GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: karlhenning on June 12, 2007, 03:21:16 AM

Title: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2007, 03:21:16 AM
This post made it clear that this thread has been wanted for a long time:


Luke, 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: BachQ on June 12, 2007, 03:25:05 AM
How about a bio?

Photos?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lethevich on June 12, 2007, 03:30:50 AM
On the subject of his operas (well, they were mentioned in the quote, anyway :P), can anyone recommend any DVDs? Well, with a composer like Janacek I suppose you must take what you can find, so perhaps recommend any to avoid...

I recently ordered this one, which is on back-order atm:

(http://www.new-video.de/co/makrcase.jpg)

Scary as hell cover, btw :-\
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on June 12, 2007, 03:47:36 AM
Whenever a new Janacek thread starts up - when the board moves somewhere new, or the old thread gets lost 40 pages pack - I start to worry! Only because I find it hard to re-articulate why he is such an important figure for me. I don't claim any 'greatest ever' status for him; I simply find him to be the musician who affects me the deepest. I have my reasons, but I've stated them so often on this board and previous incarnations over the years, I find it hard to do it in a new way.

So, for now, here's what I wrote the last time a thread on Janacek was started, on the previous GMG. It dates from March this year

Quote from: Luke
I 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 Quartet

Diary of One Who Disappeared  (these last two pieces are top of the list, in fact)

In the Mists

Bezruc Choruses

The Fiddler’s Child
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Choo Choo on June 12, 2007, 03:52:16 AM
Anyone within reach of Covent Garden and interested in Katya Kabanova should know that (as predicted by someone ;)) the ROH is now offering seats for the current production at cut-price, with Orchestra Stalls (normally £130) going for £65.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2007, 03:55:06 AM
I am grateful for your post, Luke, whatever your own reservations.  It reminds me (what I probably have not quite lost sight of completely) that the only Janáček works I know, are not even on your most revered works list, and I ought to do something about it.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: not edward on June 12, 2007, 04:05:57 AM
Bezruc Choruses

The Fiddler’s Child
Recording recommendations for these two, please?

I 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on June 12, 2007, 04:20:18 AM
Recording recommendations for these two, please?

As far as I know, the Bezruc choruses have only one recording, on Supraphon. It's pretty definitive; among other things the CD also includes the wild Tagore setting, The Wandering Madman (how bizarre and wonderful to think that these too [unforgivable typo for 'two' - but true, so stet. ;D] great men met!)

The Fiddler's Child has had more recordings - I only have one, another Supraphon disc (Jilek/Brno State SO) - again, Janacek's local orchestra breathes authenticity.

I should point out that my list was cut very short - works like the First String Quartet, the Violin Sonata, the Piano Sonata, On an Overgrown Path, Mladi, Concertino, Capriccio, Riklada, Pohadka, Osud, and, of course, the Glagolitic Mass and Jenufa all thoroughly deserve their place on it too. Even miniatures like Na Solani Cartak are, in their way, unmissable, perfect works. The only major Janacek piece that has never totally grabbed is The Eternal Gospel - but I'm not sure why, as it's pure Janacek from start to finish. I get the feeling - totally unsubstantiated - that he didn't feel quite such a personal stake in that one.

I 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.

Very nice description.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brewski on June 12, 2007, 07:03:10 AM
Just found this nice write-up with photos (http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2007/Jan-Jun07/janacek3105.htm) by Anne Ozorio, of From the House of the Dead with Boulez.  Really makes me wish I could hear this... :'(

--Bruce
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Wendell_E on June 12, 2007, 07:28:41 AM
Just found this nice write-up with photos (http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2007/Jan-Jun07/janacek3105.htm) by Anne Ozorio, of From the House of the Dead with Boulez.  Really makes me wish I could hear this... :'(

--Bruce

Well, that production will be coming to the Met in 2009-10, but with Salonen in the pit.

I've got the Glyndebourne DVDs of Makropoulos and Jenufa, and the Théâtre du Chatelet Cunning Little Vixen and they're among my favorites.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Todd on June 12, 2007, 07:36:35 AM
and I ought to do something about it.


Yes, yes you should.

I 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. 

The mere idea of Boulez conducting From the House of the Dead gets my blood racing.  As chance would have it, I relistened to Mackerras' recording this past weekend and was reminded anew of how powerful and spare the piece is.  Boulez may make it even better.  May this make it to DVD soon!  The Salonen, too!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on June 12, 2007, 08:08:30 AM
I only know Pohadka which took me a long time to like - I don't know why as it's absolutely gorgeous. It has as much colour as the Debussy Sonata, the same incredible abundance of beautiful little ideas and that same punchy compactness that makes the Debussy sonata such a unique little masterpiece. I recently heard the violin concerto on the radio which is an astonishing piece - as Luke says not 'original', but essential! Tomorrow I will be rid of exams and I will be free to explore!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2007, 09:29:27 AM
. . . tomorrow I will be rid of exams and I will be free to explore!

Good luck, Guido!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on June 12, 2007, 10:47:19 AM
I 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. 

Yes, I had something of a clash with TC over this issue on another thread; it's not that I don't adore Jenufa - I just think that, neatly enough, the last five each exemplify a particular facet of Janacek's thinking. The echt-Czech, comic side of his personality as expressed in Broucek is as important as the almost verismo-dramatist of rural tragedy that we see in Jenufa, and that we also see in Katya, an even finer work, I think. So, for my essential listing, for someone wanting to discover Janacek's different sides quickly, those last five have it all, IMO.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Todd on June 12, 2007, 11:52:47 AM
...and that we also see in Katya, an even finer work, I think.


Can't disagree with that.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Novi on July 22, 2007, 05:13:36 AM
(http://images.ciao.com/iuk/images/products/normal/224/Janacek_5_Operas_Sinfonietta_Taras_Bulba__6371224.jpg)

I'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.

Incidentally, I'm listening to The Cunning Little Vixen - what a wicked piece. It's quite trippy the way the music evokes moods and characters.

I feel I'm not doing justice to it without the libretto though, although the music does a great job 'telling the story' :).
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Drasko on July 23, 2007, 06:33:05 AM
(http://images.ciao.com/iuk/images/products/normal/224/Janacek_5_Operas_Sinfonietta_Taras_Bulba__6371224.jpg)

I'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.

I 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.html (http://www.karadar.com/Librettos/janacek_jenufa.html)

Good luck with the rest.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Novi on July 23, 2007, 06:58:42 AM
I 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.html (http://www.karadar.com/Librettos/janacek_jenufa.html)

Good luck with the rest.

Bummer :'(.

