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VORÍŠEK, JAN HUGO (1791–1825)

Complete Works for Piano • 3

12 Rhapsodies

  • Biljana Urban, piano

Jan Hugo Voríšek, the ‘prodigy from Prague’, arrived in Vienna at the age of 22 and almost immediately earned the approval and admiration of Beethoven. His works foreshadow Schubert, Chopin and Schumann but he was so individualistic a composer that he resists easy categorisation either as a Classicist or a Romantic. This third and last volume of his complete piano works is devoted to the Twelve Rhapsodies, Op. 1, which extend the form of the scherzo in a lyrical vein reminiscent of Brahms’ Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79.

This recording was made on a modern instrument: Steinway, Model D


12 Rhapsodies, Op. 1 (1818) (01:15:13 )
No. 1 in C-Sharp Minor: Allegro (00:07:27)
No. 2 in E Major: Allegro (00:05:55)
No. 3 in A Minor: Allegro con brio (00:08:14)
No. 4 in F Major: Vivace (00:05:36)
No. 5 in F Minor: Allegro (00:04:19)
No. 6 in A-Flat Major: Allegretto ma agitato (00:07:01)
No. 7 in D Minor: Allegro furioso (00:05:41)
No. 8 in D Major: Veloce, ardito (00:04:28)
No. 9 in G Minor: Allegro appassionato (00:05:58)
No. 10 in C Major: Allegro risvegliato (00:06:22)
No. 11 in B Minor: Allegro brioso (00:07:41)
No. 12 in E-Flat Major: Allegro tempestoso (00:06:34)
Total Time: 01:15:16

The Artist(s)

Biljana Urban Biljana Urban comes from a family with a rich musical tradition. Her Czechborn grandfather, Jan Urban (1875–1952), was a composer and conductor. Biljana Urban received her Ph.D. in Music (Piano Performance) summa cum laude from the Academy of Music in Zagreb, and has an international career, appearing in such venues as the Fresno Concert Hall, California, and taking part in international music festivals. As a chamber musician she has performed with soloists of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Monnaie Orchestra, Brussels, and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Her recitals have been broadcast by radio and television companies in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia and the United States. Her three recordings of Jan Hugo Vorišek’s Complete Works for Piano met critical acclaim, with Vol. 1 included in Culture Catch’s Best new classical albums of 2014.

The Composer(s)

Like many before him, Jan Václav (Hugo) Voríšek, an exceptionally talented pianist and promising young composer, left his native Bohemia for Vienna in 1813 to further his musical ambitions. Under the patronage of Countess Rozina Kolowratz-Libstejnsky, owner of the Vamberk estate where he was born, Voríšek had already begun to establish his reputation in Prague as a pianist while studying philosophy, aesthetics, mathematics and later law at the Charles University.


“Each piece is a unique entity and refuses to be locked into a formal straitjacket rhythmically, harmonically, or melodically. If the melodic content does not melt you with its beauty, as Chopin often does, the ideas are arresting and unexpected enough to keep you attentive. Each rhapsody is a gem… We are thankful to Biljana Urban for giving us an alternative to Radoslav Kvapil’s three-disc survey.” – American Record Guide

“The music presented on this disc is a wonderful mix of the classical and early romantic styles prevalent in the day. …the real highlight of the set must be the F Major Rhapsody, which is full of youthful exuberance, with the main theme being employed in the second movement Scherzo of his more popular B flat minor Sonata Op. 20 of 1820. An enjoyable collection of pieces.” – MusicWeb International