24. 11. 2024, 11 a.m.

Leoš Janáček Memorial

Vocal: Feng-yün Song

Piano: Lenka Navrátilová

The concert will be performed in Czech and Chinese.

The performance lasts 60 minutes without pause.

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Bohuslav Martinů – Songs on One Page (selection), Songs on Two Pages (selection)
Leoš Janáček – Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs (selection)
Antonín Dvořák – In Folk Tone, Op. 73 (selection)


In 2022, a remarkable CD was released with songs by Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček and Bohuslav Martinů performed by Chinese soprano Feng-yűn Song. What is striking about the recording is not only the singer’s sensitive delivery, but also the fact that she has translated some of the songs into Chinese.

Songs on One Page by Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959) are among the gems of Czech song literature. Martinů composed them during the difficult times of WWII, when he had to emigrate to the United States. There in 1943, filled with longing for his native land, he composed seven songs to the lyrics of Moravian songs from Sušil’s collection. The next songs didn’t take long to follow. A year later, he also added Songs on Two Pages.

Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs by Leoš Janáček (1854–1928) is the composer’s most extensive cycle containing 53 songs. He worked on it for nine years between 1892 and 1901, in the immediate vicinity of the opera Her Stepdaughter (Jenůfa). Similarly to this opera, he was working on arrangements of folk songs for singing with piano accompaniment for many years. He experimented with them to a certain extent, and as a result the songs form a very distinctive part of the composer’s oeuvre. In 1892, the publisher Šolc published a second edition of A Bouquet of Moravian Folk Songs, which was “bound” by František Bartoš and Lev Janáček. On this occasion, he invited Janáček to add a piano accompaniment to the songs. He did so for fifteen songs that Šolc published in the first book in 1893. The second book was released in 1902, when he published the remaining 38 songs. They were published collectively under the title Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs in 1908.

The song cycle In the National Tone was composed by Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) in 1887, at the instigation of the Berlin publisher Fritz Simrock. In the cycle he set to music three Slovak and one Czech song. Dvořák took only some elements from the original songs, which he developed melodically and harmonically in the spirit of his existing songwriting.

Jiří Zahrádka