Author Topic: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)  (Read 67273 times)

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karlhenning

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2008, 06:43:40 AM »
I want to resurrect this thread after listening to the second string quartet.

And I'll resurrect it, because the Škampa Quartet's recording just arrived.

pjme

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2008, 08:12:58 AM »
I had bad luck in Brno, a couple of years ago (when looking for my Moravian/Polish roots in Olomouc)  : the  Janáček Museum was closed....

Janáček's music however is very important to me : somehow, instinctively, he created a unique way of composing, a unique voice. This music remains "unusual",rythmically, soundwise (orchestration) -  it is uplifting and does touch the soul.

P.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2008, 12:23:49 PM »
I had bad luck in Brno, a couple of years ago (when looking for my Moravian/Polish roots in Olomouc)  : the  Janáček Museum was closed....

Janáček's music however is very important to me : somehow, instinctively, he created a unique way of composing, a unique voice. This music remains "unusual",rythmically, soundwise (orchestration) -  it is uplifting and does touch the soul.

P.

 It's high time I posted here.  I have been listening to a lot of Janacek lately- mostly his operas.  I am trying to come to terms with Janacek's "unique" style.  Here are some of my conclusions:

  1) Janacek is not always lyrical although I am not sure if his style can be called dissonant. But the music flows from "unusually" rhythmic passages to wonderful lyrical passages (Kat'a has moments like this that I just love!)
  2) I find his music most appealing when it is at it's darkest.  Jenufa and Kat'a are quite striking in this regard.
  3) The music has a distinct "ethnic" sound that I just can't put my finger on yet!  I have read that Janacek drew on Czech folk music in his music.  I have had to replay passages from Vec Makropulus and The Cunning Little Vixen that to my ears sounded foreign, the ethnic influence evident in the unique texture of sounds.  There is so much to explore in this arena- repeated listening is crucial.  Will report back as I explore further.

  marvin

 

Offline The Six

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #43 on: December 26, 2008, 06:13:40 PM »
This composer needs to get his due as one of the great composers for piano. The set of pieces called On an Overgrown Path is enough, but his Sonata belongs on any list of top sonatas.

Offline Guido

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2009, 04:05:17 PM »
Listened to the violin sonata today - this music is so tense, so vocal, so rife with gesture that it is almost like a dramatic vocal work - there must be a very precise programme going on here. Astonishing music, I really feel I am beginning to 'get' the Janacek aesthetic now, such economy of means, each note so potent. (- I know what you mean Luke!) Also Renée Flemming's gorgeous recording of Mamičko, mám těžkou hlavu and Kdo to je? Jenůfko, ty jsi ještě vzůru? with Yvona Skvarova from Jenufa - it's on her Homage: the age of the Diva CD. Again incredibly moving, even in the excerpted context and me not having a libretto immediately to hand.
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Valentino

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #45 on: April 11, 2009, 10:05:08 PM »
A very long time ago I was blown away by a film called The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and so I bought these two disks:



Treasures of my collection, both. Thanks for this thread. It is about time I explore further.
We audiophiles don't really like music, but we sure love the sound it makes

karlhenning

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #46 on: June 14, 2009, 07:09:03 AM »
I want to resurrect this thread after listening to the second string quartet.  I was amazed, but this quartet is so lovely.  It has been such a long time since I listened, after having barely acquainted myself with Janacek's music.  What struck me this time was an odd similarity.  There are some sections which sound so much like Michael Nyman's second string quartet, I am surprised I didn't hear it before.

Apparently this thread wants occasional resuscitation  0:)

Offline Opus106

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #47 on: June 14, 2009, 07:12:06 AM »
And just on time, too. FLS: Intimate Letters. :)  
« Last Edit: June 14, 2009, 08:43:25 AM by opus106 »
Regards,
Navneeth

Drasko

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #48 on: June 14, 2009, 07:16:50 AM »
Murakami & Janacek

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090610p2a00m0na009000c.html

Quote
A whopping 6,000 orders have been made for the "Sinfonietta" CD of Czech composer Leos Janacek in just one week after the release of "1Q84," according to Sony Music Japan International Inc. The CD contains the version conducted by George Szell and performed by the Cleveland Orchestra -- the same classical piece that the novel's protagonist listens to.

The record company says it had shipped the same number of copies of the CD over the past 20 years since the album's conversion into a CD in 1990 as following the release of "1Q84." The company is rushing to produce additional copies to hit store shelves by the middle of this week.

"Mr. Haruki Murakami's influence is just extraordinary. None of our CDs referred to in novels have ever sold this well," said Tetsushi Koyama, head of the company's creative department.

karlhenning

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #49 on: June 14, 2009, 07:18:34 AM »

Offline Opus106

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #50 on: June 14, 2009, 07:20:13 AM »
Hah! Good morning, mon ami!

Good Morning. :)
Regards,
Navneeth

Offline Nick

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #51 on: June 14, 2009, 08:32:00 AM »
It seemed as though he was more impressionistic in his piano music than in his operas.

