The music presented here represents my first recordings after leaving what was then Czechoslovakia in 1968. The Mozart and Beethoven pieces are well known (although not overplayed), and hardly need my commentary on their value. Therefore, I would like to provide some personal reactions to these recordings from my (relatively) distant past. My first question was whether this particular project was simply a self-indulgent exercise in nostalgia. After careful listening, I have decided these are worth hearing again nearly 40 years after they were recorded. Human nature being what it is, however, I both agree and disagree with my earlier interpretations. Now, I might make some changes; but there are interpretive decisions I would defend today despite changed tastes and trends. In these days of fortepiano recordings and HIP ("historically informed performance"), the Mozart Rondo could well be seen as excessively romantic. And yet, I'm not sure I'd play it much differently. The unusually melancholic nature of this particular composition with it's chromaticism of ascending and descending half-tone steps seems to ask for a "warm" performance, in spite of the typically Mozartian keyboard setting. In the case of the Beethoven Sonata, one could remark on the acceleration into and the speed of the first movement's octave section. And yet, I'd do the same thing again. I find it difficult to remember why I made this particular interpretive decision, but the dilemma I was trying to solve hasn't changed to this day. Had I kept the tempo of these two octave sections the same as the rest of the movement it would have sounded as if a knight in full armor had descended from some imaginary mountain. On the other hand, choosing a brisker tempo for the entire movement would have seemed inconsistent with the Menuet marking. To tell the truth, Beethoven and I do not see eye to eye here, as has often been the case with his piano works. I'm sure that the fault is more with me than with Ludwig (that is certainly the more modest and safer explanation of the situation). With the Janácek cycle, On an overgrown path, we move to the first of two lesser-known pieces on this disc. It is certainly performed more often than the Hindemith, but it's not quite "mainstream" repertoire in the sense that the Mozart and Beethoven pieces are. The cycle was revised more than once and is published in one volume containing Book I and Book II. The 10 pieces from Book I are what I recorded here. In 1970, there were only three pieces included in Book II; since that time, two more manuscripts were posthumously discovered and now you will find five untitled pieces in Book II. Why did I not record both books? There is a simple answer: there was not enough available space on an LP. For the same reason, I had to omit some repeats where I felt it appropriate. In 1940, Hindemith wrote to Hugo Strecker, 'I think it is not necessary to reprint that awful Suite '1922'.... The piece is really not an honorable ornament in the music-history of our time, and it depresses an old man rather seriously to see that just the sins of his youth impress the people more than his better creations." Well, in this case, Mr. Hindemith is categorically wrong! In my opinion, this particular work is one of his better creations within his not-so-prolific keyboard compositions. To write a suite of early 20th century dance music in the manner of 17th and 18th century composers, was a stroke of genius. In comparison to his other piano works, such as the three Sonatas or Ludus Tonalis, this suite is more pianistically effective (March, Ragtime) and musically sincere (Nachtstück). The discerning listener will notice that the Hindemith was recorded at a different time, on a different instrument, and under different acoustical conditions than the three other performances. I'm pleased to have these performances available once more after their absence from the catalogue for many years. - Antonín Kubálek Cover reproduction: Renewal ©Joseph Drapell 2006 37'x24' acrylic on canvas) Used with the kind permission of the Museum of New New Painters, Toronto.