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Eben: 6 Risonanza For Harp; Haas: Suite For Piano And Oboe / Veverka, Englichova, Kahanek

Release Date: 07/28/2009 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 3993   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jan HanusPetr EbenPavel Haas
Performer:  Vilém VeverkaKaterina EnglichovaIvo Kahánek
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Three of the country's brightest young musicians in pure accord.

Supraphon doesn't usually go in for glossy covers and tableaux of seduction and erotic longeur - or whatever is going on on the cover of this one - but it does make a change. Though I ought to add that I'm not quite sure what it has to do with the disc's contents.  The lover, the loved, the betrayed? Is the betrayed a facilitator in his own betrayal? Is this sexual masochism? Why did I start this?

Back to the music. The three protagonists are oboe, harp and piano and combinations thereof. Jan Hanuš wrote his Trio Concertante for oboe, harp and piano in 1978. The first impression is one of a Messiaen influence but after the
Read more gauzy, almost impressionist start, and some diverting brief tango allusions, we are introduced to Martin?-influenced rhythmic charge. The piano is especially potent in its romantic allure. The fast central movement is lighter in tone and content with a pawky march and a contrasting reflective B section. This enthuses the harp, which begins the finale in determined fashion whilst the piano reaches for Revue de Cuisine pep, before the oboe and piano battle for supremacy, the harp remaining aloof but having the last word. The conversational piece is intriguing, traditional in outlook and sonority but marshalled with great skill and flair.  Hanuš’s Sonata quasi una fantasia is for oboe and piano and written a decade earlier than the companion work, the dangerous year of 1968. After the opening's long lines a stalking tune emerges here - increasing in confidence, but also stern. That theme emerges in the Allegro second movement now transformed into an insouciant, almost Parisian ease.

The death of Petr Eben in 2007 robbed Czech music of one of its most revered elder statesmen. How good it is to find two of his fluent works here. Risonanaza, which gives the disc its 'title', is for solo harp, written in 1986. Textures, colours and effects are clear and move from the wispy and feathery to more overt. The original theme Eben uses is a Mozartian one - the Minuet from Don Giovanni - and it's used as a kind of dialogue of exchange very adeptly, and sometimes whimsically. Ordo modalis dates from 1964 and was written for oboe and harp. The inspiration here is Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis. The moods vary strongly, from aloof characterisation, through more guttural writing, taking in bardic moments, and plaintive lines from the oboe. The stark gathering of loss is crystallised in the Sarabande - the movements sport baroque titles.  Similarly the hunting motifs in the finale, the horn evocations in particular are striking. Finally there is a necessarily much earlier work, Pavel Haas's Suite for oboe and piano of 1939. Like so many defiant Czech compositions it quotes the old Hussite hymn Ye Who Are Warriors of God as well as the Saint Wenceslas chorale. Powerful and brusque, it's a work of rhythmic variety as well, that reaches its apotheosis in its finale. Here the lyric oboe brings a long-hoped-for reflection and lyricism, the work ending in a flowing, nourishing optimism.

The performances and recordings are outstanding: three of the country's brightest young musicians in pure accord.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International

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Works on This Recording

Trio Concertante for Oboe, Harp and Piano, Op. 59b by Jan Hanus
Performer:  Vilém Veverka (Oboe), Katerina Englichova (Harp), Ivo Kahánek (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968 
Length: 23 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Risonanza (6) by Petr Eben
Performer:  Katerina Englichova (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Suite for Oboe and Piano, Op. 17 by Pavel Haas
Performer:  Ivo Kahánek (Piano), Vilém Veverka (Oboe)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; Czech Republic 
Length: 14 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Sonata for Oboe and Piano, Op. 61 "Quasi una fantasia" by Jan Hanus
Performer:  Vilém Veverka (Oboe), Ivo Kahánek (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 12 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Ordo modalis by Petr Eben
Performer:  Katerina Englichova (Harp), Vilém Veverka (Oboe)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 13 Minutes 12 Secs. 

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