The only one I can find is the libretto for Vixen with full translation and pronunciation (handy!) for 30 quid on amazon. I'm thinking now that it might've been a good idea to get them separately. The budget box probably won't be too 'budget' now :-\.

Thanks for Jenufa anyway. I wonder what babelfish will make of it ...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Wendell_E on July 23, 2007, 09:33:15 AM
How good's your French?  The French site http://odb-opera.com/ (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.

I 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Novi on July 23, 2007, 10:04:01 AM
How good's your French?  The French site http://odb-opera.com/ (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.

Better than my Czech ;D. Thanks, I'll have a look.

I 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.

Oh wow, that would be so cool!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Catison on November 06, 2007, 11:47:59 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.

I'll try to post some samples later, but in the mean time, is there anyone else who can hear the same thing?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brewski on November 06, 2007, 11:58:00 AM
I also love the Janacek (and like you, haven't heard it in awhile) but alas, don't know the Nyman at all.  There appear to be at least two recordings, by the Lyric and Balanescu quartets.  Is the one you like one of these? 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Catison on November 06, 2007, 12:31:27 PM
I also love the Janacek (and like you, haven't heard it in awhile) but alas, don't know the Nyman at all.  There appear to be at least two recordings, by the Lyric and Balanescu quartets.  Is the one you like one of these? 

--Bruce

I have Balanescu.  Balanescu is Nyman's right hand violin player.

Perhaps it is not so much this string quartet though, as it is Janacek having some Nyman moments.  Like I said, I'll have to get some samples.  There are too many pieces flying around my head.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Drasko on November 06, 2007, 12:40:45 PM
Boulez conducting From The House of Dead can be streamed from BBC 3 radio site for another day or two

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/afternoonon3/pip/bbha9/ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/afternoonon3/pip/bbha9/)

Click on Radio Player top right and then chose Thursday from Afternoon on 3

Opera starts around 2 hours 11 minutes into the show
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on November 07, 2007, 09:43:25 AM
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

I think that's taking it a bit far, but i'll concede he is indeed very good in that respect.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on November 07, 2007, 11:28:39 AM
I just listened to The Cunning Little Vixen last weekend for the first time. WOW! Love it. I got the Bohumil Gregor/Supraphon recording.

BTW, for the Boulez fans here, there is an outstanding Glagolitic Mass with Boulez conducting the CSO on a "Tribute to Boulez" 2CD set available only from the CSO here (http://www.cso.org/main.taf?p=4,1,3,7,2&productid=15422).
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Thom on December 08, 2007, 08:28:31 AM
(http://images.ciao.com/ise/images/products/normal/582/product-319582.jpg)

I haven't heard that much by Janacek but this disc is a favourite of mine. Especially the On an Overgrown Path Suite (on this cd for string orchestra, originally it was written for solo piano I think) is a wonderful piece. Very dear to me indeed.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Harry on December 08, 2007, 08:41:42 AM
(http://images.ciao.com/ise/images/products/normal/582/product-319582.jpg)

I haven't heard that much by Janacek but this disc is a favourite of mine. Especially the On an Overgrown Path Suite (on this cd for string orchestra, originally it was written for solo piano I think) is a wonderful piece. Very dear to me indeed.

Yes Thom, that is a very fine recording. Bought that in a sale, and had no high hopes somehow, but boy was I in for a surprise. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on December 08, 2007, 04:21:29 PM
(http://images.ciao.com/ise/images/products/normal/582/product-319582.jpg)
Especially the On an Overgrown Path Suite (on this cd for string orchestra, originally it was written for solo piano I think) is a wonderful piece. Very dear to me indeed.

The Overgrown Path pieces - or at least the five at the core of them - were in fact originally written for harmonium. You can hear them in that form, played on Janacek's own harmonium in Hukvaldy, on the Supraphon Unknown Janacek disc, which includes some stunning rarities, operatic 'deleted scenes', Janacek's last fragment recorded on both harmonium and piano (by Firkusny) etc.! It should be emphasized that the string orchestra versions on the Chandos disc are arrangements, not original Janacek (though tastefully done by Jarmil Burghauser). Though the harmonium originals may be a little clunky for some tastes, their homespun intimacy fits this most intimate and confessional of cycles perfectly IMO; also, when on hears things like the Virgin of Frydek (with its passionate organ-like outburst in the middle) in their original form, they make even more sense.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: not edward on December 08, 2007, 05:45:20 PM
The Overgrown Path pieces - or at least the five at the core of them - were in fact originally written for harmonium. You can hear them in that form, played on Janacek's own harmonium in Hukvaldy, on the Supraphon Unknown Janacek disc, which includes some stunning rarities, operatic 'deleted scenes', Janacek's last fragment recorded on both harmonium and piano (by Firkusny) etc.! It should be emphasized that the string orchestra versions on the Chandos disc are arrangements, not original Janacek (though tastefully done by Jarmil Burghauser). Though the harmonium originals may be a little clunky for some tastes, their homespun intimacy fits this most intimate and confessional of cycles perfectly IMO; also, when on hears things like the Virgin of Frydek (with its passionate organ-like outburst in the middle) in their original form, they make even more sense.
Wow, that looks like an interesting disc: I've hardly heard any of these pieces in the forms mentioned. Another thing to add to my absurdly long wishlist. :P
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Thom on December 09, 2007, 07:02:52 AM
The Overgrown Path pieces - or at least the five at the core of them - were in fact originally written for harmonium. You can hear them in that form, played on Janacek's own harmonium in Hukvaldy, on the Supraphon Unknown Janacek disc, which includes some stunning rarities, operatic 'deleted scenes', Janacek's last fragment recorded on both harmonium and piano (by Firkusny) etc.! It should be emphasized that the string orchestra versions on the Chandos disc are arrangements, not original Janacek (though tastefully done by Jarmil Burghauser). Though the harmonium originals may be a little clunky for some tastes, their homespun intimacy fits this most intimate and confessional of cycles perfectly IMO; also, when on hears things like the Virgin of Frydek (with its passionate organ-like outburst in the middle) in their original form, they make even more sense.

Thank you. I didn't know that about the harmonium bit. Doesn't change the way i feel about the cd I mentioned and the version for String Orchestra but your explanation gives it certainly a new perspective which I always like when listening to music.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on December 10, 2007, 11:37:50 AM
Thanks in return - I never need prompting to go back to Janacek who, as I've probably indicated enough, is my favourite composer and was at least at one point (my university days) my 'specialist subject' of choice. But this little discussion made me play through On an Overgrown Path again today, and I was bowled over anew. I've always felt that In the Mists is Janacek's finest piano work; perhaps it is. But even as one who has extolled the exquisite intimacy of Overgrown Path many times before on this site (a tone I aimed to acheive, in a personal way, in my own sequence of simple pieces for children, though I obviously fell far short of the mark), it has never hit me with quite the force it did today. Perhaps I was just playing particularly well today  ;D (I've never been moved by my own playing much before, so there might be something to that).

