Jiránek: Concertos

Sergio Azzolini bassoon, Xenia Löffler oboe, Jana Semerádová flute, Lenka Torgersen violin, Collegium Marianum
69:09
Supraphon SU 4208-2

Rather appropriately, this CD (the second that this series – Music from eighteeth-century Prague – has devoted to the composer) should begin with a concerto whose origins are so obscure that it is not even certain whether it is by Jiránek or his great Venetian mentor (and regular supplier of music to his Bohemian patron and Jiránek’s employer, Count Morzin) Vivaldi. That’s a matter for musicologists; music lovers will hear a fabulous performance of an excellent work that has all the attributes of a three-movement baroque concerto. There follow five more, culminating in a work for flute, violin, viola d’amore and ensemble.

Like all of his contemporaries, Jiránek was thoroughly immersed in the Italian style, so it would come as no surprise if someone thought they were listening to Vivaldi. That said, each of the six works has their individual character, and what impresses most is the range of the composer’s invention. As with previous Collegium Marianum recordings, both the playing and the recorded sound are faultless. I did once joke that, if I were ever to win a very large amount of money on the national lottery, I should buy myself a villa or a small castle in Bohemia and employ an orchestra to entertain me with just such music; listening to it on CD is hardly the same, but it makes the dream all the more desirable! This is a beautiful recording that deserves to win all sorts of awards.

Brian Clark