Reviews

… the violist Fialová is universally acclaimed for her expressive and lively interpretation,
brilliantly cultivated tone, and coherent general conception. Her flawless technique and
immense musicality did not take long to manifest themselves…
… Kristina Fialová demonstrated all distinguishing traits of her artistry, and abundantly so:
accuracy, precision, enthusiasm, rare ability to enliven every single tone and to gorgeously
shape each musical phrase…

The Ostravan, September 2017

… the Supraphon debut of Kristina Fialová has manifested not only her obvious technical
excellence, but also a great fidelity to the style of each work chosen. Her overall restraint is a
testimony to having mastered all the mysterious powers of her instrument…

The Musical Review, February 2017

… Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, unusually given at the very beginning, became a showpiece for
the violist Kristina Fialová, an extraordinary young soloist. Her richly reverberating tone and
an absolute balance and discipline of sound, without a slightest trace of hesitation, shiver, or
flurry, succeeded in effecting a properly dreamy atmosphere…

The City of Music, February 2016

… thanks to her beautifully balanced and perfectly calm work with the bow, the young violist
Kristina Fialová filled the Martinů Hall with a beautiful sound of her old Italian instrument…
The Opera Plus, May 2015

 

…the ’tendernessful’ (if such a word may be allowed to exist) beauty of the viola sound,
resourceful agogics and inexhaustible variations in both dynamics and tempo gave
Hindemith’s music a whole new dimension, most attractive to the ear…
On Tuesday, April 5, 2016 (in the Martinů Hall, Prague), the production of the Concert Art
Exhibition festival presented its audience with a program featuring the youthful violist
Kristina Fialová, accompanied by the flawless Igor Ardašev, in Bohuslav Martinů’s Sonata
for Viola and Piano. The rendering started with an ostensibly forceful stroke in the piano, the
power of which was immediately justified by the no less dynamically accentuated entry of the
viola. Evidently, it was the power and timbre of this instrument—employed in a broad range
of expression and force—which made Martinů’s composition such a marvelous musical
experience. For his own part, Ardašev was never stingy with dynamics, not even in the solo
passages: in the acoustic of the chamber concert hall of the Academy of Music, this made a
welcome and refreshing impression. Kristina Fialová captivated her audience with a colorful
richness in her thoroughly engaging timbre. In the lower registers, her instrument exuded a
charming seductiveness, while higher up it sounded quite manfully. Sustained directly,
without vibrato, it came across as stylistically trustworthy.
The interpretive assurance of the Fialová-Ardašev duo was undiminished also in the second
composition on the program, Paul Hindemith’s Fantasy. The ’tendernessful’ (if such a word
may be allowed to exist) beauty of the viola sound, resourceful agogics and inexhaustible
variations in both dynamics and tempo gave Hindemith’s music a whole new dimension, most
attractive to the ear. Kristina Fialová plays an instrument manufactured by the Milanese
violin- and viola-maker Carlo Antonio Testore in 1745.

 

 

The fiery temperament of Kristina Fialová blazed forth with the Ostrava Philharmonics
…the fiery temperament of Kristina Fialová was evident in the overall impression the concert
made on the audience, yet her interpretation was also thoroughly rational, sophisticated and
immensely attentive…
The Janáček Philharmonics concert, interestingly titled ‘The Fiery Temperament of Kristina
Fialová’, featured this first lady of the viola, who presented the audience in Ostrava with the
music of Miklós Rósza, partnered by the Janáček Philharmonics under the baton of the
Chinese conductor Tao Fan.
Does the name Miklós Rósza ring no bell? Nothing to worry about, but next time you watch
movies like Ben Hur, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, or The Thief of Bagdad on TV,
perhaps you will find the film scores quite intriguing. But let us not get ahead of ourselves. As
it happened, the concert program included music of yet another Hungarian, one who much
enjoyed his time at the nearby chateau Hradec nad Moravicí, where his host was the Duke
Lichnovský. Ferenc Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1 was quite an unusual experience: the
composition with its Faustian topic, which had attracted the often contradictory character of

