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Josef Bohuslav FOERSTER (1859-1951)
Cello Sonata No. 1 op. 45 (1898) [20:13]
Cello Sonata No. 2 op. 130 (1926) [16:49]
Three Nocturnes op. 163 () [9:01]
Melody for cello and piano (1934) [5:28]
Duo Moravia: Jiří Hanousek (cello); Paul Kaspar (piano)

Erika Sporerová (alto)
rec. 19-20 June 1996, Studio Franken, Bavarian Radio, Nürnberg. Germany. DDD.
TUDOR CD 7071 [50:13]

As a gentler and less revolutionary soul, something of a conservative in fact, Josef Bohuslav Foerster's music has been all but obliterated by that of his countrymen. Janáček and Martinů. Each of these towering figures struck out in new directions: ambitious and successful in their ambitions.

The Prague-born Bohemian Foerster was a friend of Mahler and for a while lived in Vienna. He wrote within the confines of an idiom recognisable by Schumann and Brahms. He looked towards these models as Stanford did in England and as many another did across the world.

The First Cello Sonata (1898) ebbs and flows with romantic spirit. A peaceful Lento is notable for reaching towards the glowing sunrise moments in Delius's Cello Sonata. It is framed by a wildly romantic Allegro commodo and a more urbane, almost casual, allegro giusto.

The Second Sonata is from 1926. Again it is three short movements - almost 17 minutes against the First's 21 minutes. The note-writer claims that the first movement hints at neo-classicism; I disagree. The language is readily linked to the First Sonata perhaps more Delian and static - subtle in the manner of Fauré.

The enigmatic Three Nocturnes date from 1940. The texts are Notturno by the composer, Moonlit Night by Frantisek Svoboda and All sadness passes by Jan Rokyta. These are all soulful songs absorbed in the themes of love, eternity and art nouveau imagery. The mood is accentuated by the choice of instruments and voice.

The Melodie from 1934 continues Foerster's love affair with the lyrical impulse and the romantically rounded spirit. Do not expect sparks and lightning. However if you have a taste for music with a gentle romantic glow then your goal is found.

Tudor have found three artists who seems completely at ease in this idiom yet are able to project a freshness and bloom to the music. The recording matches the mood being warm and cocooned.

Rob Barnett




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