Following the highly acclaimed recording of J. B. Foerster's violin concertos (BBC Symphony Orchestra / Jiří Bělohlávek, Supraphon SU 3961-2), the violinist Ivan Ženatý - who has gained international renown as both a virtuoso and pedagogue - and the pianist Martin Kasík have chosen violin sonatas by three Czech composers from the turn of the 20th century. Nedbal's and Novák's not overly known and in stylistic terms distinctly romantic works contrast with Janáček's sonata, an opus of the mature Master whose modernity places it firmly in the 20th century. In Janáček's third (yet only preserved) violin sonata there are distinctly "Russian" undertones, reflecting the period it began to originate: the outset of World War I. Novák's romantically flamboyant sonata was written under Dvořák's supervision and is clearly influenced by Chopin and Liszt; Novák's Sturm und Drang is referred to on occasion. Oskar Nedbal's early work bears witness to his mastery of both instruments and rich melodic invention.
The intensity of the listener's experience is augmented by the technical bravura and musical maturity with whichthe two performers have undertaken this repertoire.
Gramophone Magazine October 2009
A finely recorded recital from a spirited pair of musicians. …Zenatý and Kasík play with a quick sensitivity about when to simplify, when to intensify the expression.