"Whispering Leaves" is a new project from violoncellist Lucie Stepanova and pianist Ksenia Kouzmenko, featuring Czech music for cello and piano.
The artists play works by Leos Janacek and Bohuslav Martinu, as well as composer Josef Palenicek.
Josef Palenicek (1914-1991) was a very expressive and versatile pianist, fascinating performer of Janacek's works, and a lifelong friend of Bohuslav Martinu, with whom he studied together in Paris. But, unfortunately as a composer he is not very well known. On this CD you'll find a special work, his moving Chorale Variati¬ons on the famous 17th century chorale "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded". Written in 1942, in response to a dramatic personal experience, this is one of the most important Czech works for cello and piano from World War II. This recording is the world premiere of this piece on CD. It is joined by the enchanting "Pohadka" ("Fairy Tale") by Janacek, the intense and impressive Second Sonata for cello and piano by Martinu, and by "A Blown-Away Leaf" by Leos Janacek, a beautiful miniature from the piano cycle "On an Over¬grown Path", in a transcription for cello and piano by the legendary Czech violoncellist Milos Sadlo. This warm, light and loving piece is also inspiration for the title of this CD: "Whispering Leaves".
Lucie Stepanova and Ksenia Kouzmenko have been performing as a duo for ten years, known for their warm and expressive playing. Their repertoire includes works from Beethoven to Escher and in their programmes, they like to look for new works, and unex¬pected connections.