Forgotten Czech Piano Concertos: Kovarovic, Borkovec, Kapralova | Supraphon SU43372

Forgotten Czech Piano Concertos: Kovarovic, Borkovec, Kapralova


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Label: Supraphon

Cat No: SU43372

Barcode: 0099925433727

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 8th March 2024



Marek Kozak (piano)
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra


Robert Jindra


Borkovec, Pavel

Piano Concerto no.2

Kapralova, Vitezslava

Piano Concerto in D minor, op.7

Kovarovic, Karel

Piano Concerto in F minor, op.6


Marek Kozak (piano)
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra


Robert Jindra


It would very much seem that the 19th- and 20th-century Czech piano concerto repertoire begins and ends with Dvořák and Martinů. The present recording, however, serves to prove that this is far from being the case. It contains three piano concertos that have been – undeservedly – overlooked.

Vítězslava Kaprálová wrote the Piano Concerto in D minor, characterised by brilliant instrumentation and an engrossing solo part, at the age of 20 as her graduation work. The premiere, which she herself conducted, met with great critical acclaim. In 1937, the young composer moved to Paris to study with Bohuslav Martinů. Just a year later, Kaprálová was lauded at the International Society for Contemporary Music festival in London, which she opened conducting the BBC Orchestra performing her Military Sinfonietta. In 1940, when she was just 25, the gifted artist’s life and career were sadly terminated by a serious illness. At that very age, Karel Kovařovic created his one and only piano concerto. A pupil of Zdeněk Fibich, he would later on primarily gain recognition as a conductor and serve as director of Prague’s National Theatre Opera (1900–1920). Kovařovic’s Piano Concerto in F minor affords the soloists great scope to display their virtuosity. Pavel Bořkovec, a pupil of J.B. Foerster and Josef Suk, wrote his Piano Concerto no.2 after World War II. At the time a mature artist, as a teacher he cultivated a new generation of major Czech composers (Petr Eben, Jan Novák, Vladimír Sommer, etc.). The main protagonist of the present album, the pianist Marek Kozák, who has garnered accolades at a number of competitions (Zurich, Bolzano, Bremen, Prague, and elsewhere), has a penchant for exploring little-known and forgotten landscapes, as attested to by this revelatory recording.


Kovarovic’s work has a high Romantic sweep, foregrounding the soloist with passages of infectious brio.  Kapralova’s written as her graduation piece, peers into the future with wonderfully reckless keyboard runs. ... This beautifully played and recorded disc has an inescapable poignancy to it;  a time capsule of periods in history where the sun shone before obscurity beckoned.
The Sunday Times 14 April 2024

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