Miroslav Sekera - piano (Metamorphoses), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor Marko Ivanović
With his life and work, Miloslav Kabeláč, one of the greatest 20th-century Czech symphonists, foregrounded a highly topical theme: the necessity of not yielding to evil and commitment to humanistic ideals. He displayed both during the Nazi occupation and the time of Communist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia. Within the toughest totalitarianism Kabeláč escaped the ideological grip of the authoritarian regime by looking up to the star-studded sky. In The Mystery of Time, an underestimated gem of 20th-century European symphonic music, he expresses his emotional trepidation of and fascination with space, the solid order that governs the cosmos. Amidst the easing of the political oppression in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s, Kabeláč garnered international esteem and created two major pieces: Hamlet Improvisation (marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth) and Reflections. In the wake of the Soviet invasion in August 1968, the Communist government again tightened the screws, striving to silence the open-minded composer's music at home and abroad alike. Kabeláč completed Metamorphoses II just a few weeks before his death. His final work is inspired by the oldest Czech hymn Hospodine, pomiluj ny (Lord, Have Mercy On Us), symbolically ending with the prayer Kyrie eleison, repeated three times. The Mystery of Time album links up to the acclaimed recording of Kabeláč's symphonies (Supraphon, 2016), thus supplementing the artist's remarkable discography with other jewels.
Mystery of Time - an underestimated gem of 20th-century European symphonic music
“All the works are played with commitment and tension by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under Marko Ivanovic, making this CD an enduringly impressive calling card for the composer.” Pizzicato, October 2022
“I can report that Ivanović’s reading proves well worth the wait. The playing of his Prague orchestra is precise and uncommonly committed. The recording is detailed and ideally balanced, if a tad dry – I would have liked a little more air around the solo flute and violin passages which play a pivotal part in the structure of this mighty work. They are most movingly delivered by the Prague orchestra’s principals at least. This fresh recording finally allows the listener to appreciate the scope of Kabeláč’s ambition in this work and the mastery of his orchestration.” MusicWeb International, October 2022
“The music of Miloslav Kabeláč really should be far better known outside his native country (what was then Czechoslovakia). A highly principled man, he never followed any compositional orthodoxy and stood firm against the various waves of political turbulence that shook his country – after 1968 his music was not performed there, but only abroad… The Prague Radio Symphony under Marko Ivanovic´’s firm direction seem convinced by every note of the work, and the sound is superbly captured by Supraphon’s team… This is a truly outstanding album of music by an outstanding composer.” Gramophone, December 2022