Songs my mother taught me CD
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KOZENA MAGDALENA / MALCOLM MAR
Magdalena Kozena's new album presents a recital of songs by various Czech composers, all of whom were deeply rooted in their national folk song tradition. The title comes from one of the Dvorak songs featured, but it isn't just an atmospheric title; there are indeed songs that Kozena's mother sang to her as a child, plus others she heard in her village. As a result, this CD carries the same personal originality that made her debut album, Czech Love Songs, stand out from the crowd.
The opening of the album packs a considerable punch; Kebych bola jahodú is an unaccompanied anonymous traditional song, and Kozena sings it in a rough, almost guttural way that is far, far removed from the western classical vocal technique. She describes it as the kind of singing one might hear in wine cellars, and it certainly conjures up images of sober (in feeling, not in alcohol consumption!) faces, listening intently in the flickering firelight of a mountain drinking tavern. It is the only song Kozena sings in this style, but it is an arresting, evocative start that emphasises the folkloric mood of the recital. Kozena, whilst her performances are always memorable, is lifted to an entirely different plateau with these songs in her home tongue and all the emotional resonance they hold for her. It's hard to pick out highlights, but the Lute Songs of the only-recently-deceased Petr Eben are captivating. Accompanied by guitar, these are beguiling little vignettes (or whatever the Czech word for vignette is) about the painful fears and realities of losing one's love. Given that Kozena points out that the texts Eben sets are the oldest on the album, and that his choice of poetry is always fascinating, it is incredibly frustrating that the sleeve notes don't then say anything about their origin or age. Why dangle that carrot if you're going to snatch it away?
Kozena is joined for Dvorak's Moravian Duets by soprano Dorothea Roschmann, and their voices are perfectly matched. Martin Martineau on piano and Michael Freimuth on guitar provide perfectly judged musical accompaniments. --Charlotte Gardner
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Charming and delightful songs by the greatest Czech composers sung by Magdalena Kozena - highly recommended.Published 6 months ago by stephen wilkins
This CD was purchased as a gift for Christmas so I cannot comment on it personally. However, it was recommended by a friend who liked it greatly.Published 7 months ago by Antoinette Williams