Geraldine Mucha is a fascinating figure. This Scottish composer was born in 1917, and as a teenager studied with Arnold Bax. Her works were published while she was still attending the Royal Academy of Music. In 1941 she met widowed Czech writer Jiří Mucha. The couple married, and after the war moved to Czechoslovakia.
Jiří Mucha was the son of Art Nouveau artist Alfonse Mucha. The couple’s efforts to preserve the artist’s heritage ran afoul of the Communist authorities. This political displeasure severely curtailed Geraldine Mucha’s musical career.
After the Velvet Revolution, her music returned to Czech concert halls and broadcast programs. She’s now considered one of the country’s most important composers of the 20th Century.
This recording brings Mucha’s chamber music to the rest of the world. She draws on both her Scottish heritage and her adopted Czech heritage. The blend is quite appealing.
Her two string quartets, written in 1941 and 1998 respectively, show how Mucha absorbed and transformed those influences. The first has its folk elements close to the surface. The second is a more abstract work (though tonal). Here Mucha’s motifs have nary a trace of folk music.
The release also includes a generous sampling of Mucha’s solo piano music, performed by Patricia Goodman. Goodman, an American artist living in Prague, has previously recorded Mucha’s piano concerto. She knows Mucha’s music well and delivers some satisfying performances.
Geraldine Mucha was a remarkable talent. This release shows just how remarkable.
Geraldine Mucha: Chamber Works
Stamic Quartet, Prague Wind Quintet,
Patricia Goodson piano, Vliém Veverka oboe, Jan Machat flute
Brilliant Classics 95463