Martina Janková


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Creamy-voiced soprano Martina Janková explores different kinds of love and human understanding through a variety of song cycles on this album aptly titled Voyage. With Gérard Wyss accompanying her in the most elegant, tasteful manner, Janková begins the album with a song cycle called The Nursery by Mussorgsky, which is the highlight of the entire CD. Janková truly gets into character, many characters, as a child telling a string of tales to her nanny. Janková is impassioned and breathless when talking about the bogeyman, dramatic as she recounts a beetle's attack, swoops and shrieks as she talks about her cat. Her attention to the diction is quite noteworthy, for it is clear and precise with its rolled Rs. There is warmth, core, and fullness to her mid-low voice, and her high notes have a fast vibrato and urgency that recall Frederica von Stade. The Strauss songs are each about a different flower. The first song, "Kornblumen," is very sweet and light, with bell-like clarity. However, one can hear one of Janková's weaknesses, which is shaky high notes, such as on the word "Seelen." Wyss' piano is extremely tender and sensitive throughout the cycle, and one can hear the droplets of water that tinkle in the beginning of "Wasserrose." These are all solid interpretations of romantic and young love by the soprano, though perhaps the German phrasing could be shaped a little bit more. Not surprisingly, she is very strong in her native tongue of Czech on both of the Dvorák cycles. The Love Songs are lovely and moving, demonstrating a more mature understanding life and love. "Death dwells" is dark in character, and it shows off her full lower voice. Yet she can quickly change her character to somewhat hopeful at the end. In "Now as by that house" Janková alternates between restraint and passion, which creates an exciting mood for the listener. The second Dvorák cycle of Biblical Songs, which concludes the album, also suits her voice and personality very well. Her style is simpler here, as is suitable for these very hymn-like songs. She is vulnerable, exposed, and honest as she pleads in "Lord my shield," and more joyous yet still pious in "By the shore" The Schoeck seem to follow similarly in the mode of the Strauss songs, and they show off her low voice. Despite some inconsistencies in her voice, Janková is certainly a lovely artist who blossoms when singing the right repertoire and a downright exciting one when impassioned.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Nursery
1 2:05 Amazon
2 1:37 Amazon
3 2:27 Amazon
4 1:43 Amazon
5 2:11 Amazon
6 3:23 Amazon
7 2:17 Amazon
Mädchenblumen, Op. 22
8 2:15 Amazon
9 1:19 Amazon
10 3:11 Amazon
11 3:38 Amazon
Love Songs, Op. 83 (B 160, 1888)
12 1:50 Amazon
13 2:04 Amazon
14 1:22 Amazon
15 2:11 Amazon
16 1:43 Amazon
17 2:05 Amazon
18 1:47 Amazon
19 1:27 Amazon
20 2:40 Amazon
21 1:03 Amazon
22 1:56 Amazon
Biblical Songs, Op. 99 (B 185, 1894)
23 1:59 Amazon
24 1:51 Amazon
25 3:00 Amazon
26 2:36 Amazon
27 2:32 Amazon
28 2:27 Amazon
29 2:43 Amazon
30 2:33 Amazon
31 2:00 Amazon
32 1:47 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick