Fenetre sur le jardin, Czech music for piano solo (2018)

Leos Janacek, Miloslav Kabelac, Bohuslav Martinu, Jaroslav Kvapil, Josef Suk

Ksenia Kouzmenko

Sometimes projects arise which just keep expanding. This was the case for me a after the album “Whispering Leaves” which cellist Lucie Štepanova and I released in 2018 with works by Janacek, Palenicek and Martinu. While preparing for this recording I was listening and reading an enormous amount about Czech music, as well as playing a lot of other Czech composers. Because of this I became intensely fascinated with this music.

The immediacy, the honesty of expression has an incredible appeal to me. It is the sort of music which you experience directly, right now in this moment, not only as a performer but also as a listener. You stand in the middle of the story. It is fascinating music, but strangely enough there is still much left to explore. The beautiful music of Jaroslav Kvapil for instance is all but forgotten.

And sometimes you have to undertake real journeys. Working on this project we have also tried to follow in the footsteps of the composers. Climbing the church tower of Policka, in which Martinu was born, playing on his grand piano, wandering through Janacek’s Hukvaldy and around the villa of Kapral in beautiful Tti Studne, walking in the rapeseed fields of Fryštak, where Kvapil was born and grew up. And much more. In Vieux Moulin a 94 year old neighbour told us that Martinu was a strangely silent man, who never spoke and didn’t come into the village. They thought he was deaf, and sometimes saw him sitting under a pear tree behind the house, thinking and writing.

As well we went to antiquarians and libraries, searching for scores and books. It is incredibly moving to hold a first print of “In the Mists” in your hands, to receive a shipment of unknown Czech music from an antiquarian, or to be allowed to touch that piano of a composer. With tears in my eyes I played the first bars of Suk’s “Love Song” on his own grand piano in Kretovice, in the presence of his grandson Jan Suk. This is only the beginning of all the new solo and chamber music projects which I would love to share with you.

Ksenia Kouzmenko

 

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Ksenia Kouzmenko

Ksenia Kouzmenko is renowned internationally for her sensitive and tech- nically accomplished piano playing, and much appreciated as a partner in chamber music.

Ksenia was born in Minsk, Belarus in a family of pianists. She studied with Vladimir Zaretsky and Grigory Scherschewsky, the former teacher of her fa- ther, at the National Music College in Minsk. At the age of twelve Ksenia made her debut as a soloist with orchestra. In the next years she performed piano concertos of Beethoven and Rachmaninov. She graduated cum laude, with Gold Medal. Ksenia continued her piano studies at the National Music Acad- emy with Vladimir Olovnikov, where she received her Master degree, also cum laude, as a soloist, a teacher and in vocal accompaniment and chamber music. She pursued her postgraduate studies with Naum Grubert at the Royal Con- servatory in  e Hague, with  nancial support of the Yuri Egorov Foundation. She took part in many masterclasses, with outstanding musicians such as Ab- bey Simon, Gyo?rgy Sa?ndor, Vazha Chachava, Lazar Berman, Gyo?rgy Kurta?g, Earl Wild, Charles Rosen, Karl-Heinz Kammerling, Ivan Moravec and attended courses in Bach-interpretation with Walter Blankenheim. In the summer of 1997 she followed an intense chamber music program in Tanglewood in the USA. Ksenia received prizes for accompaniment at numerous international compe- titions. As a soloist, she won the 2nd prize at the Tromp Competition in Eind- hoven, where she received the Audience Prize as well, and the 3rd prize at the Rencontres Musicales de Gaillard, France.

She played with the National Symphony Orchestra of Belarus, the Brabants Orkest, the Collegium Instrumentale Brugense, and the Nederlands Blazers-ensemble. She was a soloist in the Kurta?g-project of the Royal Conservatory, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw. And, on recommendation of Gyo?rgy Kur- ta?g himself, she played his “...quasi una fantasia...” with the Orchestra della Svizzerra Italiana, conducted by Olivier Cuendet, at the Lugano Festival. She recorded concerts for the National Broadcast Corporation of Belarus, Radio- televisione Svizzerra, Dutch television and Dutch and Belgian national radio channels (Radio 4 and Brava).

Ksenia has been performing in Germany (Beethoven Festival in Bonn), Eng- land, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium (Festival van Vlaanderen), Italy, Slovenia (Tartini Festival), Spain (Festival “Semana de Musica Caja Astur”), Russia (Hermitage, St. Petersburg), and all over the Netherlands.

Ksenia played chamber music in every kind of combination. In almost 30 years she built up an enormously rich repertoire ranging from Bach to Kurta?g. She is constantly searching for new compositions and is fond of making unusual, inspiring programs. Among her long-time partners are wonderful musicians, such as the violinist Lisa Jacobs, cellist Lucie S?te?pa?nova?, clarinettist Andre? Kerver and many others. Recently, Ksenia discovered the joy of playing on an Erard grand piano, with its inspiring sound possibilities.