this Hungarian hothead throughout his life, is nowadays a rare guest at concert stages. The
roughly ten-minute musical sketch attracted first and foremost by its unusual instrumentation
(evoking piano stylization), bold harmonic progressions and inventive fancy melodicism.
After that, the reigning queen of Czech viola came to the stage and performed an Ostrava
resurrection of one of the greatest cinematographic composers of all times, whose music is all
too often and quite unfairly neglected.
The Hungarian composer Miklós Rósza is rather one of a kind. The Czech and Slovak Film
Database server ranks him as the 180 th most popular author of film scores, but this stands in
need of some explanation. Rósza mostly produced scores for films adapting great literary
classics, hence his were hardly average movies of the time. His concert production never
became an object of general attention, although it was by no means marginal: Rósza’s two
concertos, one for the violin and the other for the viola, are both outstanding. The former was
admirably recorded by the legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz, while the latter was heard on
Thursday and Friday in Ostrava. It is a composition which appears on concert stages only
very infrequently.
Rósza’s concert and instrumental music is distinctive for its conspicuous dramatism (both
concertos exhibit similar complexion and stylization—while the one for the violin is perhaps
somewhat coarser in the sound, the one for viola comes across as rather more conciliatory).
The composer’s melodic invention clearly draws from the springs of Hungarian folk music,
although the inspiration by Béla Bartók, the dominant figure in Hungarian music of the
twentieth century, is also apparent. The viola concerto clearly manifests both. Particularly
characteristic is Rósza’s enwrapping of the melody by seconds, as well as the penetrative
consonances of the fourths and the harsh instrumentation. As regards the fervor mentioned in
the concert program, this might be a matter of some debate: the texture of the composition is
rather robust, its main story taking place in dark deep hues and on lower levels. Rather than
fervor, the audience could feel a sense of urgency, a rapid flow of musical ideas and their
ordering into series of impetuous contrasts. The viola concerto brings dramatically constricted
music and the viola part is constructed completely within such intentions.
The fiery temperament of Kristina Fialová was evident in the overall impression the concert
made on the audience, yet her interpretation was also thoroughly rational, sophisticated and
immensely attentive. She presented the viola concerto with precision, dynamic austerity and
few ostentatious gestures. In that she captured the musical construction of the concerto very
well indeed—I enjoyed her sober approach, supported also by the sure baton of the Chinese
conductor Tao Fan and dependably precise performance of the Janáček Philharmonics. Her
precious 18 th -century instrument with its extraordinary sound no doubt played an important
role as well. Fialová enjoyed a well-deserved response of the audience and cut a fine figure
with the encore of a vigorous piece by Paul Hindemith, presented in a very knowledgeable
manner.

 

 

 

Kristina Fialová’s refined taste matches up with her interpretive approach to the compositions
selected and gives her temperament, natural virtuosity and emotionally engaged tone of her
instrument an opportunity to shine…
The violist Kristina Fialová is gradually assuming a conspicuous place on the Czech musical
landscape. This year, her first appearance at the Prague Spring festival attracted much interest
and suggested a great deal about her experiences earned and successes celebrated abroad. Her

studies in Copenhagen, Denmark paid dividends in the form of her debut album, musically
directed by Tim Frederiksen, Professor at the Copenhagen Academy.
Unlike her maiden performance in May, when the works of contemporary composers were
prefaced by J. S. Bach’s Sonata, the recording presents exclusively compositions by authors
from the 20 th a 21 st century, some originally written for the viola, others later revised for the
instrument by their respective authors. Kristina Fialová’s refined taste matches up with her
interpretive approach to the compositions selected and gives her temperament, natural
virtuosity and emotionally engaged tone of her instrument an opportunity to shine. The artist
handles her instrument with consummate technical mastery and leaves her natural talent in no
doubt.
The album opens with a piece by Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995), a Hungarian composer, who
fled the war to Hollywood and his work there won much acclaim. Rózsa’s Introduction and
Allegro bestowed its title on the whole album and, while doing so, introduced Kristina Fialová
to the wide world of recording. Vladimír Godár (1956) studied at the Bratislava Conservatory
and nowadays composes both classical music and film scores. His work O Crux-A Meditation
was written in 1999, for violoncello, and subsequently (in 2006) revised for viola. Krzysztof
Penderecki (1933) is a name more frequently encountered in concert programs and Fialová’s
album features his Cadenza composed in 1984 (and performed at the violist’s Prague Spring
debut concert this year), as well as his Sarabande, revised for the viola in 2006.
Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) is also represented here, by his beautifully vaulted Sonata-
Song written in 1976, shortly before the composer’s death, as is Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971),
by his Elegy from 1944, the only piece for viola he ever composed. Of the creative output of
Sylvie Bodorová (1954), a popular contemporary Czech composer, her Dzha moreh has been
included, a composition written in 1990 and inspired by Gypsy music; the composer revised it
for Kristina Fialová, who presents the new version on her album as world-premiere recording.
Krzysztof Penderecki’s Sarabande (J. S. Bach in memoriam) comes as something of a bonus,
allowing the violist to interconnect her personal affinity to Penderecki with her admiration for
the incomparable musical heritage of J. S. Bach.
The dramaturgical arch thus ascends from the outstanding interpretation of Miklós Rózsa’s
composition, through the passionate, amazingly tuneful Sonata-Song of Aram Khachaturian,
Stravinsky’s Elegy, presented with a marvelous depth of feeling, and the wide scope of
emotions, tempers and melodiousness embodied in Sylvie Bodorová’s composition, all the
way to the work of Penderecki, a veritable apex of contemporary art of composition presented
here with completely engaged tunefulness in the main line as well as in the accompanying
tones. The gentle conclusion of the composition leaves the listener with questions posed by
the author and submitted masterfully by the interpreter, closing the album with a tender full stop.

"…the ’tendernessful’ (if such a word may be allowed to exist) beauty of the viola sound, resourceful agogics and inexhaustible variations in both dynamics and tempo gave Hindemith’s music a whole new dimension, most attractive to the ear…"

Hudební Rozhledy 6/2016

"…Kristina Fialová’s refined taste matches up with her interpretive approach to the compositions selected and gives her temperament, natural virtuosity and emotionally engaged tone of her instrument an opportunity to shine…"

Harmonie 10/2015

"…after that, the reigning queen of Czech viola came to the stage and performed an Ostrava resurrection of one of the greatest cinematographic composers of all times…"

Ostravan 3/2015