Collegium Marianum » Discography » Jiránek/Concertos




František Jiránek


Sergio Azzolini – bassoon
Xenia Löffler – oboe
Jana Semerádová – flauto traverso
Lenka Torgersen – violin
Vojtěch Semerád – viola d’amour
Collegium Marianum
Jana Semerádová – artistic direction


The Baroque composer František Jiránek (1698–1778), nicknamed the “Czech Vivaldi”, served as a violinist of Václav Morzin’s court orchestra. Having only discovered his music a few years ago, researchers are now identifying his works, as the authorship of some of them is still unclear, with some sources ascribing them to Jiránek and others to Vivaldi, his teacher in Venice. Jiránek’s music has also enjoyed growing interest on the part of musicians. Besides Jana Semerádová’s Co­llegium Marianum, its champions include the brilliant Italian bassoonist Sergio Azzolini and the superlative German oboist Xenia Löffler. All the ambiguities as to its origin and a few specific requirements (for instance, employment of the viola d’amour, a scarcely used instrument, in the Triple Concerto in A major) notwithstanding, the CD features vivid, ebullient and virtuoso music, pieces previously unrecorded and performed in a top-notch way.

Recorded in the Chapel Korunní, Prague, April  25, 26 and 28, 2016.
Recording director: Jiří Gemrot; sound engineer: Aleš Dvořák

October 2016, SU 4208-2


Review / Gramophone 03/2017

Jiránek ‘Music from Eighteenth Century Prague’ B assoon Concerto, Jk20. Flute Concerto, Jk11. Oboe Concertos – Jk15; Jk17. Triple Concerto, Jk2 2. Violin Concerto, JkAp1 (attrib Vivaldi, RVAnh8) Xenia Löffler ob Sergio Azzolini bn Lenka Torgersen vn Vojtěch Semerád va d’amore Collegium Marianum / Jana Semerádová fl Supraphon F SU4208-2 (69’ • DDD)

You might have heard of František Jiránek, the Czech violinist and composer who was born in 1698 on a Czech aristocrat’s estate, possibly studied with Vivaldi in Venice, then returned to play and compose in Count Morzin’s court in Prague. You might even have heard a few of his arresting instrumental concertos and not quite so arresting sinfonias. Beyond that, things start to get woolly. Even his tiny but tenacious coterie of devotees is still struggling to establish the exact authorship of music generally attributed to him.

Such mysteries, though, are key to Supraphon’s exploration of ‘Music from Eighteenth Century Prague’. This latest release in the series makes a feature of the ambiguities surrounding certain works. Who wrote the Concerto in D for violin: Jiránek or Vivaldi? And can we hold Jiránek personally responsible for the idiosyncrasies of his Concerto in A, not least the unusual viola d’amore part? Or are they the doing of his copyist, the 19th-century d’amore virtuoso Carl Zoeller?

For all the booklet-notes’ enthusiastic musings, this disc doesn’t provide any answers. But it does familiarise us with music that, on the whole, deserves to be better known. Jiránek, like Vivaldi, has a particular talent for slow movements: so much is achieved with so little, and that’s as evident in the haunting Adagio of the Flute Concerto in D, with its keening solo melody, as it is in the sighing middle movement of the Triple Concerto in A. Elsewhere there are hits and misses. The oboe concertos sound like Vivaldi on autopilot, lively though they are. But the Bassoon Concerto in G is much more inventive, ingeniously exploiting the instrument’s timbre, whether in the lowing Adagio or in the genial outer movements. Sergio Azzolini, who has reconstructed the concluding ritornello for this incomplete concerto, is the outstanding soloist, while Collegium Marianum, under their artistic director Jana Semerádová, play with punch and attention to detail.
Hannah Nepil


Audio examples to be found on Supraphonline

CD is sold on our concerts or available in distribution of Supraphon