Vítezslava Kaprálová (1915–1940) is considered the most important woman composer of the twentieth-century Czech music. Her father was a composer (Václav Kaprál, who had studied with Janacek) and her mother a singer. She started composing when she was nine, and at fifteen she entered the Brno Conservatory where she studied composition and conducting.
She continued her musical education in Prague, and later studied with Bohuslav Martinu, Charles Munch, and Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1937–1940). In 1937 she conducted the Czech Philharmonic and a year later the BBC Orchestra in her composition Military Sinfonietta, to much critical acclaim. In 1946, in appreciation of her distinctive contribution to Czech Music, The Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts awarded Kaprálová membership in memoriam.
When she died only 25 years old of what could have been tuberculosis, she had already written many beautiful songs. But what a loss to the music world; one can only imagine what she could have written if she had had more time.
We were sent the score of the previously unrecorded song “Studeny vecer” by Karla Hartl of the Kaprálová Society. We are so happy they gave us the opportunity to discover Kaprálová’s beautiful music, and we warmly recommend their website:

Studený večer / Cold evening
Hélčne Lindqvist, soprano & Philipp Vogler, piano

Lyrics by Vítezslava Kaprálová

Studený večer
hle v tichu zní dávný pláč.
Vzpomínka bloudí po čele
jak tajuplný zaklínač.
Je večer hořkých slz,
bez slunce v čase tĕžce zkvetl,
mé slzy studená oblaka
prší na přání,
jež nikdo nepronesl.
V šeru vždy klíčí semena touhy,
však květů nezná tichý samotář.
Z krystalu ticha přede spánek
úzkostí lehce bledý.

Translation by Timothy Cheek

Cold evening,
there in the silence is the weeping from long ago.
memory wanders across my forehead
like an otherworldly conjurer.
It is an evening of bitter tears,
without the sun it blossomed in time uneasily,
cold gray clouds are raining my tears
on wishes which no one proclaimed.
In twilight, there always sprout seeds of desire;
however, he doesn’t knkow about blossoms,
he, the recluse.
From the crystal of silence spins a sleep,
lightly pale from anxiety.

(Amos Editio,
Catalogue number: AM  0067

In 2006, while browsing through Kaprálová Papers deposited in the Music History Department of the Moravian Museum in Brno, Karla Hartl came across an autograph of a previously unknown Kaprálová song, entitled Smutný večer (Sad evening). It is not only the music but also the text of the song, likely written by the composer herself, which makes this find so interesting. We have no doubt that this edition of Sad Evening, prepared for publication by Kaprálová scholar Timothy Cheek, Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Michigan, will make a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge about Kaprálová’s oeuvre, in which art song holds such a prominent place. The project was initiated and financially assisted by the Kapralova Society.