New CD: Josef Špaček plays Martinů
On 8 September Supraphon released Josef Špaček’s new recording of works by Bohuslav Martinů. The recording includes three pieces for violin and piano, displaying various styles and influences the composer embraced. In the rarely performed Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra Josef Špaček and pianist Miroslav Sekera are accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Petr Popelka.
“On paper Špaček’s tried-and-tested partnership with Miroslav Sekera faces serious competition in the Sonata, although the Czech duo benefit from more modern sound than big-name rivals. A live account from David Oistrakh enjoys a high reputation among fiddle fanciers and executants alike while relegating Frida Bauer’s piano to the middle distance (Brilliant Classics, 6/07). Josef Suk and Josef Hála, arguably more idiomatic than the Soviet pair if less intense (Supraphon, 8/90), are outclassed now by Špaček and Sekera.” – Gramophone Awards Issue 2023
“Josef Špaček a eu le flair de s’adjoindre le splendide Miroslav Sekera (qui jouait le jeune Mozart au clavecin dans le film Amadeus !). Leur Sonate no. 3 est époustouflante. Les interprètes volent, au fil de tempos très rapides, d’une aile aussi flamboyante que cursive, alternant diaprures, chant déployé, émotion poétique et pudeurs ravéliennes (l’Adagio !). Leur ascension nuancée en vagues successives vers l’incandescence du finale relève du miracle.” – Diapason no. 728
“It’s a great advantage for string instrument players that Bohuslav Martinů was a violinist himself. Although being singular in terms of technique and applying his own deep-rooted practices, his pieces are ‘performer-friendly’. When it comes to the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, the violin part is particularly challenging. Nevertheless, Martinů evidently knew precisely how far he could go, so as to keep it playable,” Josef Špaček said.