I have always been very naturally in love with the music of my native country, with all the great and interesting Czech composers (and non-Czech-speaking composers born in the area, such as Mahler) – and with both their well- and lesser-known works. Lots of people have told me how satisfying my readings of these scores are and, of course, it has always pleased me immensely. But to be very honest, I have never understood any need for strict nationalistic divisions. There is always a great personal affinity to this or that composer for everyone, and then there is also a language connection, especially in opera. But culture exceeds all geographical borders, and I have always found music of the surrounding countries as much ‘mine’ as that of the Czech lands. I am definitely entirely at home in the larger area of what is commonly thought of as ‘Central Europe’.
The Hungarian traditions, and especially the music of the composers on this album – Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly – are very dear to me. I have performed plenty of their works and was delighted at every one of those precious occasions, and this of course includes the music of this albums. Jakub Hrusa