FWIW, I have my own little theory about the tonal scheme of Overgrown Path, taking into account the biographical background to the pieces, over which the shadow of the death of Janacek's much-loved daughter Olga hangs. The first pieces all hang around his favourite key of D flat - key of love, intimacy and security; even those in C sharp minor can't help gravitating to the major in Schubertian fashion; and Come With Us, which is in D, only finds true rootedness in its central D flat section (there's more to say about that piece, but perhaps not here). Then the music shifts violently away to E flat (Words Fail), climaxing in that stilled moment of pure C major, Good Night, which is like a last precious farewell to Olga, perhaps, and then its terrifying consequent piece, Unutterable Anguish, in E minor, which is hung around a repeated oscillation of a third just as is Good Night, but to totally different effect. The last pieces offer interesting ways to tie together the D flat pieces to the E minor one particularly - In Tears, which is all in second inversions of G major and D flat major, is like a transfiguration of Come With Us, and that amazing piece The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away, which makes the Olga theme absolutely explicit, alternates E major and C sharp minor. This seems to me sometihng like a tripartite scheme and it helps to explain the unity of the cycle, and the feeling of pyschological development. I doubt that Janacek planned it particularly - he wasn't that sort of composer - but he surely simply allowed his deeper tonal urges to emerge unmediated, in his standard fashion...

Anyway, that was just to share my theory. What hit me today particularly, though pieces like A Blown-Away Leaf and They Chattered Like Swallows were their usual heart-rending experience, was The Virgin of Frydek, a little piece portraying the eponymous village's religious procession in a standard form (c.w. Berlioz etc.) - music gets louder as it approaches, and quiter as it recedes. But I don't think I've ever had such a truly religious experience from a piece of music - sounds hyperbolic, but I think this is true. There is, again, this incredible, slightly unsettling concentration on the second inversion as the procession approaches - I don't think anyone understood the subtle psychological power of this chord like Janacek - and then as it grows still nearer an anguished move to D flat minor. What startled me today more than ever was the 'organ' explosion in the centre of the piece (though I've always found this moment almost overwhelming), which surely represents the moment at which one comes face-to-face with the 'mystery'. Wordless, but extraordinarily powerful*. The procession recedes, but the music is ever-so-subtly different - D flat major now. Janacek doesn't ram this down your throat; because he's used 6/4s instead of 5/3s in the opening music, the contrast isn't crudely blatant, but as a whole the piece was, as I said, about as close to a truly religious experience as music has ever taken me. The fact that piece is a simple, humble, explicitly rural work originally written for Janacek's rumbling old harmonium does nothing but heighten this feeling for me - music doesn't need to be the B minor Mass to be transcendent.

*Actually, this piece exists in another form, available on ASV, which is not wordless - a setting of the Zdravas Maria for tenor, organ, choir, and viola solo - an extremely fervent piece
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lady Chatterley on March 19, 2008, 01:58:14 PM
I can not find a recording of Janacek's Intimate Letters is this about the 700 love letters he wrote to Kamila Stosslova? I found a biography on Leos life by Jaroslav Vogel Has anyone read this?Apparently Kamila kept all his letters but he destroyed hers.He was married and so was she,but they were wildly in unrequited love.
Was everything he wrote after meeting her written for her?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on March 19, 2008, 02:08:35 PM
Essentially, yes it was. You can read those letters in a beautifully, sensitively edited edition by John Tyrell.

You can find Intimate Letters, don't worry - it is the subtitle (Kamila very much in mind) of the second string quartet, one of Janacek's last and most famous works. And, just possibly, my single favourite piece of music. (Big statement, I know!)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on March 19, 2008, 02:14:43 PM
BTW, the love and infatuation was on Janacek's side. Kamila's feelings were less ardent, in any case!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on March 19, 2008, 02:19:57 PM
The book Muriel might like (and only £3 at amazon uk at the moment!). Janacek's prose style is extraordinary:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41WZWAYY2KL._AA240_.jpg)

The second quartet is so radiant with life and love and complete spontaneous honesty and lack of calculation - there is very little else like it, except perhaps Janacek's own Diary of One Who Vanished - the most extraordinary account of adolescent love, written by an old man.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lady Chatterley on March 19, 2008, 02:47:53 PM
BTW, the love and infatuation was on Janacek's side. Kamila's feelings were less ardent, in any case!

 She was 38 years younger,he must have seemed like a grandfather to her.I suppose she must have been flattered by his declarations ,or else why wound she have replied,kept the letters and then been at his side when he died?
 I did find the letters and the String Quartets,it helps when one spells the composes name correctly.
 I'll read the Vogel and get back to you,Leos was quite naughty with the gals ,his poor long suffering wife must have anguished with every new singer that walked through the stage door.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on March 19, 2008, 03:01:18 PM
She was 38 years younger,he must have seemed like a grandfather to her.I suppose she must have been flattered by his declarations ,or else why wound she have replied,kept the letters and then been at his side when he died?

Yes, she was flattered. Also, of course, he was a famous man! Janacek literature tends to paint her as quite a shallow figure; there is the implication that Janacek was 'projecting' somewhat and seeing sides to her that may not have been there. For instance, she had a fairly dark complexion which Janacek may have connected somewhere with the idea of the exotic, exciting 'gypsy girl' (c.f the Zefka in the Diary). Of course Janacek's death is intimately connected to her - she was visiting him in Hukvaldy with her son, who went missing somewhere in the countryside. Janacek took ill from his efforts searching for the boy and died soon after.

I did find the letters and the String Quartets,it helps when one spells the composes name correctly.
 I'll read the Vogel and get back to you,Leos was quite naughty with the gals ,his poor long suffering wife must have anguished with every new singer that walked through the stage door.

You can read her memoirs too - also edited by Tyrell, the foremost non-Czech Janacek specialist. They don't paint Janacek in the best of lights, but one must remember that she was trying to give her side of the story and there is quite a bias in her account. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. You can read Tyrell's conclusion on the matter here (http://www.czech-music.net/archiv/CM%202-05/CM_2-05_tyrrell.pdf) - end of page 2 to page 3 is the relevant bit.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Christo on March 20, 2008, 12:54:47 AM
Quote from: Luke
I 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 Quartet
Diary of One Who Disappeared  (these last two pieces are top of the list, in fact)
In the Mists
Bezruc Choruses
The Fiddler’s Child

Great exposé Luke, read with admiration. And one that really urges me to dive into my shelves again for the 'Unknown Janáček' series and other Supraphon rarities that I found mostly in Brno, on the occasion of a personal Janáček pilgrimage, made a decade ago. (Actually, you're the first to name The Fiddler's Child as a favourite; I never paid much attention to it, but now I will!)

