New Slovak Songs H 126

She Was Digging a Well

  • Recorded: 10th June 2017
  • Record Place: Martinů Hall, Academy of Music Prague
  • First Release: 2019
  • (P) 2019 SUPRAPHON a.s.
  • Genre: Vocal


  • music by: Bohuslav Martinů
  • original lyrics by: Slovak Folk Song
  • soprano: Martina Janková
  • baritone: Tomáš Král
  • piano: Ivo Kahánek


Martina Janková, Tomáš Král, Ivo Kahánek

Martinů: Songs

Catalogue Number: SU 4235-2
Published: 8th February 2019
Genre: Vocal
Format: 1 CD
This album has received following awards:
  • Diapason d'Or, Diapason Magazine (2019)
Bohuslav Martinů - Songs on One Page, H 294; Songs on Two Pages, H 302, New Slovak Songs, H 126; The New Chapbook, H 288

Martina Janková - soprano, Tomáš Král - baritone, Ivo Kahánek - piano

Folk songs are evidently one of the seminal sources of inspiration that Bohuslav Martinů drew upon in his music. The composer would take Sušil's extensive collection of traditional Moravian songs along with him wherever he travelled. The texts from the volume were used for the majority of the Songs on One Page, Songs on Two Pages and The New Chapbook. Just as Dvořák had done in his Moravian Duets, so Martinů conceived his own tunes and accompaniment, yet his having been profoundly impacted by folk music, its rhythm, melody and harmonic techniques is palpable. Created in the early 1940s, in the middle of World War II, during the composer's exile in the USA, the three song cycles represented for Martinů and his compatriots a connection with their beleaguered homeland. Jan Masaryk, a Czech diplomat and a skilled amateur pianist, often performed the songs together with the soprano Jarmila Novotná, a MET soloist. Owing to their elliptical expression and modesty, the three cycles may serve as the clue to Martinů's late works. The New Slovak Songs constitute a unique piece in the composer's oeuvre; he himself had collected them during his visit to Slovakia in 1920 and subsequently wrote for them piano accompaniments. Three renowned artists, bearing an authentic relation to folk music and Martinů's work alike, have made a benchmark recording, in which they have succeeded in highlighting the songs' tender beauty.

Bohuslav Martinů's songs - magnificent tiny pieces by a great master


“Janková und Král bringen die Lieder ausgezeichnet zur Geltung, sie mit einem reschen Sopran, er mit einem sprechenden Bariton. Gerade in den lapidaren, durchaus originellen im amerikanischen Exil entstandenen Liedchen auf einer Seite bzw. Liedchen auf zwei Seiten bestechen sie durch rhythmische Flexibilität und hüpfende Hurtigkeit… Die während eines Sommers in der Slowakei 1920 entstandene Bearbeitung einer Sammlung von Volksliedern für Klavier und Gesang, die Slowakischen Lieder, verlangen den Solisten expressiveren Ausdruck und größere stimmliche Reichweite ab, was der Sopranistin mit drallem Temperament oder kräftigem Ausdruck (Nr. 51) und dem Bariton im zartesten Piano, beispielsweise im „Abendstern“ (Nr. 23) und „Verlassenen Liebhaber“ (Nr. 46), am schönsten gelingt; stets unterstützt vom musikantisch prachtvollen Klavierton des Ivo Kahánek.”
Operalounge, March 2019

“Le timbre fruité de Martina Jankova, dont la maturité vocale paraît plus épanouie que jamais, la subtilité de Tomas Kral, qui joue aussi bien des syncopes de la musique que des accents toniques de la langue, et l’attention inventive d’Ivo Kahanek, cheville ouvrière de l’entreprise, font des miracles dans toutes les miniatures du bouquet, dont les parfums embaument chaque écoute.”
Diapason, April 2019

“Supraphon’s focus on these folk settings sets it apart from the multi-volume Naxos discs but in a fruitful and complementary way … Janková’s focused innocent purity adds a slightly different, less interventionist gloss … baritone Tomáš Král sings with a boyish warmth, and master pianist Ivo Kahánek – who has never made a bad disc – proves exemplary in the cimbalom evocations.”
MusicWeb International, April 2019

