Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) - Magic Nights. Henri Duparc (1848-1933) - selected songs (L'invitation au voyage, La vie antérieure, Chanson triste, Phidylé). Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) - Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, Shéhérazade. Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) - Penthesilea.
Kateřina Kněžíková - soprano, Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, conductor: Robert Jindra
Kateřina Kněžíková's lyric soprano has delighted audiences in numerous music centres worldwide, both at opera houses and concert venues. She has appeared with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Bamberger Symphoniker, Camerata Salzburg, the Czech Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, etc. under the baton of conductors of such renown as J. Bělohlávek, S. Baudo, M. Honeck, J. Hrůša, T. Netopil and R. Ticciati. The highlights of her career include the invitation to portray the title role in Janáček's opera Katya Kabanova in Glyndebourne. Kateřina Kněžíková's debut Supraphon solo album features enchanting fin de siecle songs, "... songs that are particularly close to my heart and voice, all of them dating from the turn of the 20th century, all of them tinged with Impressionism," as the singer herself put it. The first of them is Bohuslav Martinů's Magic Nights, set to Chinese poetry. Henri Duparc's songs, one of which, depicting Phylidé, a simple and pious country girl, has given the album its title, may come as a revelation to many a listener. All the songs chosen for the CD reflect a penchant for the exotic, foregrounding connection with Nature and intuition. Conducted by Robert Jindra, the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava has created a splendidly colourful backdrop for Kateřina Kněžíková's soprano to embellish.
Fin de siecle songs - a universe close to Kateřina Kněžíková's heart
“Czech soprano Kateřina Kněžíková is clearly a singer to watch… Kněžíková is superb in them (Martinů Magic Nights), always in full technical control but with a timbre that, enlivened by seductive vibrato, is ideally soft and warm… The soprano is no less successful in the French repertoire, her line always pliant, the voice beguiling and her French idiomatic… There’s no resisting the charms of her Shéhérazade either, with wonderfully atmospheric support from orchestra and conductor… Highly recommended.” Gramophone, September 2021
“The four settings by Duparc demand greater interpretative warmth and Kněžíková does not disappoint. ‘Chanson triste’ is particularly impressive not only for the expressive qualities of the vocal performance, but the superb mingling of voice and orchestral palette. Robert Jindra and the excellent Janáček Philharmonic of Ostrava accompany with great skill and personality, clearly delighting in the myriad textures required.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2021
“Le timbre de lait et de miel de la soprano convient parfaitement aux atmosphères féeriques et étranges exprimées par les textes… Robert Jindra et son excellent orchestre morave savent ne pas brusquer les choses, ne mettent jamais leur partenaire en danger, tout en respectant l'infini raffinement des accompagnements.” Classica, November 2021
“Pour Nuits magiques, si rarement enregistré alors que c’est l’un des chefs-d’œuvre de Martinů, son long soprano est une pure merveille, aigus ambrés, voix souple, sourires et mystères dans un timbre de miel où Robert Jindra fait miroiter les couleurs subtiles de son magnifique orchestre. Pour l’univers plus sombre de la Penthesilea de Szymanowski, même réussite incontestable… Très beau disque, de toute façon absolument essentiel pour le Martinů.” Artalinna, September 2021
“Nor does Kněžíková make much of the poetry in Henri Duparc’s four songs, each one arguably a perfect piece of music, but sings them with exceptional beauty. Her voice is balanced back with the orchestra, and the recording from the House of Culture, Ostrava puts plenty of air around the sound without obscuring detail. This recital is literally gorgeous, and recommended for those who enjoy a good wallow.” Fanfare, January 2022
Magic Nights. Three songs to Chinese texts for Soprano and Orchestra, H. 119