Miloslav Kabeláč completed the first of his eight symphonies in Prague in early 1942, just a few months before Bohuslav Martinů, in the USA, would plunge into his Symphony No. 1, for Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Kabeláč was afflicted badly by the consequences of the Nazi occupation: owing to his refusal to divorce his Jewish wife, he lost his job at the radio, his music was banned, and his life was in permanent danger. This atmosphere of gloom is duly reflected in his Symphony No. 1. The euphoria following the end of World War II was very short-lived, as two and a half years later a similarly oppressive dictatorship, this time Communist, commenced. Kabeláč composed each of his symphonies for different instrumentation, repeatedly drawing inspiration from Biblical themes. Most of the pieces were premiered by the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Karel Ančerl, an enthusiastic champion of Kabeláč's music worldwide. The final symphony, "Antiphones", was written specially for a concert at the Saint Paul's Church in Strasbourg, and the superlative ensemble Les Percussions de Strasbourg, for whom Kabeláč created the famous cycle Eight Inventions, yet its premiere in June 1971 within a "Hommage ? Miloslav Kabeláč" concert featuring his music exclusively, took place without the composer's presence, as he had not received a permit to travel to the West ... Alongside Bohuslav Martinů, Miloslav Kabeláč was unquestionably the greatest Czech symphonist of the 20th century. The first complete recording of his symphonies, made by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marko Ivanović, affords the listener the opportunity to revel in the sheer depth of Kabeláč's symphonic oeuvre.
The first complete recording of Miloslav Kabeláč's symphonies. A gateway to new musical landscapes.
“Finding an imposing cycle of eight symphonies by a 20th century composer you’ve never heard of is an event. There’s precious little of Miloslav Kabeláč’s music presently available on disc, making this release a must-hear… I can’t recommend this set enough. Don’t expect to find it popping up on Classic FM soon, but put in the hours and you’ll reap the rewards; Kabeláč’s symphonies are certainly less oppressive than, say, Hartmann’s. Fabulously accomplished performances from Marko Ivanović and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and excellent sound. Stretch your ears. Buy this box set.”
theartsdesk.com, 28th January 2017
“Trés contrôlée, l'interprétation de Marko Ivanovic s'appuie sur des formes parfaitement lisibles, et joue beaucoup sur les effets de timbres recherchés par le compositeur.”
Diapason, March 2017
“The eight symphonies, composed between 1941 and 1970, document the anguish of Kabelac’s life in music that is powerful and driven by obsessive almost suffocating melodic and rhythmic patterns… Conductor Marko Ivanovic deserves special plaudits for bringing this fascinating music to our attention. He secures strong and committed playing from the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Supraphon's recordings are vivid.”
BBC Music Magazine, September 2017