“This is an utterly delightful album of (mostly) short songs by Martinů, all quite lyrical and tonal and mostly based on folk music, and one of the reasons it is so delightful is that both Martina Janková and Tomáš Král have attractive voices without wobbles and with wonderfully musical styling and excellent diction.”
The Art Music Lounge, March 2019

“Martina Janková singt diese Lieder mit dem tiefen Verständnis für alles, was mit Liebesleid und -lust zu tun hat. Ihr wendiger, wundervoll samtig timbrierter Sopran verleiht den Liedern Intimität und Wahrhaftigkeit. Zurecht lobt sie ihren Partner Tomáš Král als einen feinfühligen Sänger, dessen lyrische Stimme begeistert und wunderbar zu Martinů's Idiom passt. Wer Freude an den kleinen, unspektakulären Dingen des Lebens hat, der wird diese CD als ein mit zahlreichen Juwelen gefülltes Schatzkästlein zu schätzen wissen.”
Das Opernglas, April 2019

“La chaude maturité vocale de Martina Jankova, la sensible délicatesse de Tomas Kral, non moins que le piano fédérateur d’Ivo Kahanek donnent à ces musiques contrastées leur tour sentimental ou nostalgique, drôle voire grinçant. En solo ou en duo, les chanteurs et leur compagnon au clavier nous entraînent sur les chemins d’Europe centrale dont les 52 mélodies de Martinu sont autant de petites pierres de touche.”
Le Monde, April 2019

“Martina Janková and Tomáš Král divide the songs between them, depending on the sex of the protagonist, turning dialogues into duets when necessary, and Janková’s clear, silvery soprano offsets Král’s light, warm baritone throughout… Pianist Ivo Kahánek, meanwhile, binds the songs together with playing of understated dexterity and emotional restraint. It’s a lovely disc, most beautifully done.”
Gramophone, May 2019

Bohuslav Martinů
Songs on One Page H 294
Dew 01:09
Unlocked by a World 00:35
Riding to See My Love 01:27
The Footpath 00:36
At My Mother’s 00:58
The Dream of the Virgin Mary 02:09
Rosemary 01:14
Bohuslav Martinů
Songs on Two Pages H 302
The Moravian Girl 01:14
The Neighbour's Stable 01:00
Hope 02:15
The Night Watchman 00:56
Secret Love 00:54
The Wayside Cross 00:52
The Lads of Zvolen 01:01
Bohuslav Martinů
New Slovak Songs H 126
My Mother, My Mother 02:41
Tell me, Tell 02:44
What Are You Doing, Hanka? 01:23
Hey, Ye Hill 03:31
There’s Rain Coming from the Orava Region 02:25
Tell Me, My Most Beloved 02:02
I’ve Got Yet Another Sister 01:44
I Had a Blouse 01:13
The Evening Star 01:43
Hey, You Can Tell 01:13
I’ve Got Married 01:00
Eat Me, Wolves 00:51
A Lass Is Standing by the Tap 01:10
Up the Váh River 01:15
Up the Hron River 02:27
At the Trenčín Barracks 01:00
God, Oh God, What Am I to Do 03:27
Little Hana 03:15
Whose Sheep Are These 01:26
A Man Is All Right 00:57
Don’t You Trust Him 00:58
She Was Digging a Well 01:17
She Got Seventy Skirts 01:05
Lo, Meadow, Meadow 05:09
Lo, I Had a Lass 00:50
The White Dove 01:20
From Behind the Black Hill 02:12
The Folk Say 02:19
I Kept Waking Up 00:55
The Lass from White Mountain 01:26
Bohuslav Martinů
New Chap-Book H 288
The Rich Sweetheart 01:21
Forsaken Love 01:20
Longing 01:06
The Inquisitive Girl 01:09
The Gay Girl 00:29
The Unhappy Lover 02:48
The Request 01:25
The High Steeple 01:08