Btw, I remember I also went to Brno to find a copy of the (more or less locally distributed, if I remember well) recordings of his Moravian and Slovak folk music phonograph recordings 1909-1912, combined with a well documented book (booklet). Did you ever pay attention to that rather Bartók-like side of his career?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: lukeottevanger on March 21, 2008, 05:34:17 AM
Btw, I remember I also went to Brno to find a copy of the (more or less locally distributed, if I remember well) recordings of his Moravian and Slovak folk music phonograph recordings 1909-1912, combined with a well documented book (booklet). Did you ever pay attention to that rather Bartók-like side of his career?

I remember reading about that recording when it was issued - 1998 or 9, IIRC - and I intended to try to get hold of a copy, but I never did. I paid attention to that side of his career in that it must be mentioned in any description of his life, but little more than that, I'm afraid. It's an area I look forward to exploring. No doubt a composer of Janacek's mental bent, with its peculiar mix of 'science' and intuition, would have had interesting reactions to the experience, ones subtly different from Bartok's, I expect.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: pjme 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: marvinbrown 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

 
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: The Six 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Valentino 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:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412K0F4EB4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/5901/Janacek.jpg)

Treasures of my collection, both. Thanks for this thread. It is about time I explore further.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning 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:)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on June 14, 2009, 07:12:06 AM
And just on time, too. FLS: Intimate Letters. :)  
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Drasko 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on June 14, 2009, 07:18:34 AM
FLS

Hah! Good morning, mon ami!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on June 14, 2009, 07:20:13 AM
Hah! Good morning, mon ami!

Good Morning. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Nick 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?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on October 20, 2009, 11:22:42 AM
You and your apples, Bruce! (http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2009/Jul-Dec09/talea2709.htm)  ;D
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brewski on October 21, 2009, 06:09:11 AM
You and your apples, Bruce! (http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2009/Jul-Dec09/talea2709.htm)  ;D

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

--Bruce
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Superhorn 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.

 


 
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido 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?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke 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'?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on January 03, 2010, 03:01:15 AM
Thanks Luke. Interesting - hadn't thought of it like that. And you're right of course - there are no 'normal' operas in his output - the alchemical sci-fi, the timetraveler/moonlanding, the animal parable, the appropriately plotless prison scene etc. etc. Amazing!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: UB on January 27, 2010, 03:43:58 AM
From an article earlier this month in the NYT -

"Mr. Andsnes, now in a black sweater, introduced the first work, “In the Mists,” a four-movement suite by Janacek. Trying to explain why he has loved Janacek’s piano music since he was a teenager, Mr. Andsnes said that he was entranced by the “sweet and sour harmonies” and the “speaking qualities”: that is, the way the music “sounds like it is speaking words to you.” The audience listened raptly to this elusive, quirky music, with its hints of Slavic folk tunes."

So much of Janáček's music seems to speak to people which is why his music continues to be played and enjoyed today. BTW the recital took place in an Apple Store!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Sid on July 20, 2010, 08:55:50 PM
I don't know that many Czech composers, but Janacek is my favourite of the lot. I have a number of his works on cd, and have also heard many on radio. I look forward to seeing his 1st string quartet live later on in the year. That will be great.

Much of his music is connected to memory and displays his interest in the rhythms and intonations of the Czech language. Some of his works also commemorate national events, especially after the founding of an independent Czechoslovakia, after WW1. His friendship with Kamila also started during this time (roughly), and she inspired so many great works from him, and so late in life. His earlier works sound nowhere near as characteristic as these works.

My journey with Janacek started when I borrowed a cd of his 2 string quartets with the Lindsays from the local library. That was just over 10 years ago. More recently, I got (back) into collecting, I got the string quartets (played totally differently by the ABQ) and some of his orchestral works. I really like Taras Bulba with it's gory story, odd rhythms and wildly unexpected contrasts. It's difficult to categorise this work, is it a symphony, a concerto for orchestra or a symphonic poem? It doesn't matter, but his music is often like that, it defies convention. Another work that I hear often is Kubelik's classic interpretation of the Glagolitic Mass. It's truly epic and monumental, but doesn't lack intimacy and warmth. My knowledge of the solo piano repertoire is not comprehensive, but I really like Firkusny's interpretations of Janacek's remarkable piano works. Many of these works were written with Firkusny in mind, who was his pupil.

Sometime down the track I want to get into his operas. I've only heard Peter Breiner's suite arrangements on Naxos, which are pretty good, but I want to hear the "real" thing. Opera, however, is not my favourite genre, though I am slowly developing an interest in C20th works in the genre.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on July 20, 2010, 09:10:23 PM
My knowledge of the solo piano repertoire is not comprehensive, but I really like Firkusny's interpretations of Janacek's remarkable piano works. Many of these works were written with Firkusny in mind, who was his pupil.

No, they weren't - Janacek's last and greatest major piano work, In the Mists, was written when Firkusny was 5, if I've remembered my dates correctly!  :)

[EDIT - I remembered them wrong, I was thinking of another piece - in fact, they were written before Firkusny had had his first birthday]
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on July 21, 2010, 12:56:38 PM
I don't know that many Czech composers, but Janacek is my favourite of the lot. I have a number of his works on cd, and have also heard many on radio. I look forward to seeing his 1st string quartet live later on in the year. That will be great.

Much of his music is connected to memory and displays his interest in the rhythms and intonations of the Czech language. Some of his works also commemorate national events, especially after the founding of an independent Czechoslovakia, after WW1. His friendship with Kamila also started during this time (roughly), and she inspired so many great works from him, and so late in life. His earlier works sound nowhere near as characteristic as these works.

My journey with Janacek started when I borrowed a cd of his 2 string quartets with the Lindsays from the local library. That was just over 10 years ago. More recently, I got (back) into collecting, I got the string quartets (played totally differently by the ABQ) and some of his orchestral works. I really like Taras Bulba with it's gory story, odd rhythms and wildly unexpected contrasts. It's difficult to categorise this work, is it a symphony, a concerto for orchestra or a symphonic poem? It doesn't matter, but his music is often like that, it defies convention. Another work that I hear often is Kubelik's classic interpretation of the Glagolitic Mass. It's truly epic and monumental, but doesn't lack intimacy and warmth. My knowledge of the solo piano repertoire is not comprehensive, but I really like Firkusny's interpretations of Janacek's remarkable piano works. Many of these works were written with Firkusny in mind, who was his pupil.

