Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859-1951) was one of the major Czech composers of his generation. That his name is not better known may result from the fact that in an era where the orchestra largely ruled, he composed mostly choral music, melodramas, and art songs (he also wrote six operas). This collection presents three important song cycles from different phases of his career. The most significant work on the disc, Fairy-Tale of Long Craving (1910), comes from the composer's youth; the texts, based on poems by Josef Merhaut, accordingly tell of being in the throes of love and its attendant passions. In contrast, Six Songs to the Words of A.S. Pushkin (1937) tells of love from a more detached andRead more mature perspective. Foerster was in his 70s by this time, yet his music maintained an overall consistency of style from its late-romantic expression to its reliance on Czech harmonies and modalities. The program concludes with the brief Three Songs (1943) wherein Foerster, now in his 80s, moves beyond love poems and instead chooses texts on Music (J. Vrchlicky), Memoriam (J. Vyplel), and Encouragement (F.X. alda), with the last two containing thematic quotations from Dvorák's Rusalka and Smetana's Vysehrad.
Ivan Kusnjer's warmly bright tone, infectious delivery, and skillful word painting contribute to an emotionally communicative immediacy that eliminates any potential language barriers. Marián Lapansky's intelligent, passionate playing perfectly complements the singer's highly personable style. Supraphon's recording ideally balances voice and piano, projecting the full dynamic range of Kusnjer's singing while allowing all of Lapansky's carefully balanced chords to be easily heard. The booklet comes with informative notes as well as text translations in three-languages. This handsome production provides nearly an hour of sheer listening pleasure, and is a must for connoisseurs of song and fine singing.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Songs (6), Op. 161by Josef Bohuslav Foerster
Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone),
Marián Lapsansky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1937; Czech Republic Date of Recording: 2001 Language: Czech