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Solo for the King

Solo for the King / Jana Semerádová

The invitation for the royal musical feast on the court of Frederick II.

Just as France had its Louis XIV, so Germany had Frederick II (1712-1786), whose passionate love of music (to the great annoyance of his father, who wanted him to be a strong monarch andmilitary commander) allowed for the blossoming of many splendid flowers in the Galant style. The desire to learn how to play the flute was awakened in Frederick by his meeting the virtuoso J. J. Quantz. The King surrounded himself with renowned musicians of the time, with his orchestra including the harpsichordist C. Ph. E. Bach, the phenomenal Czech violinist F. Benda and J. Ph.Kirnberger, a pupil of J. S. Bach’s. The encounter between Bach and the King of Prussia subsequently gave rise to the famous collection Musikalisches Opfer (Musical Offering). The fame of the spellbinding “Galant style” of the Baroque flautist Jana Semeradova has long since crossed the borders of the Czech lands: Wilbert Hazelzet’s pupil has performed to great acclaim at prestigious European festivals as a soloist and with her Collegium Marianum ensemble. Her magical flute invites you to a musical feast at the Potsdam chateau featuring the greatest musicians of the time of King Frederick II.

(J. S. Bach – Sonata h moll BWV 1030, Fuga canonica and Canon super thema Regium from The Musical Offering BWV 1079, F. Benda – Sonata e moll, C. Ph. E Bach – Duetto e moll, J. J. Quantz – Sarabande, Minuetto and Gigue, J. Ph. Kirnberger – Sonata a tre g moll)

Jana Semerádová – flauto traverso
Lenka Torgersen – baroque violin
Bertrand Cuiller – harpsichord
Hana Fleková – violoncello

March 2012, SU 4087-2

Audio examples to be found on Supraphonline

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

Review read

Tom Moore – Early Music America, Winter 2012

Music for the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia has been well-tilled ground for a long time, thanks to the Germanic domination of the discipline of musicology (how many other monarchs can boast a collected edition of dozens of their flute sonatas?), but centennials are always good excuses for new attention. Hence this new issue, despite the fact that all traverso players are certainly familiar with not just Bach’s Sonata in B Minor (BWV 1030), but all the rest of the works on the disc (and yet hundreds of sonatas and concertos by J. J. Quantz remain unexplored).
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 these pages 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 stun-ning and memorable. Her compatriots provide first-rate support as well, and the sound is rendered perfectly by engineers Jiri Gemrot and Miroslav Mares.
Not just traverso players and those who love the instrument will want this disc – almost anyone who loves Baroque music will find it hard to resist.

 

Interview with Jana Semerádová