Sometime down the track I want to get into his operas. I've only heard Peter Breiner's suite arrangements on Naxos, which are pretty good, but I want to hear the "real" thing. Opera, however, is not my favourite genre, though I am slowly developing an interest in C20th works in the genre.

The operas are superlative and after Janacek are so unlike "normal" operas that you may well not have an issue with them. As Luke is always keen to say (because it's true), Janacek stripped ever more away and pared down his music ever more towards the end of his life, the works becoming stronger and ever more moving as a result - His last opera From the House of the Dead and the string quartet no.2 are his greatest works - really at the top end of achievement in western art. All the operas are great though - there's a really great Mackerras cycle which is inexpensive too - may be a good place to start.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on September 13, 2010, 02:57:46 PM
Just listened to Broucek again. Last time I heard it I was not that impressed, so I thought I'd better listen again.

I still think that the first part (excursion to the moon) is rather weak, despite passing glories, but the second part (excursion to the 15th century) makes far more sense, dramatically and musically, seems much more a whole. It's actually rather magnificent, so many wonderful passages, the orchestration and harmonies often surprising and inventive and always just right. And there's pages of real beauty and lushness throughout... I'm not sure there's as much to love here as in the preceding and succeeding operas, but its another interesting bridge along with Osud (which I really like) between Jenufa, and the "mature" operas.

I'm not sure what this opera is meant to tell us... is there a moral?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on September 13, 2010, 03:07:13 PM
Often, I get the exact same feeling with old Leoš as I do with Stravinsky - there are so many wonderful ideas, I just wish he'd linger a little longer on one and fully explore its potential. But just as you're wondering is awe at some detail or timbre in the orchestra, he's moved on to the next thing...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 05, 2010, 07:08:31 AM
So if I was interested in getting a bit of a grip on Janacek, would this be an OK starter?

(http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa159/Gurn_Blanston/JanacekGlagTarasAncerlcoversmall.jpg)

I have his violin sonatas for years and string quartets too, and I recently got the Suite for String Orchestra coupled with Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. So I have a little bit, but all small (I mean in number of performers) works. I wanted something big so I got this. A good move, you think?  Hope so.

BTW, WTF is "Glagolitic"??

8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: not edward on November 05, 2010, 07:13:41 AM
So if I was interested in getting a bit of a grip on Janacek, would this be an OK starter?

(http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa159/Gurn_Blanston/JanacekGlagTarasAncerlcoversmall.jpg)

I have his violin sonatas for years and string quartets too, and I recently got the Suite for String Orchestra coupled with Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. So I have a little bit, but all small (I mean in number of performers) works. I wanted something big so I got this. A good move, you think?  Hope so.

BTW, WTF is "Glagolitic"??

8)
Yes, yes and yes. The Glagolitic Mass is a staggering piece, and Ancerl's recording of it is one of the most electrifying recordings I know of anything.

I believe the title refers to the Mass being based on the old Slavonic liturgy.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 05, 2010, 07:21:43 AM
Yes, yes and yes. The Glagolitic Mass is a staggering piece, and Ancerl's recording of it is one of the most electrifying recordings I know of anything.

I believe the title refers to the Mass being based on the old Slavonic liturgy.

Ah, thanks, edward. I was hoping this would be the thing to jumpstart me in the right direction.

Ah, Slavonic. say no more!  :)

8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on November 05, 2010, 07:36:35 AM
I believe the title refers to the Mass being based on the old Slavonic liturgy.

Glagolitic is a bit of a misnomer.  It refers to an archaic alphabet that, like Cyrillic, was based on the Greek alphabet and was used in various parts of eastern Europe during the middle ages.   
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 05, 2010, 09:07:50 AM
Glagolitic is a bit of a misnomer. 

True. But I have a hunch that Janacek was indulging in a bit of cultural nationalism here. The Glagolitic alphabet was probably created in Great Moravia (Velká Morava), the earliest Slavic state attested in history. Janacek himself was a proud Moravian.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on November 05, 2010, 09:13:46 AM
True. But I have a hunch that Janacek was indulging in a bit of cultural nationalism here. The Glagolitic alphabet was probably created in Great Moravia (Velká Morava), the earliest Slavic state attested in history. Janacek himself was a proud Moravian.

True enough, but you wouldn't call the liturgy of the Russian Orthodox church a Cyrillic mass, would you?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 05, 2010, 09:25:07 AM
True enough, but you wouldn't call the liturgy of the Russian Orthodox church a Cyrillic mass, would you?

You wouldn't. Which is precisely why Janacek's title is interesting - the Glagolitic-Moravian connection.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on November 05, 2010, 09:48:02 AM
Ah, thanks, edward. I was hoping this would be the thing to jumpstart me in the right direction.

That's a glorious disc, Gurn. I listen to the Glagolitic Mass much like you listen to Beethoven's Ninth, except every three weeks, and only ever Ancerl. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 05, 2010, 10:12:01 AM
That's a glorious disc, Gurn. I listen to the Glagolitic Mass much like you listen to Beethoven's Ninth, except every three weeks, and only ever Ancerl. :)

Well, thanks for the encouragement, Brian. I know I'll like Taras Bulba, it is my sort of thing. The Mass will have to catch me just right, no matter how well performed. :)

8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on November 05, 2010, 10:14:14 AM
Well, thanks for the encouragement, Brian. I know I'll like Taras Bulba, it is my sort of thing. The Mass will have to catch me just right, no matter how well performed. :)

8)

Or you can get Mackerras' HIP version (with cuts and modifications applied to make it "performable" reversed).  I like Chailly/VPO.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 05, 2010, 10:17:43 AM
Or you can get Mackerras' HIP version (with cuts and modifications applied to make it "performable" reversed).  I like Chailly/VPO.

Nah, by all accounts, if I can't like Ancerl I might as well just give up. :)

8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Drasko on December 01, 2010, 02:10:28 AM
If anyone is interested here's premiere recording of Janacek's 2nd Quartet, 1943 Černý Quartet (aka Prague Quartet). Prewar/wartime recordings by Czech quartets tend to be rarely available.

http://shellackophile.blogspot.com/2010/10/janaceks-confidential-letters_25.html
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on December 01, 2010, 10:26:14 AM
'If anyone's interested' - I like it. Why, it's only what is possibly my single favourite piece of music! Many thanks for the link
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: just Jeff on December 03, 2010, 01:58:29 AM
This "Composer Portrait" 3LP box set has the core Karel Ancerl conducted pieces in lovely sound quality, pressed in Germany from what sounds like original tapes.  It is my go-to set when I am in the mood for Janacek.

