The city of Prague was a cultural hotspot in the 1920s and 30s. From 1918 to 1935 the country’s president was the European-minded and remarkably liberal philosopher Tomáš Masaryk, and his successor Edvard Beneš was a kindred spirit. The three population groups, enriched by emigrants from Russia, the Ukraine, Germany and Austria, competed with one another but also inspired each other.
This was the Prague in which the composers on this CD were involved. In their music we hear the old and the new, tradition and renewal, but above all, imagination and talent. When the border between East and West opened up in 1989, their music had hardly been heard in the West for some fifty years, having been suppressed first by the Nazis and then by suffocating communist rule. With the exception of Ullmann, even today these composers have hardly reached our concert halls.
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