. ” Fanfare, November 2018
“It’s beautifully sung, too. The majority of the duets are sung by the soprano Simona Šaturová and mezzo Markéta Cukrová, whose voices are beautifully matched and which slot into one another pretty much ideally. There is a commendable lack of ego to the way they sing together: it’s as though they subvert themselves to the overall impact of the music, and it proves enormously rewarding… There is much to enjoy here.” MusicWeb International, November 2020