(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/JANACEKBOXFT.jpg)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on December 04, 2010, 07:59:49 AM
Right now I'm sitting at a desk in the British Library. At the desk immediately in front of me is a man with a huge stack of Janacek books, including Jenufa (score?) and Svet Janackovych Oper, which is too small to be scores. I think there's a book about Mussorgsky's operas too. Cool stuff  8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on December 04, 2010, 08:02:07 AM
Right now I'm sitting at a desk in the British Library. At the desk immediately in front of me is a man with a huge stack of Janacek books, including Jenufa (score?) and Svet Janackovych Oper, which is too small to be scores. I think there's a book about Mussorgsky's operas too. Cool stuff  8)

Luke is from the UK, isn't he? :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on December 04, 2010, 08:03:08 AM
Luke is from the UK, isn't he? :)

Yes, boning up for a post about Janacek, no doubt.   8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on December 04, 2010, 08:22:48 AM
He just got Janacek: Years of a Life, Volume I, and literally flipped through the pages from start to end - literally flipped the pages - without reading anything. Luke, I am so disappointed in your scholarship!  :o

*Luke's picture on Facebook doesn't have a grey beard, so we might not have a match. :(
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on December 04, 2010, 08:24:36 AM
He just got Janacek: Years of a Life, Volume I, and literally flipped through the pages from start to end - literally flipped the pages - without reading anything. Luke, I am so disappointed in your scholarship!  :o

*Luke's picture on Facebook doesn't have a grey beard, so we might not have a match. :(

Is he muttering, "what, no pictures"?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on December 04, 2010, 08:25:36 AM
. . . Svet Janackovych Oper . . . .

Must mean something like The World of Janáček's Operas.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on December 04, 2010, 08:32:35 AM
He just got Janacek: Years of a Life, Volume I, and literally flipped through the pages from start to end - literally flipped the pages - without reading anything. Luke, I am so disappointed in your scholarship!  :o

*Luke's picture on Facebook doesn't have a grey beard, so we might not have a match. :(

LOL! Actually, I do have a beard, as of the summer - that facebook pic is years old, to be honest, though I never go there nowadays, so it doesn't get changed....however, though I hate to disappoint, the truth is I'm busily slaving over my school reports at the moment, much as I would like to be in a library with the score to Jenufa. (It all brings back pleasant memories of the medieval splendours of the library at King's College in which I immersed myself in Janacek scores during my time there - one of my favourite places on earth!)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on December 04, 2010, 08:35:22 AM
Luke, if you're still awake at 7:00PM Chowder Time tonight, that's the Henning Radio Gala ; )
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on December 04, 2010, 08:37:28 AM
7.00 p.m. real time, or your time?  ;) I'm out tonight - especially if I can get 77 reports written in the next 20 minutes, which i doubt somehow. Is anyone recording it?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on December 04, 2010, 08:41:55 AM
Boston (Massachusetts) time. I think Lance may well make his own recording of his shows; but just in case, I am trying to figure out how to make my own "dub."
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on December 04, 2010, 09:40:55 AM
Luke, if you're still awake at 7:00PM Chowder Time tonight, that's the Henning Radio Gala ; )

Hey, that's midnight. I'll probably be up. I'll stop by your thread for deets?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on December 04, 2010, 09:44:11 AM
Must mean something like The World of Janáček's Operas.

It does. Must be some sort of guidebook...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: karlhenning on December 04, 2010, 11:48:59 AM
Hey, that's midnight. I'll probably be up. I'll stop by your thread for deets?

Yes, here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,92.msg470681.html#msg470681).
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on January 22, 2011, 04:52:46 PM
Looked through my collection today and was amazed that I didn't have the Glagolitic Mass! I thought I knew all the major works of Janacek by now, so it's an absolute delight that one lays undiscovered still, and such a major one! Of course I don't have his entire oeuvre, but excepting this I have all the essentials and much more besides (though I'm sure Luke would say everything by Janacek is an essential!).

Is the Ancerl the one to get then? Whats all this controversy with versions? Usually with Janacek original is best in my experience...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on January 22, 2011, 05:03:43 PM
Just listening on Spotify to the little piano pieces (not from the "big three" piano works) of Janacek that Ades has recorded at the moment. All of them are fantastic - perfect, crystaline little utterances, a mood, a flutter, a moment distilled, a ravishment, captured and recorded.

Must get a copy of these too. So wonderful.


And poking around the Janacel wikipedia page - I also don't have the Eternal Gospel (never even heard of that one before!), a cantata no less!  Also don't have any of the choral works. These things need remedying. Obviously.

One is almost surprised to realise on reflection that he tried his hand at virtually every major genre: String Quartet, Opera, Symphony, Tone Poem, Piano concerto, Violin Concerto, Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata, Piano Sonata, Piano miniature, Mass, Cantata, Song Cycle - all about as central and standard in terms of 19th century genres as one could imagine, all utterly transformed into something completely personal and wonderful and weird.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on January 22, 2011, 05:44:31 PM
The Eternal Gospel is proper, big, mature Janacek, pure Janacek in style and content, and it ought to be better known ... but it has never grabbed me as much as the other big works of his maturity, if I am honest.

But as far as the other choral music goes, you ought to head straight for the Bezruc choruses - they are relatively little-known works, but they are amongst his finest, most moving masterpieces.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on January 22, 2011, 06:53:39 PM
Ok will do. What recording of Glagolitic and Eternal Gospel is best? And the Bezruc choruses for that matter (though I somewhow doubt there's quite as many options.)

Now that you say that I do in fact remember you talking about The Eternal Gospel before. I think we all have blind spots in the oeuvre's of our favourites. It's sometimes comforting to know that they couldn't be geniuses (however warped or partial) all the time!


(Here I am at 3am still not in bed because I can't stop Jenufa listening to Jenufa! Tomorrow: Osud, Katya.)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on January 23, 2011, 04:03:04 AM
Which of these has the Bezruc? Are all worth getting?





Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on January 23, 2011, 04:16:29 AM
I have them all, and they are all worth getting, though there is obviously some duplication of repertoire. The Bezruc settings are on the second of those discs, which is one of the Janacek discs I listen to most frequently. It also has the extraordinary modernist-primitve setting of Tagore's The Wandering Madman (the two men actually met, which I find the most beautiful idea!)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on January 23, 2011, 04:21:26 AM
A Janacek fan simply MUST have a copy of Riklada, too - it's on the first and third of those discs, and recorded elsewhere too (I particularly love the recording with Thierry Fischer on Chandos, for some reason - it's very vivid). It's another of those much-ignored pieces, because of its unclassifiable nature, maybe, but it is utterly enchanting. And it has a part for ocarina, too  ;D

And Guido - just checking - you do have the Diary of One Who Disappeared, don't you?  Surely you must.....did I ever give you the Blachut recording? In any 'top 10' of Janacek, this one figures highly, IMO.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on January 23, 2011, 04:36:23 AM
Is the Ancerl the one to get then? Whats all this controversy with versions? Usually with Janacek original is best in my experience...