Of the operas I know (Jenufu, Cunning Little Vixen, From the House of the Dead, Katya Kabanova, Vec Makropulos), it's Cunning Little Vixen that sounds most impressionistic, while most the piano music sounds that way. Does anyone know which pieces use the whole tone scale?

karlhenning

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #52 on: October 20, 2009, 11:22:42 AM »

Offline Luke

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2009, 06:00:37 AM »
It seemed as though he was more impressionistic in his piano music than in his operas.

Of the operas I know (Jenufu, Cunning Little Vixen, From the House of the Dead, Katya Kabanova, Vec Makropulos), it's Cunning Little Vixen that sounds most impressionistic, while most the piano music sounds that way. Does anyone know which pieces use the whole tone scale?

One can talk of the whole-tone scale in Janacek, perhaps, but it is used in such a functionally different way to that we normally understand of as 'whole-tone writing' that it isn't necessarily a useful label. Whole-tone writing in the context we usually imagine - in Debussy, above all - acts, to use a visual metaphor, as a blurring device. Symmetrical scales and augmented chords remove or at least make ambiguous the sense of a single tonal centre - Debussy's Voiles is the locus classicus, but of course we find it all over in his music. In Janacek the whole tone scale is hardly used in at all this way - Janacek is virtually always pretty rigidly 'in a key', so whole tone elements, such as they are, are very often used as expressive distortions of an implied diatonic line, rather than as a way of obscuring the key. Does this make any sense!!??  ;D

Examples abound - Janacek is chock-full of the kind of 'stretched' melodic lines and augmented chords that could technically be described as whole tone but which are used in his unique way. I'm thinking, for example, of the 'folksong' (or drunken ditty) that is sung by a passer-by as Katya is in the middle of her third act psychological turmoils. Perhaps he is just out of tune....but I've always thought that actually, or additonally, he's singing a fairly straightforwardly tonal song which we hear 'distorted' through the filter of Katya's disturbed mind - and it is the 'whole-tone' (augmented interval) distortion of the implied melody which efects this, imo. This is something we hear all the time in Janacek, in both vocal in instrumental music - it's one of the most recognisable featrues of his style, I think.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2009, 06:09:11 AM »
You and your apples, Bruce!  ;D

Don't you think apples should be paid more for their appearances?  ;D  ;D

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Offline Superhorn

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2009, 02:13:35 PM »
  I am also a great Janacek fan. If you enjoy his quirky operas, you simply have to try "The Excursions of Mr. Broucek" (pronounced Bro-check).
  This is unlike any opera you've ever heard , and as delightful as it is oddball. It's the weird story of Mr. Broucek, a landlord of an apartment in Prague, who loves to spend his free time drinking beer at a tavern and eating sausage.
  But when he falls asleep after overindulging there, he dreams in the first half that he's on the moon !
 And all the people he knows are bizarre lunar esthetes who find him terribly coarse, vulgar and philistine.
  They subsist on smelling flowers, and are horrified when he takes out a sausage and eats it.
  He has all kinds of crazy misadventures on the moon, but wakes up and the first half is over.
  In the second half, he's dead drunk again, and now dreams that he's gone back to Prague in the 15th century, during the height of the Hussite wars ! 
  The townsfolk, again,people he knows transformed, are highly suspicious of him, and he has difficulty understanding their archaic Czech. But he tells them that he's been living in Turkey for years, and they believe him ! 
  The emperor Sigismund of the hOly Roman Empire has sent an army to crush the Hussite rebels, and they attack the city. Mr. Broucek is terribly cowardly, and is about to be burned at the stake for his failure to fight bravely, but  he awakes and realizes it was all just a   dream ! The innkeeper finds him inside a beer barrell, and asks what's wrong. Broucek tells him that he helped to liberate Prague. But don't tell any one !
Janacek's music is wildly original  and the orchestration is amazingly colorful.
  I haven't heard the recent DG recording from a live performance in London with Jiri Belohlavek and the BBC symphony, but I have the superb Supraphon recording with the late Frantisek Jilek and the Czech Philharmonic.

 


 

Offline Guido

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #56 on: October 22, 2009, 03:47:11 AM »
The story for Makropulos is probably my favourite of any opera ever. The music is amongst my favourite too.
Geologist.

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Offline Guido

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #57 on: November 23, 2009, 07:31:02 AM »
I'm going to see Jenufa on Thursday - Glyndbourne on Tour in Milton Keynes of all places! I am very excited - a fabulous piece and this production has been very highly critically acclaimed.
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Guido

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #58 on: January 02, 2010, 01:46:35 PM »
Why is Osud (translated as Fate or Destiny) not mentioned that much? Is it as good as Jenufa?
Geologist.

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Offline Luke

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Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2010, 06:45:45 PM »
Short answer - I think it is, but it isn't such a direct-to-the-heart work, it's quite an experimental piece both in plot and musically, urban, modern and complex where Jenufa is rural and timeless. We see the same thing later with the experimental urban and modern sci-fi of Makropulos when compared to Katy'a's rural tale of tragic love, in some ways. But then, did Janacek ever write an opera which was 'normal'?