Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839–1881) – The Nursery (selection); Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) – Rückert-Lieder; Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) – Folksong Arrangements (selection), Pavel Haas (1899–1944) – Four Songs on Chinese Poetry. Improvisation on poetry (Anna Akhmatova, Pablo Neruda, Heinz-Albert Heindrichs, Marie Howe, Klára Goldstein, Bella Adamova)
Bella Adamova – contralto, Michael Gees – piano
Bella Adamova can shortly be characterised through her triumphs at competitions (e.g. laureate of the International Robert Schumann Competition, Zwickau, 2021; winner of the Franz Schubert and Modern Music Competition, Graz, 2022; Oratorio Prize at the International Vocal Competition, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, 2022). Or as a young Chechen woman who left her country as a child shortly before the war and found a new home in Prague. She has learned from many acclaimed singers (e.g. von Otter, Hampson, Prégardien) in England, Switzerland, and Germany. She speaks several languages, but she never learned Chechen. She could also be described as a contralto with an extraordinary sensibility in the song repertoire and with a deep, beautifully coloured voice. Or as an improviser who – in rare harmony with pianist Michael Gees – creates spontaneous compositions on texts of their favourite poets. The theme of this album is the search for home and the knowledge of a place where one belongs. Bella Adamova narrates the songs as her own story, at the same time accentuating the life stories of the composers as well as their relationship to their home or their feeling of being outcast. Rather than a typical song recital, this recording is an invitation to the musicians’ own world where every word, no matter what language it is sung in, has its deep meaning.
Songs as Bella Adamova’s real home
“…Bella Adamova has an amazingly impressive voice that explores each word and a diction that allowed me to find where in any line she was even when singing in Czech or Russian, despite my knowledge of each being rudimentary… She is an obvious name to watch and her accompanist Michael Gees is a beautifully measured and entirely sympathetic partner.” MusicWeb International, January 2024