Hana Blažíková - soprano, harp. Collegium Marianum: Jana Semerádová - flutes, artistic director; Lenka Torgersen - Baroque violin; Vojtěch Semerád - Baroque violin and viola; Hana Fleková - viola da gamba; Kateřina Ghannudi - Baroque triple harp; Ján Prievozník - violone; Jan Krejča - theorbo; Filip Hrubý - positive organ
If we were to travel four centuries back in time, when strolling through Prague streets we would most likely hear from many a house, palace or church some engrossing and catchy songs by Adam Václav Michna, one of the greatest Czech Baroque poets. His Christmas songs have become widely known and highly popular. Lesser known is Michna's Czech Marian Music, drawing the listener into the world of poetic hymns praising the Virgin Mary, which formed a significant part of 17th-century Czech music. The album juxtaposes Michna's pieces with works by Alessandro Grandi, Vincenzo Albrici, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber and Samuel Capricornus, all of them composers who were often in close contact with the Jesuits and drew inspiration from the spirituality practised by the Society of Jesus. Their lives and work were closely linked with the Kingdom of Bohemia, where their music was regularly played. The seemingly simple songs can only be performed in their entire profundity and beauty by excellent musicians. The album has been recorded by internationally renowned artists, who on numerous occasions have demonstrated their extraordinary qualities when performing a most complex music by J. D. Zelenka and J. S. Bach - the soprano Hana Blažíková and Collegium Marianum. We would be hard pressed indeed to imagine more superlative performers of Michna's music.
Czech Marian Music - the previously overlooked grace and beauty of 17th-century hymns
“Though the music looks like simple hymns, Michna was considerate of the limitations in many small parish churches and wrote that these songs could easily be adapted to just voice and continuo, and many other combinations. With the exception of one song which is a dialog between a narrator and the Apostles (whose part is sung by one of the string players) all the other selections have been arranged around Hana Blazikova’s sensitive solo interpretations. Among the most effective and affective are the three passion songs, including Michna’s Czech paraphrase of the Stabat Mater.” American Record Guide, March 2023
“Par son anthologie, la proposition du Collegium Marianum s’avère cependant sans réelle concurrence. Autour de la voix souple et fleurie d’Hana Blažíková, d’une exquise gracilité (Stála Matka litujici), une réalisation soignée procure un suave plaisir : à l’instar de ce Jak jest Maria seznala subtilement distillé et relancé, à écouter en boucle.” Crescendo, May 2023
“These are not intended to be seen as complex or even progressive pieces, but rather show the tunefulness and lightness of the song genre under Michna’s inspirational ideas. He has captured the folk elements in terms of simplicity and innocence, something that the careful accompaniment of the Collegium Marianum and the lovely pure soprano of Blažíkova highlights perfectly. The substance of this lyrical disc is time out of mind, a sort of musical travelogue into a unique sound world. Well worth exploring.” Fanfare, June 2023