Paths - crossing and diverging, those we choose ourselves and those that are predestined and inevitable: through this prism the violinist Josef Špaček and the cellist Tomáš Jamník view the music of four Czech composers written within a mere 35 years of the 20th century. Janáček, enraptured by the idea Pan-Slavism, was led by desire to Russia, a country where he found inspiration for his string quartet (here in an ambitious arrangement for two instruments), in a novella by Tolstoy. Ervín Schulhoff, an admirer and friend of Janáček's (to whom he dedicated the duo featured on the present album), invested his hopes in Soviet Russia, yet this did not save him from death in a Nazi concentration camp. A similar fate (incarceration in Theresienstadt and Fürstengrube) befell Gideon Klein, another gifted and promising composer, who was murdered by the Nazis at the age of 25. Just two incomplete movements of his remarkable Duo for Violin and Cello have survived. The paths pursued by Bohuslav Martinů - first driven by thirst for knowledge and then forced to flee the Nazis - led from Prague through Paris to the USA, before returning to Europe; yet circumstances did not allow him to see his beloved country again. Martinů wrote his Duo for Violin and Cello No. 2 towards the very end of his life - and it also concludes the album by two brilliant artists. A virtuoso, profound and forcible recording indeed.
Virtuosity, vivid joy and deep sorrow - the stories of four composers as reflected in their music
“Es gelingt ihnen, die tschechischen Raritäten auf ihrer neuen CD so rüberzubringen, dass sie einen sofort packen – und mitten ins Herz treffen.” Kulturradio SWR2, June 2022
“This is a splendidly incisive, tonally resplendent disc from two of the best musicians in the Czech Republic. As noted, the recording has an amplitude and depth that inflates the two instruments but doesn’t swamp them, and the documentation is fine…” MusicWeb International, June 2022
“On retrouve la même autorité dans les magnifiques duos de Martinu, distants de trente et un ans, où Spacek et Jamnik multiplient les changements de perspectives, les sinuosités, les jeux de cachecache et de réponses en un entrelacs fort subtil. L’extrême rigueur d’approche et l’autorité altière y dessinent, au-delà du digressif, une impressionnante unité formelle audelà du digressif en ménageant de poignantes poussées d’émotion…” Diapason, September 2022
“Josef Špaček et Tomáš Jamník sont allés puiser dans la littérature tchèque pour duo de violon et violoncelle les éléments de leur programme passionnant (Paths) qu’ils abordent avec un mélange constant d’ardeur et de musicalité. On admirera particulièrement le Duo de Schulhoff et plus encore l’arrangement du Quatuor no 1 de Janáček par Jiří Kabát.” Classica, October 2022
“Jíří Kabát is a young Czech violist; his arrangement for violin and cello of the “Kreutzer Sonata” Quartet is miraculous, sounding more like Janáček than the original. The arrangement is more diaphanous than the quartet and captures every bit of the yearning character of Janáček’s music. Much of its appeal owes to this marvelous performance by violinist Josef Špaček and cellist Tomáš Jamník… Warm, intimate recorded sound rounds off a disc of delicious music in delicious performances.” Fanfare, October 2022
“These musicians evoke a remarkably wide range of moods and colors… Spacek and Jamnik are a superb duo, and I look forward to hearing more from them.” American Record Guide, November 2022