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Songs My Mother Taught Me ~ Kozena Import

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Magdalena Kozena, one of the most acclaimed recitalists of today, presents a personal collection of songs she has known since childhood and that form some of her earliest musical influences. A haunting collection of songs by Czech composers such as Dvorak, Janacek, Martinu, Schulhoff and Eben, all deeply rooted in the rich Czech folk song tradition. Like Magdalena explains about the songs on the album: They are just the sort a mother would sing to her baby. My mother is not a professional singer, but she loved to sing and knew a lot of songs! There is a particular tradition of singing to children in our country, much stronger, I would say, than one sees any more in the West. It was really important that in each family these songs would be handed down, taught to the children. Kozena s musical partners on the album include her long-standing recital partner Malcolm Martineau, and soprano Dorothea Roschmann, who joins her in Dvorak s Moravian duets. Magdalena Kozena s most personal album so far, exploring the richness of her cultural background and her own musical memories.

Review

"Magdalena Kozená is singing more satisfyingly than ever. The colour of her mezzo-soprano sound is as rich as before, but there is an extra vocal confidence now, which translates into a dramatic risk-taking that made this concert of Handel arias a very special experience . . . it was Alcina's lament, "Ah! mio cor", which drew the most ambitious interpretation of the night, allowing Kozená to showcase both her alluring sound and her maturing artistry . . ." -- The Guardian, London, November 2007
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Product Details

  • Performer: Malcolm Martineau, Dorothea Roschmann
  • Composer: Dvorak, Janacek, Martinu, Schulhoff, Eben
  • Audio CD (April 14, 2009)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B001BJ83BM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,386 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Ms. Kozena has a distinctively `Central European' voice. The timbre is lyrical and full, without being dull. This album of Dvorak's vocal works undoubtedly suits her well.
Kozena is not only able to give an authentic account of these works, but also much emotional involvement. The 3 Gypsy Melodies are very sentimental and movingly done. The well-known title song "Songs My Mother Taught Me" is full of filial yearning and rightfully appeals to listeners of whatever race or nationality. I have for long been listening to a Chinese version with modern arrangement set to have moving text, and this original version is doubtlessly more than welcome.
In the 3 Moravian Duets, Ms. Kozena employs quite another method of interpretation, and draws on more pathos and broader resonances. The partnership of Dorothea Roeschmann is simply superb in these tracks. While Kozena and Roeschmann have not yet make a full recording of these songs as did Irmgard Seefried and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf before them, I really do look forward to hearing her full set of Moravian Songs.
Song lovers would surely enjoy such beautiful singing.
Heartily recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
The previous reviewer is mistaken in calling this a recital of Dvorak's vocal works. Other composers are included -- Janacek, Martinu, Schulhoff, Novak, and Eben. All their divergent styles are lost in the same relatively simple folksong idiom, and that's the problem. If Kozena had found 34 interesting Czech folksongs, I might have been happy. But here we get 34 repetitious folksongs, none of which rises any higher than the others (excepting a few composed melodies and the Moravian duets from Dvorak). There's a noble tradition of gathering and preserving folk material, but Brahms himself couldn't make three dozen 'Deutches Volkslieder' sound interesting from beginning to end, and those were twice as captivating as what we have on this CD.

In addition, Kozena seems content to remain in a relaxed, sentimental mood throuhgout. Her voice is too uniform, and she lacks the temperament to sell these songs to an audience who has never heard them before. Certainly, despite some winning moments here and there, she didn't sell them to me.
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