Album detail
Catalogue number: SU 4337-2

Marek Kozák, one of the most talented young Czech pianists of today, releases a new album called Forgotten Czech Piano Concertos containing works by Czech 19th- and 20th-century composers which have been unjustly ignored in the concert repertoire. They were written by Karel Kovařovic, Vítězslava Kaprálová and Pavel Bořkovec. The pianist has recorded them with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Jindra. The album will be released by Supraphon on CD and in digital formats on 8 March 2024.

The recording of Forgotten Czech Piano Concertos is a result of many years of research and exploration on the part of pianist Marek Kozák, who is interested in lesser-known Czech piano pieces.

Karel Kovařovic (1862–1920) studied with Zdeněk Fibich and later became famous as conductor and head of the opera company of the National Theatre in Prague. His 1887 Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 6 is very romantic and its piano part is virtuosic. Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915–1940) was one of the most talented Czech female composers and died at a very young age. Her 1935 Piano Concerto in D minor, Op. 7 was her graduation work, whose premiere she conducted. Its instrumentation is rich and it shows influences of her teacher, Bohuslav Martinů. Pavel Bořkovec (1894–1972) studied with Josef Foerster and Josef Suk and later became an important teacher and composer. His 1949 Piano Concerto No. 2 is a mature work reflecting an original musical language and sense of form.

Marek Kozák has won many international piano competitions (Zurich, Bolzano, Bremen, Prague, etc.). His repertoire includes music ranging from the Baroque to the present day, with an emphasis on Czech music. This is what he says about his new recording: “During the recording sessions, I enjoyed especially the beautiful and largely unknown music of these three great composers. It is always refreshing if you discover something that is basically unperformed. Of course, the music must be worth performing, which is undoubtedly the case of these three concertos. Naturally, there were some challenges. For example, there are no reductions for two pianos of these concertos and I had to learn the Kovařovic piece from the manuscript! However, the joy prevailed over the difficulties.”

Robert Jindra is the chief conductor of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, with which he has collaborated since 2012. These are his comments on working with Marek Kozák: “Marek is an excellent pianist who has a sense of detail and a great feeling for the general concept of the music. His performances are always full of energy, feeling and intelligence. I was happy to work with him on this record, which includes three truly interesting and varied piano concertos.”

The album Kovařovic, Bořkovec, Kaprálová: Forgotten Czech Piano Concertos will be released by Supraphon on Friday, 8 March 2024.