I'll field this one if Luke will allow me, or at any rate if he isn't drafting a reply at exactly this moment. ;D He will be able to supply more detail, knowing the story of the Mass far better than I do...

The original version (now sometimes known as 'Wingfield' after the scholar who restored it) was cast aside at the premiere as being practically difficult to bring off live. It calls for three sets of timpani and demands the clarinetist race offstage in an impossibly short period of time (or a spare clarinetist spend the entire performance waiting in the wings). The miracle of recording technology has enabled Sir Charles Mackerras to record this version twice, once on Chandos with Danish forces - to my taste not 'craggy' and grand enough, and in boomy Chandos sound, but definitely an enjoyable version - and once with the Czech Philharmonic on a Supraphon performance DVD - MDT claims they shipped this to me two weeks ago and since I live in London it really should have gotten here by now. That's irritating.

Anyhow, major changes to how the work sounds center on two points:
- The closing 'Intrada' is also played at the opening, giving the work a symmetrical layout of five choral movements, centered on the huge 'Veruju', bookended by two instrumental sections on each side, and beginning and ending with the same 'Intrada.'
- At the center of 'Veruju,' and therefore at the heart of the whole work, is a crucifixion scene in which all three timpanists bang away and the brass let out shrill cries of agony, in a passage which was massively cut for the premiere performance.

The Ancerl version is the usual, ie cut, version, but in terms of actual performance, inspiration level, intensity, and even sound quality, it is the ideal. I'm hoping the Mackerras DVD will match its awe-inspiring combination of grandeur and rhythmic drive, but the Royal Mail may have eaten it.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on January 23, 2011, 04:52:10 AM
Ok thanks guys! All very interesting!

I have no money at the moment, so it'll have to be the library for the moment. I'm assuming the Elegy for Olga is also a must. Some of this stuff is on spotify, though not all. Riklada isn't, and I don't think the Bezruc are either.


I do have Diary, but have never got into as much as I should. Not sure if it's the Blachut I have - I did get it from you though. I will give it a listen today after I finish listening to Jenufa!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on January 23, 2011, 10:19:12 AM
Guido, Brian is right with what he says about the Glagolitic - if you remember we discussed the issue over PM, including Wingfield, who, as you know I knew, slightly, at Cambridge....you remember what I said, I presume!

The changes Brain outlines are the most obvious - the doubling up of the Intrada at both ends of the work, and the incredible, at the time basically-unplayable writing for timps in the centre of the Credo. But there are other changes, and two are remarkable - the Gospodi should be in 5/4. not 4/4, and the in the Uvod there should be three distinct rhythmic layers simultaneously - in 3/4, septuplet quavers v quintuplet quavers v straight 3/4 writing.

These changes are so massive in import that it makes a recommendation hard - because whilst everything Brian says about the power of the Ancerl performance is true, I personally find it hard to listen to any performance that doesn't include these features. Once heard, never forgotten, as they say. Unfortunately there hasn't yet been a recording of the original version to come close to Ancerl. In addition to the two mentioned by Brian there was also a performance in this version on a BBC music mag disc, Feb 2009, conducted by Hickox which I hope everyone snapped up (also includes a Mackerras Sinfonietta). That's nice disc, with a live atmosphere that makes the thing more electric, closer to the Ancerl in that respect at least. Doesn't help, I know, but I also saw CUMS I do the Wingfield edition in Kings' Chapel back in 1995 or 1996. Was a mighty concert, that one!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on January 23, 2011, 01:33:56 PM
Congrats on that, your 1000th post, Luke!

As it happens, your comments prompted me to do a bit of searching and I found (on OperaShare) a 2008 Proms performance of the Sinfonietta and (original version) Glagolitic Mass with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. I've just listened to it.

The Sinfonietta is a bit of a disaster. The BBC Symphony sound woefully unprepared for the challenge: the brass grow pale in the face of the opening fanfare, some of the trumpets start dropping clunkers, and then in the next two movements they hide behind the rest of the orchestra rather than seeming to explode out of it. Of course, this could be the fault of the bad radio recorded sound and lossy file - I usually can't detect lossiness, for instance finding nothing wrong with Naxos Music Library, but there are problems with this. The finale isn't "orgasmic" (as a Panamanian swimsuit model who saw it live once described it to me) (sorry not to provide context for that  ;D ;D ) but sort of workmanlike. It's a bit of a relief, though, as string players and winds have been losing sync and botching rhythms for twenty-five minutes. Moreover, Boulez' slow conducting - and I would like it slow in some parts! - sounds awkward and ungainly. Maybe this is a rude sentiment, but it just sounds like a creaky old man getting up in the morning.

I skipped the Capriccio for Left Hand: I don't know that work and didn't want it to make a poor first impression.

The Glagolitic Mass went much better than the Sinfonietta, overall. The brass began the work still shy, and the radio balances are so poor that, when the trumpets are asked to spew notes all over the place at the end of the first Intrada, you can't hear them at all. Pity, because is there a harder trumpet solo anywhere? Like Mackerras, Boulez takes Uvod very quickly to my taste: did it get slowed down for the cut version?

Starting in Slava, the trombones and tubas really start to come into their own, and thankfully are quite audible. The double bass are really powerful throughout this and the Sinfonietta, actually - I wonder where the microphones were?! The chorus is very fine, and so is the tenor, who struggles like a salmon heading upstream to be heard over the almighty din; he succeeds, but to my ears the struggle is half the appeal. The central orchestral episode in Veruju is fantastic: those larger-than-life basses sawing away, a well-controlled buildup to the crisis point, the brass finally fully awake, the strings staggering under the weight of the snare drum and (single set of) timpani at the climax. The chorus really sound like they are trying to revive the dead. Unforgettable!

Svet is slightly more problematic: the soprano has a wobble that's a little hideous. The chorus is fantastic, though, and when the big "darkness to light" transition arrives, Boulez doesn't double the tempo like Colin Davis did live with the LSO last October. That pissed me off: I will get to see this music played live probably once in my entire life and Davis' stupid ultra-fast tempo ruins an entire movement. Anyway. Hey! There's a bunch of extra music in this movement that I forgot about! Simon Preston's organ solo is superb, although his instrument is too good.  :P  What I'd really like isn't a nice church organ but something to blow out the windows, and this isn't blowing out the windows, at least not until the huge juicy final chord. The orchestra proceeds without a second's delay to an Intrada in which the trumpets are much more alive than they were the first time (though they still can't vomit out notes like pros in the final bars), suggesting that, weirdly, the performance has invigorated not just the audience but the orchestra too.

