Marie Fajtová - Pensive Songs
Klement SLAVICKÝ (1910 – 1999)
Ej, srdénko moje / O, My Heart So Wretched (1954)
1. Nad Strážnicú jasno (Here the Sky Is Sunny) [2:52]
2. Šohajku s modrýma ocima (Sky-blue Eyes) [1:12]
3. Težko temu kamenovi (Heavy Is That Weighty Boulder) [3:25]
4. Povez mi, má milá (Tell Me, My Bonnie Lass) [2:35]
5. Studená rosenka (There Was a Chilly Dew) [3:28]
6. Byla sem ešce malá (I was Small then and Gawky) [2:18]
Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949)
7. Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3 [2:44]
8. Heimkehr, Op. 15 No. 5 [2:03]
9. Allerseelen, Op. 10 No. 8 [3:05]
10. Morgen, Op. 27 No. 4 [3:16]
11. Befreit, Op. 39 No. 4 [5:10]
12. Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1 [1:27]
Antonín DVORÁK (1841 – 1904)
V národim tónu / In Folk Tone, Op. 73, B 146 (1886)
13. Dobrú noc (Good-night My Darling) [3:14]
14. Žalo dievca, žalo trávu (When a Maiden was A-mowing) [1:50]
15. Ach, neni tu (Nothing Can Change) [3:03]
16. Ej, mám ja kona faku (Have a Faithful Mare) [1:51]
Bohuslav MARTINU (1890 – 1959)
Nové slovenské pisne / The New Slovak Songs, H 126
17. Mat’ moja, mat’ moja (My Mother, My Mother) [2:15]
18. Povidajú ludé (People are now Talking) [2:27]
19. Holubienka biela (Sweet Little White Turtle Dove) [1:23]
20. Dievca z Bielej hory (Girl from the White Mountain) [1:11]
Marie Fajtová (soprano); Robert Pechanek (piano)
rec. St. Vavrinec Church, 27-28 July 2009. DDD
Texts and English translations enclosed
ARCODIVA UP 0124-2131 [51:51]
Marie Fajtová is a young Czech graduate of the Prague Conservatory who studied piano very early and then singing. She was a finalist in the Antonín Dvorák International Singing Competition in 2004. In 2008 she won the Grand Prize in the Barbara Hendricks International Vocal Competition in Strasbourg. During the 2005-2006 season she was a member of Pilsen’s Theatre and after that moved to the National Theatre in Prague. She has also appeared in other Czech houses as well as in several countries abroad. In January this year she made her debut at the Finnish National Opera as Marguerite in Faust.
I have still to hear her in the flesh but she has an agreeable bright, lyric voice. This is mobilised with intensity and involvement and she nuances well. What may be a disturbance to some listeners is her vibrato: a fast flicker that is noticeable from mezzo-forte and upwards. Others would call it a characteristic of her timbre that gives her a very personal sound. It actually bothered me very little, though I would have preferred a straighter tone. Her pianissimo singing is ravishing, however, and she has a splendid legato, which is amply demonstrated in Richard Strauss’s Heimkehr for instance. Allerseelen is strong, expressive and concentrated while Morgen is scaled down and inward. Her handling of dynamics is in clear evidence in Befreit. I chose those Richard Strauss lieder as examples since they are by far the best known in this recital.
Naturally competition is extremely keen in this repertoire but she stands up well even against experienced artists and what she may lack in insight is well compensated for by the freshness of her singing.
Of the Czech songs those by Klement Slavický were completely new to me. Born in 1910 he belonged to the avant-garde during the inter-war years. The songs recorded here date from 1954 and were not regarded as in line with the socialist realism that was the official principle during the communist regime. The texts are from Moravian folk poetry and the composer may have derived some inspiration from Janácek, who actually taught Slavicky’s father. The melodies are often hauntingly beautiful, the accompaniments colourful, sometimes rather harsh but always personal and with unexpected turns. In the fifth song, There was a chilly dew, one can feel the chill and the wetness in the dissonances of the accompaniment. This cycle was a pleasant surprise.
Dvorák’s songs are perhaps more immediately accessible. The texts are from Czech and Moravian folk songs and are truly inspired. Few composers have had the ability to create melodies that sound so natural, sprung directly from nature. They are nicely contrasted. Good-night my darling is sweet, simple and beautiful, When a maiden was a-mowing lively and energetic, Nothing can change depicts the bitterness of the girl and I have a faithful mare dances.
Martinu, like Janácek before him, borrowed existing tunes and added expressive accompaniments, often inspired by the playing technique of the cimbalom. They are fresh and captivating.
Robert Pechanec is a flexible accompanist and the recording is good though the acoustics seem a bit too generous, which afflicts the cleanness of the piano tone. I am indebted to Tomáš Slavický’s excellent liner-notes from which I have culled some of the information in this review.
The disc is an attractive calling-card for a promising singer in the first stages of a career that has already made her a sought after name in leading opera houses and concert halls.
An attractive calling-card for a promising singer ... see Full Review