Album detail
Catalogue number: SU 4220-2

In collaboration with Czech Radio, Supraphon releases on 16 November 2017 an album made up of a new recording of Bohuslav Martinů’s Bouquet of Flowers and the premiere studio recording of Jan Novák’s Philhar­monic Dances (SU 4220–2). Available on both CD and for download, it features the two works’ splendid performance by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tomáš Netopil, the solo singers Kateřina Kněžíková, Michaela Kapustová, Jaroslav Březina and Adam Plachetka, the Prague Philharmonic Choir and the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir.

Bohuslav Martinů and Jan Novák shared similar fates – both of them left their country and wandered around the world. The two composers also had a relationship as a teacher and pupil. Novák referred to his six-month study with Martinů in New York in 1947 as having had a major impact on his development as a music creator and human. Martinů’s influence is palpable in Novák’s Philhar­monic Dances (Choreae Philharmonicae, 1956), three symphonic fantasies that provide wide scope for showcasing the virtuosity of both the soloists and the groups of instruments.

Matouš Vlčinský, Supraphon’s pro­ducer, said: “The present recording of the work – the very first made in a studio – helps us to pay off our great debt to Novák, an artist who gave preference to being a ‘free exile’ over having to breathe the oppressive air in his homeland, reigned over by a totalitarian regime. The album’s centrepiece is a new account of Martinů’s Bouquet of Flowers, a landmark recording of which was made back in 1955 by Karel Ančerl, conducting the Czech Philharmonic. The composer never got to hear the piece performed in public, yet he did have the chance to listen to the gramophone record sent to him at Schönenberg, where he had found a temporary home.”

Some 60 years later, the Bouquet of Flowers has now been let blossom in its entire beauty by Tomáš Netopil, one of the most distinguished contemporary Czech conductors. Traditional Moravian songs were for Martinů a major and irreplaceable source of inspiration, one that had a marked influence on his singular musical idiom. “The popularity Czech composers enjoy abroad is in part down to the national folk music and natural musicality, which Janáček, Martinů and others recast into a refined symphonic form,” Tomáš Netopil added.

The new album, which is available on both CD and for download, features the solo vocalists Kateřina Kněžíková, Michaela Kapustová, Jaroslav Březina and Adam Plachetka; the Prague Philharmonic Choir, conducted by Lukáš Vasilek; the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir, conducted by Jiří Chvála; and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Tomáš Netopil.

The album has been recorded with generous support from the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation.