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Magdalena Kožená – Folk Songs (24/96 FLAC)

Magdalena Kožená - Folk Songs (24/96 FLAC)
Magdalena Kožená – Folk Songs (24/96 FLAC)


Composer: Béla Bartók, Luciano Berio, Xavier Montsalvatge, Maurice Ravel
Performer: Magdalena Kožená
Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Pentatone
Catalogue: PTC5187075
Release: 2023
Size: 868 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Bartók: Hungarian Folksongs, for voice & orchestra, BB. 108, Sz. 101
01. No. 1, In Prison
02. No. 2, Old Lament
03. No. 3, Yellow foal, with a bell
04. No. 4, Complaint
05. No. 5, There is a light in Virag’s window

Berio: Folk Songs
06. No. 1, Black is the colour
07. No. 2, I wonder as I wander
08. No. 3, Loosin yelav
09. No. 4, Rossignolet du bois
10. No. 5, a la femminisca
11. No. 6, La donna ideale
12. No. 7, Ballo
13. No. 8, Motettu de Tristura
14. No. 9, Malorous qu’o uno fenno
15. No. 10, Lo fiolairé
16. No. 11, Azerbaijan Love Song

Ravel: Cinq mélodies populaires grecques
17. No. 1, Chanson de la mariée
18. No. 2, Là-bas, vers l’eglise
19. No. 3, Quel galant m’est comparable
20. No. 4, Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisques
21. No. 5, Tout gai!

Montsalvatge: Canciones negras
22. No. 1, Cuba dentro de un piano
23. No. 2, Punto de Habanera
24. No. 3, Chévere
25. No. 4, Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito
26. No. 5, Canto negro

Magdalena Kozena’s fourth Pentatone album Folk Songs brings together folk-inspired song cycles from across the globe. Ranging from Berio’s Folk Songs to sets by Bartok, Ravel and Montsalvatge, this collection provides a kaleidoscope of twentieth-century orchestral song composition. Kozena performs them together with the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. Folk Songs is star mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena’s fourth album as part of her exclusive collaboration with Pentatone, after having presented the baroque cantatas recital album Il giardino dei sospiri and the songs in chamber-musical setting project Soiree in 2019, as well as Nostalgia together with Yefim Bronfman in 2021.

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the world’s greatest orchestras and, since 2019 has returned annually to conduct the Czech Philharmonic. He made his recording debut as pianist on Pentatone alongside Magdalena Kozena on Soiree (2019). In 2022-23 Rattle and Magdalena Kozena were the Czech Philharmonic Artists in Residence. The Czech Philharmonic is one of the world’s orchestral gems, recognised for its rich tradition with the Czech masters as well as European repertoire. Since 2022, the orchestra has released Mahler’s Fourth, Fifth, Second and First Symphony on Pentatone as part of a complete Mahler cycle to appear on the label.

Magdalena Kožená has recorded folk songs before, but this 2023 release, which landed on classical best-seller charts in the autumn of that year, is perhaps her definitive statement on the subject. She is teamed with her husband, Simon Rattle, as conductor, leading the nonpareil Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. However, what is most impressive is the program and the way it shows Kožená to be capable of handling a large variety of material. Kožená completely avoids folk songs of her native Czech culture. Instead, she offers folk-influenced material by Bartók, Berio, Ravel, and Xavier Montsalvatge, exploring the various meanings folk songs might have in the non-nationalist musical culture of the 20th century. The results are fascinating, and Kožená succeeds in shifting numerous gears over the course of the album. Sample her belted Berio song “a la femminisca,” or, for that matter, her expert retroflex r’s in “Black is the colour of my true love’s hair,” or “I wonder as I wander.” Berio’s populist take on folk music is one approach Kožená adopts; Ravel’s, using Greek vernacular music as just a moderate flavoring of his own style in the Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, is another. Sample her absolutely luminous Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisques from that set. Kožená ranges from fully competent to absolutely entrancing in this set of folkish songs, which are both fresh in conception and beautifully executed. An unusually satisfying release.

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