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
Magic Nights. Three songs to Chinese texts for Soprano and Orchestra, H. 119