Jan Václav Vorísek: Piano Music

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Jan Václav Vorísek is a composer worth getting to know, especially by students of the piano. His piano music is what is most important in his oeuvre, and the few pieces in this recording by Radoslav Kvapil are a great introduction for those who haven't heard of him before. He is still a relatively under-represented composer, even among those musicians who favor Bohemian and Czech classical music. A lot of this has to do with the fact that Vorísek died at the age of 34, having never been physically strong, and he left a small output compared even to other composers who died young. Another reason is that his music doesn't have that distinctive Czech flavor that so easily ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Jan Václav Vorísek is a composer worth getting to know, especially by students of the piano. His piano music is what is most important in his oeuvre, and the few pieces in this recording by Radoslav Kvapil are a great introduction for those who haven't heard of him before. He is still a relatively under-represented composer, even among those musicians who favor Bohemian and Czech classical music. A lot of this has to do with the fact that Vorísek died at the age of 34, having never been physically strong, and he left a small output compared even to other composers who died young. Another reason is that his music doesn't have that distinctive Czech flavor that so easily distinguishes the later Romantics: Dvorák, Suk, and Janácek. Vorísek's music bears the hallmarks of a Viennese composer, which is where he spent his most productive years, and, therefore, like much of the other music of the time, is overshadowed by that of Beethoven and Schubert. Even compared to those two, Vorísek's sound leans backward toward the Classical era. The "Impromptus, Op. 7," because of their title and where they were written, always bring comparison to Schubert's "Impromptus," and then when it is discovered that Vorísek's pre-date Schubert's, it is assumed the former influenced the latter, which is unlikely both composers' sets were titled by the publishers. Vorísek's do follow the ABA structure, and most often have a dance-like feel to them the Viennese connection, sometimes bucolic, sometimes more refined the Classical connection, but usually with a cheerfulness to dispel any gloomier, minor-key passages. In the remainder of the examples in the program, Beethoven is the point of comparison. The "Fantasie" is an ordered and weightier piece, highlighting a storminess with a few more ornamented, almost Chopin-esque passages. The "Variations," by contrast, are like a set of Mozart's -- elegant and polished -- but more suited to the style of pianism of Vorísek's day, which showed off the full capabilities of the instrument as it was understood at the time and of the performer. Similarly, the sonata is strictly Classical in structure, but, again, its character isn't something that would have been found before the early 1800s. There are even extremely active left-hand lines like those of Beethoven's "Waldstein Sonata" in the final movement. Kvapil, known for his interpretations of Czech music, brings his best to Vorísek's music, even if it is more Viennese than Bohemian. He gives it warmth and as much contrast in dynamics and articulation as one would expect for a first-rate performance of those better known composers, convincing even the most skeptical that Vorísek is a composer that deserves a second listen. The sound on this Regis reissue of a Unicorn Kanchana recording is not as full as one might hope, but is otherwise fine.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/25/2008
  • Label: Regis Records
  • UPC: 675754006280
  • Catalog Number: 1224

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–6 Impromptus (6) for piano, Op. 7 - Jan Václav Vorísek & Radoslav Kvapil (37:22)
    Composed byJan Václav Vorísek
    1. 1No. 1 in C. Allegro
    2. 2No. 2 in C. Allegro moderato
    3. 3No. 3 in D. Allegretto
    4. 4No. 4 in A. Allegretto
    5. 5No. 5 in E. Allegretto
    6. 6No. 6 in B. Allegretto
  2. 7 Fantasia for piano in C major, Op. 12 - Jan Václav Vorísek & Radoslav Kvapil (11:09)
    Composed byJan Václav Vorísek
  3. 8 Variations for piano in B flat major, Op. 19 - Jan Václav Vorísek & Radoslav Kvapil (9:15)
    Composed byJan Václav Vorísek
  4. 9–11 Sonata for piano in B flat minor, Op. 20 - Jan Václav Vorísek & Radoslav Kvapil (14:05)
    Composed byJan Václav Vorísek
    1. 9 Allegro con brio
    2. 10 Scherzo Allegro - Trio - Scherzo
    3. 11 Finale: Allegro con brio
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Radoslav Kvapil Primary Artist
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