September 26 this year saw Martin Doyle attend the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music where he had been invited to have a instrument makers stall and offer a workshop on Baroque flute making.
Reflecting on the event, Martin commented that he had a wonderful time, met some lovely people and attended some excellent workshops and recitals.
One of the people who really impressed Martin was the Czech flute player Jana Semerádová, whose Baroque flute master class and recitals Martin attended. The following is a video clip of Jana performing a concerto in G major for flute by the Italian Baroque composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini with members of the Collegium Marianum.
Jana’s playing of Tartini concerto brought forward the zen-like aspect of Martin’s persona and he fervently loosed forth this proclamation:
“This is the greatest playing of one of the greatest tunes ever known! When you hear a musician playing the flute, it becomes difficult to listen to the same being done by a flute player!”
So there you have it! But wait, there’s more…
Solo For The King – Jana Semerádová
Jana Semerádová’s most recent CD is Solo For The King, which was released in 2012. That makes us some four years late with this humble review but as something newly discovered is perceived as new to the discoverer, we feel there is little harm in putting Solo For The King under the spotlight once again as it is simply an album full of jewels!
Jana’s delightful renditions eloquently capture the times of Frederick the Great and some of the musician-composers that he surrounded himself with during his reign in the eighteenth century. Solo For The King features the music of J. S. Bach, F. Benda, J. J. Quantz and J. Ph. Kirnberger. Accompanying Jana Semerádová are Lenka Torgersen (baroque violin), Bertrand Cuiller (harpsichord) and Hana Fleková (violoncello).
The accompaniments are wonderful but, as is no doubt intended, it is Jana’s flauto traverso that reaches out and captures one’s heart. As is stated on the album page we have linked to above, “Her magical flute invites you to a musical feast at the Potsdam chateau featuring the greatest musicians of the time of King Frederick II.” Jana’s playing is fluid nectar, a sweet flowing river – silk-like – with a beauty that can only be manifested through someone who has given themselves totally to their instrument and the music that they are most passionate about.
“Even if you already have recordings of these pieces, the playing of flutist Jana Semerádová here is good enough to drive any thoughts of librarianly quibbles aside. It’s extremely good, in fact. Her playing stood out on the fine disc of Czech Baroque repertoire by Brentner that I reviewed in 2011, and this recording, the first to focus on her flute mastery, certainly fulfills that promise. Who doesn’t have the opening of the famous B minor sonata ingrained in their musical memory? And yet every detail of the complex music is perfectly conveyed here with intense expression – the repeated notes, the sighing pairs of notes, the delicate appoggiaturas, and the resolute rising passage that closes the ritornello. Add to this remarkable musical intelligence the liquid beauty of the singing cantabile tone that Semerádová produces on the traverso and you have a combination that is stunning and memorable.”
– Excerpts from a review by Tom Moore of Early Music America.
The lofty word ‘perfection’ can sincerely be applied in describing the offerings on Solo For The King – without fear of hyperbole. And it must be noted that perfection is not a static reality; it is a state of constant transcendence – always reaching for the higher peak. This being the case, we certainly look forward to hearing Jana’s next album if her life-river flows in that direction.
Listen To Samples Of Solo For The King
- Samplings from Solo For The King may be heard here: Solo For The King – All Music »
- Solo For The King can be purchased here: Solo For The King – Supraphon »
Interview With Jana Semerádová
Colin Booth And The Harpsichord
Martin was also very pleased to meet Colin Booth, the British harpsichordist and harpsichord maker. Here’s a video clip of Colin playing the harpsichord:
Martin was so impressed with the harpsichord that on returning home, he bought one! Perhaps the sweet tones of the Baroque era will now float across the green fields and narrow laneways that criss-cross parish Rannagh in the County Clare.
Martin would like to thank the Sligo Festival of Baroque Music organisers for inviting him to the festival. He would also like to thank Vivian and Lizzy Kinsella and their daughters Charlotte and Isabella, whom he stayed with while in Sligo, for their kind and generous hospitality. He had a wonderful time in Sligo!
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