Jitka Hosprová and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra are releasing an album dedicated to Czech viola concertoss
Jitka Hosprová is the first ever Czech female viola soloist. She has successfully shown that this instrument can play the lead role. On her new recording with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra she has tackled three modern concertos written in Czechia within thirty years of each other around the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. Czech Viola Concertos, released by Supraphon on Friday 27 March 2020, features works by Sylvie Bodorová, Jindřich Feld and Oldřich Flosman.
One of the works recorded by Jitka Hosprová and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra is Oldřich Flosman’s Michelangelo’s Stone, which the composer completed in 1975 as a commission for the celebrations of the five hundredth anniversary Michelangelo’s birth and is now almost forgotten. Jindřich Feld’s viola concerto, one of his last works, bears comparison with Bartok’s and goes even further as regards technical difficulty: the work pushes the soloist to the extremes of technique. Sylvie Bodorová’s work Plancti (the name refers to the medieval form of “lamentations of the Virgin Mary”) reflects the gloom, tension and hopelessness of life in communist Czechoslovakia during the 1980s.
Jitka Hosprová had the following to say about the new recording: “I have always really enjoyed working with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. I have numerous colleagues from my student days among its members and the atmosphere at concerts and during recording sessions has always been friendly. It’s almost incredible how focused the orchestra is. Its members are able to learn very complicated parts extremely quickly and play them with great precision.
That is particularly important when as a soloist you are confronted by a very demanding part in terms of both technique and musicality. Our approach to recording the pieces was to make as few interventions as possible, preferring a natural recording like at a concert, which suits me, and the orchestra was a wonderful partner in that. It was obviously an advantage that we had already performed Sylvie Bodorová’s Plancti and Feld’s piece in concert.”
In all three works, the viola’s deep intimate voice contrasts with the orchestra’s huge symphonic sound. More than any other instrument, the viola touches the composer’s innermost world and motif. Jitka Hosprová’s bold choice of repertoire and technical virtuosity breathe life back into three works that certainly deserve attention from musicians and audiences alike.
The Czech Viola Concertos album comes out on March 27 on CD and in digital formats.