Started by karlhenning, June 12, 2007, 04:21:16 AM
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Quote from: lukeottevanger on June 12, 2007, 04:15:29 AMQuote from: Larry Rinkel on June 12, 2007, 04:06:23 AMLuke, I hear Boulez is going to conduct this sometime soon. What is your reason for putting it at the top of the Janacek heap?It is the most advanced example of the 'integrative' aesthetic that he applied to all his music, but especially from about 1917 onwards. In other words, it is a stark, spare, stripped-down piece where every note speaks volumes. That was always Janacek's ideal; he achieves it more than any other composer I know - but From the House of the Dead goes furthest in that direction, and is also a very brave human document. Janacek's 'Violin Concerto' - left in a sketched state and later reconstructed - is closely linked to this opera thematically. For that reason - bizarrely, as it isn't a true 100% Janacek work - I think it is among the most essential pieces of orchestral music in his output. An incredibly beautiful piece, too.
Quote from: Larry Rinkel on June 12, 2007, 04:06:23 AMLuke, I hear Boulez is going to conduct this sometime soon. What is your reason for putting it at the top of the Janacek heap?
Quote from: LukeI haven't posted on this thread until now, and, as the forum's self-appointed Janacek geek/obsessive, this may seem peculiar. The simple fact is I haven't been able to until now as I have been away this weekend.The fact is, I was attending the funeral of my much-loved grandmother, and I mention this simply because her history, and her family, are among other things an important part of my closeness to Janacek. She was Czech, and her family was rooted in artistic and intellectual circles (Franz Werfel, Hanna Fuchs-Robettin of the Lyric Suite fame, VPO lead cellist Friedrich Buxbaum....). Amongst these was the uncle of her husband (my grandfather), the writer (and sometime composer) Max Brod, [in]famous as an all-important friend of Kafka's, and only slightly less so for his pivotal impact on Janacek's career. Through Max Brod, my grandfather met Janacek on one single occasion - my grandfather must can only have been in his teens. Knowledge of this meeting always makes me shiver.So, yes, there are family roots to time and place and even to Janacek personally; his musical style speaks directly to my heart; there is no other composer whose every note seems to me to be so right and so potent - but my adoration of Janacek is deeper rooted than that. When I was at university I wrote my final year's dissertation tracing the course of Janacek's aesthetic stances throughout his life, as revealed in his letters, his theoretical writings and of course his music. This course can be summed up in one or two words: Integration, and Truth. The latter was of prime importance to Janacek - truth to the characters of his operas, psychological truth and musical truth. He believed, IMO rightly, that all this could only follow from absolutely scrupulous truth to himself, and his music is marked by an ever greater Integration (his word, but an appropriate one) by means of which he strips his music of all inessentials and non sequiturs until all that is left, every note, absolutely drips with 'truth' (as he said of Wozzeck - 'every note drips with blood'). No other composer I know of pursued this course with the zeal Janacek did - he was quite to happy to accept certain sorts of 'imperfection', even to welcome them, in the pursuit of the goal of directness and honesty. As a composer of sorts myself, his example is the greatest possible inspiration to me, and I have been striving to follow it, in my own way, these last few years. Any success I have had in my pieces I attribute solely to the soul-searching this has entailed, and I suppose, indirectly at least, to the unique way in which Janacek made a virtue of what are traditionally seen as musical vices, by realising the deeper musical truths that lay beneath them. In brief, he discovered that if one means every note of what one says, understanding the implications from every angle, one can turn the worn-out ruts of musical habit and inclination into routes straight to the heart.Naturally, I love almost all his works, but FWIW the ones which I revere above all others are:Operas: the big five (Broucek, Makropulos, Katya, Vixen and House of the Dead, especially the last three)intimate Letters QuartetDiary of One Who Disappeared (these last two pieces are top of the list, in fact)In the MistsBezruc ChorusesThe Fiddler's Child
Quote from: lukeottevanger on June 12, 2007, 04:47:36 AMBezruc ChorusesThe Fiddler's Child
Quote from: edward on June 12, 2007, 05:05:57 AMRecording recommendations for these two, please?
Quote from: edward on June 12, 2007, 05:05:57 AMI don't have the kind of personal connection to Janacek that Luke does, but he's long been a favourite for much the same reasons--his approach to composition seems to be an intensely personal 'warts and all' one: I adore works like the Concertino and Capriccio where abrasive, unsympathetic material manages to pull itself into a coherent, defiant whole.Every note of his later works (from about the On the Overgrown Path and on) seems to me to resonate with something personal and human, and his unconventional structures seem perfectly built to do this without needless sentimentality.
Quote from: bhodges on June 12, 2007, 08:03:10 AMJust found this nice write-up with photos by Anne Ozorio, of From the House of the Dead with Boulez. Really makes me wish I could hear this... --Bruce
Quote from: karlhenning on June 12, 2007, 04:55:06 AMand I ought to do something about it.
Quote from: Guido on June 12, 2007, 09:08:30 AM. . . tomorrow I will be rid of exams and I will be free to explore!
Quote from: Todd on June 12, 2007, 08:36:35 AMI must slightly disagree with Luke: Jenufa is generally considered one of the big five rather Broucek. (Of course I could be mistaken.) But then, I must confess that I've not heard Broucek yet, so clearly I need to rectify that.
Quote from: lukeottevanger on June 12, 2007, 11:47:19 AM...and that we also see in Katya, an even finer work, I think.
Quote from: Novitiate on July 22, 2007, 06:13:36 AMI've had this on my shelf for a while now and am pretty keen to get right in. Unfortunately, this budget set doesn't come with libretti, but I figured it would be a good way to get started with Janáček. I'm trying to find a copy, whether on line or hard copy, but I seem to be out of luck. Does anyone know if they're available anywhere? Cheers.
Quote from: Drasko on July 23, 2007, 07:33:05 AMI thought of buying that set but backed out exactly because of the lack of libretti, it seems that libretti for 20 century operas are very rare online (some copyright thing I think).Here is Jenufa (without translation)http://www.karadar.com/Librettos/janacek_jenufa.htmlGood luck with the rest.
Quote from: Wendell_E on July 23, 2007, 10:33:15 AMHow good's your French? The French site http://odb-opera.com/ has French-only libretti for Jenufa, Kat'a Kabanova, From the House of the Dead, and The Cunning Little Vixen. You do have to register to get to the librettos, but it's free.
Quote from: Wendell_E on July 23, 2007, 10:33:15 AMI bought the Mackerras recordings in both their LP and CD versions. I gave away a lot of my LP duplicates to our Public Radio station for a used record sale, but I can check and see if I still have any of those LP librettos, if you're interested.
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