Album detail
Catalogue number: SU 4222-2

On 21 April 2017, Supraphon will re-release a recording of Bach’s harpsichord concertos to mark the 90th birthday of Zuzana Růžičková (SU 4222–2). The artist made it during the turbulent time of the Prague Spring and the subsequent Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. The world-renowned harpsichordist collaborated on the project with the Prague Chamber Soloists, conducted by Václav Neumann.

On the occasion of the re-release of the legendary album, we have retrieved a few of her reminiscences and reflections from the time when she was giving concerts and making recordings all over the world. Professor Růžičková’s com­ments serve to document her kindness, wisdom, remarkable knowledge of the social milieu and culture, as well as observational objectivity.


“I have opted for the harpsichord out of love for Bach’s music. Perhaps that is why I do not approach it from the primary position of an instrumentalist, but view it through the lens of his entire oeuvre. The harpsichord, for which Bach composed one third of his pieces, allows me to pursue this stance.”


“I have to respect the relation between the harpsichord and the microphone, to which I have to tailor the overall technique of my playing, such as the accommodation of the dynamics and the tempo, the shortening of the intervals between the movements. There is other witchcraft or magic involved.”

“The ideal time for a recording to mature is one and a half years. I explore the music during the summer holidays, then I present the results before an audience, verify the effects of my conception, to which I pay the greatest attention. I return to it four to six weeks prior to the start of the scheduled recording sessions at the studio, again rehearsing and mulling over the album’s concep­tion.”

“The artistic conception does not only entail the question of the composition’s struc­ture: it also encompasses the question of the repertoire. A recording affords infinite possibilities in this respect.”


“I like playing at home. I can see a lot of young people at my concerts: their bearing on early music makes me happy as they evidently aren’t just seeking light entertainment, but also aspire for challenging intellectual collaboration of the type that Johann Sebastian Bach’s music requires. The concerts I give in Prague have always been for me a litmus test and the most profound artistic experience.”


“During a concert in Paris, the audience showered the stage with violets; in Dubrovnik, roses landed on my instrument – I could only continue to play after the petals had been removed from the strings with a vacuum cleaner. In Sofia, the audience formed a long line, and the English disproved their reputation of being self-restrained by tumultuous ovations. Nonetheless, I still treasure it the most when I am applauded by a Prague audience.”