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Fatal conflict

The music of Josef Bohuslav Foerster -
with RODERIC DUNNETT

'... the dazzling Eva Depoltová in the title role ...'

Foerster: Eva. (c) 1996 Supraphon

 

Josef Bohuslav Foerster is one of those outstanding Czech figures who has never quite made it in the West. Perhaps not surprising, given the comparative paucity of Foerster recordings on the Czech Republic's principal label, Supraphon. Yet what there is -- a clutch of orchestral, chorus and stage works, two cello sonatas, a wind quintet -- is impressive. And none more so than the Frantisek Vajnar recording of his 3-Act opera Eva (with the dazzling Eva Depoltová in the title role, SU3001-2 612) [listen -- 'Je mi ho líto, má te tak rád', Eva CD1 track 16, 0:59-2:01].

Eva is a superb, gripping, forward-looking, Strindbergian drama about the psychology of marital oppression, which would have made an apt subject for Janácek (Foerster did in fact write incidental music for Strindberg's Lucky Peter's Journey). The ultimately fatal conflict, as Eva struggles between fidelity to an older husband (the impressive baritone Jaroslav Soucek) [listen -- 'Jak jsi divná', Eva CD1 track 6, l:25-2:37] and young love (Manek -- the tenor Leo Marian Vodicka) [listen -- 'Evusko cekás?', Eva CD2 track 1, 2:31-3:35], is as powerful as the essays in this vein by any of his Czech contemporaries. Whatever Eva's decision, impulse or compromise, it is all doomed to end in tears [listen -- 'Sama jsem a opustena!', Eva CD2 track 12, 4:59-6:23]. Suicide and death haunt Czech and Hungarian heroines -- Dvorák's Vanda, Rusalka and Xenie (in Dimitrij); Erkel's ravaged Melinda; Fibich's Sarka, Hedy and Hippodamia. Foerster's Eva, then, is true to form.

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Copyright © 10 November 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - SUPRAPHON SU 3001-2 612

PURCHASE 'EVA', SU 3001-2 612 FROM AMAZON

SUPRAPHON WEBSITE

CD INFORMATION - SUPRAPHON 11 1822-2 011

PURCHASE SYMPHONY NO 4, 11 1822-2 011 FROM AMAZON

 

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