Since 1999 Ksenia has been teaching at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

In 2013 violinist Lisa Jacobs and Ksenia Kouzmenko released a CD on Challenge Records, featuring compositions of Franck and Ysay?e, which was highly praised by the international music press.

photo: from booklet Whispering Leaves

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Fenetre sur le jardin, Czech music for piano solo (2018)

Leos Janacek, Miloslav Kabelac, Bohuslav Martinu, Jaroslav Kvapil, Josef Suk

Ksenia Kouzmenko

    Piano News -

Es ist ein großartiges und spannendes Programm, das hoffen lässt, dass Ksenia Kouzmenko in dieser Richtung weitergräbt. / It is a great and exciting program that gives hope that Ksenia Kouzmenko will continue in this direction.

C.Dürer

    MusicWeb International, March 2019

Well-shaped and lively performances of Czech classics. This enterprising disc charts a pathway through Czech piano music of the twentieth-century (give or take) in performances of clear high points, such as Janá?ek’s In the Mists, but also through premiere recordings of cycles by Jaroslav Kvapil and Miloslav Kabelá?.

Jonathan Woolfe[read full review]

    ElegantClassics, March 2019

Ksenia Kouzmenko op?t s and?lským tónem u COBRA RECORDS. Pokud je v zahrani?í um?lec, který se výrazn? stará o ?eskou hudbu, je to radost, pokud je to navíc pianistka takových kvalit, jakými oplývá Ksenia Kouzmenko, je to radost více než dvojnásobná. === Ksenia Kouzmenko again with an angelic tone on COBRA RECORDS. If there is an artist abroad who takes great care of Czech music, it is a pleasure, if it is a pianist of such qualities as Ksenia Kouzmenko is, it is more than a pleasure.

Milos Bittner[read full review]

    Opus Klassiek, jan 2019

"Ksenia Kouzmenko, geboren in Minsk en dochter van een pianistenechtpaar, profileert zich in dit recital als ideale vertolkster van dit afwisselend gloedvolle, contemplatieve, expressief voortdurend betoverende repertoire. Ze heeft zich duidelijk in de bijzondere aard van deze stukken verdiept, met als groot winstpunt dat haar spel daardoor ook inhoudelijk een zeer gevoelige snaar weet te raken."

Aart van der Wal[read full review]

Fenetre sur le jardin, Czech music for piano solo (2018)

Leos Janacek, Miloslav Kabelac, Bohuslav Martinu, Jaroslav Kvapil, Josef Suk

Ksenia Kouzmenko

Cables: Acoustic Revive
Digital Converters: Merging Technologies
Editing Software: Pyramix
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer 4003, Neumann modified by Rens Heijnis
Producer: Tom Peeters
Recording Engineer: Tom Peeters, Mediatrack
Recording location: Westvest 90, Schiedam, The Netherlands - July 16,17,18 &19, 2018
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD256

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COBRA0070: Fenetre sur le jardin, Czech music for piano solo
01:01:27   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Love Song op.7 no.1
Josef Suk
00:06:33   Select quality & channels above
2.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, Lento melancolico
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:02:24   Select quality & channels above
3.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, Andante
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:01:22   Select quality & channels above
4.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, Poco appsionato
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:00:30   Select quality & channels above
5.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, Largo lamentoso
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:01:25   Select quality & channels above
6.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, Con moto
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:01:44   Select quality & channels above
7.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, Allegro
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:01:13   Select quality & channels above
8.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, Andante addolorato
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:01:43   Select quality & channels above
9.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, l?istesso tempo
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:01:53   Select quality & channels above
10.
Through the Valley of Grief and Sorrow, Allegro risoluto - Meno mosso
Jaroslav Kvapil
00:02:28   Select quality & channels above
11.
Windows on to the Garden, Poco andante
Bohuslav Martinu
00:01:53   Select quality & channels above
12.
Windows on to the Garden, Allegro moderato
Bohuslav Martinu
00:02:04   Select quality & channels above
13.
Windows on to the Garden, Moderato
Bohuslav Martinu
00:02:13   Select quality & channels above
14.
Windows on to the Garden, Allegretto
Bohuslav Martinu
00:01:37   Select quality & channels above
15.
Short Piano Pieces, Allegro inquieto
Miloslav Kabelac
00:02:26   Select quality & channels above
16.
Short Piano Pieces, Andante tranquillo
Miloslav Kabelac
00:02:58   Select quality & channels above
17.
Short Piano Pieces, Meditation. Lento Con espressione, ma semplice
Miloslav Kabelac
00:03:20   Select quality & channels above
18.
Short Piano Pieces, Memories. Adagio
Miloslav Kabelac
00:01:51   Select quality & channels above
19.
Short Piano Pieces, Enigma Lento patetico
Miloslav Kabelac
00:02:21   Select quality & channels above
20.
Short Piano Pieces, Moderato
Miloslav Kabelac
00:02:13   Select quality & channels above
21.
Short Piano Pieces, Memories. Allegro
Miloslav Kabelac
00:02:21   Select quality & channels above
22.
In the Mists, Andante - Poco mosso
Leos Janacek
00:03:28   Select quality & channels above
23.
In the Mists, Molto Adagio - Presto
Leos Janacek
00:04:47   Select quality & channels above
24.
In the Mists, Andantino - Poco mosso
Leos Janacek
00:02:23   Select quality & channels above
25.
In the Mists, Presto - Meno mosso - Andante
Leos Janacek
00:04:17   Select quality & channels above

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