I guess the real sign of success is the coughing. In the pauses during the Sinfonietta, everyone in the Royal Albert Hall was very clearly suffering from a lung disease. But the pause right before the beginning of Veruju, and after the delirious "Amit! Amit!"s and the organ's first big solo chords, is so quiet I grinned. And after the Agnece Bozij - one single cough. At the end - the crowd goes wild!

The Mackerras DVD is still in the mail, but I think we're probably yet waiting for the ideal Sinfonietta + Glagolitic Mass in fully modern sound. Naxos has just recorded the two works with the Warsaw Philharmonic and Antoni Wit, and I am alternately hopeful and fearful. Hopeful, because Wit is a genius handling massive orchestral and choral forces (his Mahler 8 and Penderecki Credo are testaments to that), he knows how to find broad tempi which don't feel slow because the music bursts by itself out of the speakers, and the Warsaw Philharmonic has one of the most luxurious sounds around. Fearful, because the Naxos announcement does not say which version of the Glagolitic Mass was recorded, and in my mind that's as good as an admission that they picked the inferior "traditional" version. I hope not. If they did, the Boulez performance squeezes into the category, "good enough."

Luke, if you win the lottery, would you promise to go Gilbert Kaplan on us and hire an orchestra/chorus/soloists to record the Mass?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on January 23, 2011, 02:22:33 PM
Great post, Brian! There are more Wingfield edition Glagolitics out there than I realised....

(to answer your question, no, I don't think the Uvod was slowed down in the last-minute re-jig. It was simply a matter of Janacek ironing all that fun 7;6;5 polyrhythm into an easier to perform, uniform 6)

Congrats on that, your 1000th post, Luke!

...in this incarnation! Less prolific than I used to be, it's taken me some time to get to 1000 this time around!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on January 23, 2011, 03:44:20 PM
...in this incarnation!

Which must be now at least the 4th since the new forum opened?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on January 23, 2011, 03:52:37 PM
Only the third, I think!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2011, 04:21:13 PM
Currently my favorite performance of Glagolitic Mass is from this now out-of-print Tilson Thomas recording (coupled with an excellent version of Sinfonietta):



I've liked Janacek's music for quite some time, but now after hearing this recording it's prompted me to start listening to more of his music. He was one of the greats no question about it.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 08, 2011, 05:32:48 PM
As it happens, your comments prompted me to do a bit of searching and I found (on OperaShare) a 2008 Proms performance of the Sinfonietta and (original version) Glagolitic Mass with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. I've just listened to it.

The Sinfonietta is a bit of a disaster. The BBC Symphony sound woefully unprepared for the challenge: the brass grow pale in the face of the opening fanfare, some of the trumpets start dropping clunkers, and then in the next two movements they hide behind the rest of the orchestra rather than seeming to explode out of it.

If you're a member of the concertarchive newsgroup, there is a performance there of the Sinfonietta with Boulez and the CSO that has none of these problems, given the caliber of the CSO brass. Highly recommended. Guaranteed to impress Panamanian swimsuit models.  ;D Certainly a more analytic take than some, but terrific playing.

The changes Brain outlines are the most obvious - the doubling up of the Intrada at both ends of the work, and the incredible, at the time basically-unplayable writing for timps in the centre of the Credo. But there are other changes, and two are remarkable - the Gospodi should be in 5/4. not 4/4, and the in the Uvod there should be three distinct rhythmic layers simultaneously - in 3/4, septuplet quavers v quintuplet quavers v straight 3/4 writing.

These changes are so massive in import that it makes a recommendation hard - because whilst everything Brian says about the power of the Ancerl performance is true, I personally find it hard to listen to any performance that doesn't include these features. Once heard, never forgotten, as they say.

Absolutely true! This issue is interesting as I didn't realize it existed until I heard the Ancerl and Mackerras recordings. My first introduction to the Glagolitic Mass was a stellar performance of the original version with Boulez and the CSO from 2000 that was issued by the CSO a couple of years ago for their (now discontinued) annual spring fundraiser for which they issued a 2CD-set "from the archives". Boulez conducted the Glagolitic Mass here in Chicago again just this past November which was an absolutely spellbinding performance. My wife went with me and she thought it was the best CSO concert she had heard in years. They have a superb young Russian timpanist, BTW, and the organ soloist was an animal! You've never heard the organ solo played like that. At any rate, after this performance I went out and started looking for other recordings and found the highly recommended Ancerl and Mackerras performances, only to discover that these are performances of this - to me hitherto unknown - bastardized version with the simplified rhythms and timpani part and the absence of the opening Intrada. As interesting as these performances are, they are indeed unlistenable to me after hearing the original version.

The miracle of recording technology has enabled Sir Charles Mackerras to record this version twice, once on Chandos with Danish forces - to my taste not 'craggy' and grand enough, and in boomy Chandos sound, but definitely an enjoyable version - and once with the Czech Philharmonic on a Supraphon performance DVD

Which recordings are these Mackerras recordings? The 1985 Supraphon Czech PO recording I have is the bastardized simplified version.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: 71 dB on February 09, 2011, 01:40:01 AM
Just recently I borrowed Janáček's String Quartets (Melos Quartet/HM) from a friend. I found them surprisingly good. I had not heard almost anything by this composer before.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on February 09, 2011, 04:48:51 AM
Why surpsingly good?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: not edward on February 09, 2011, 06:52:14 AM
Which recordings are these Mackerras recordings? The 1985 Supraphon Czech PO recording I have is the bastardized simplified version.
The Danish Mackerras is of the original version, but the performance isn't as good as on his Czech recording or the Ancerl one.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 09, 2011, 07:34:41 AM
Exactly - but hence my problem, the one Mensch said he shares: the original version of the piece is so much more dramatic, it's hard to listen to any recording which doesn't use that edition without pining for the missing chunks! What to do? If only Ancerl could come back and re-record! I have to say that I cannot understand any conductor who doesn't use the original score now that it is possible to do so. What rationale could there be? The changes were forced on Janacek, and not made for any reason other than expediency - they do not represent his final thoughts on the piece and they did not make it a stronger work. It is either lazy or ignorant to use the older version with the Wingfield one in existence, IMO
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 09, 2011, 08:58:51 AM
The Danish Mackerras is of the original version, but the performance isn't as good as on his Czech recording or the Ancerl one.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: 71 dB on February 09, 2011, 01:15:23 PM
Why surpsingly good?

Because they exceeded my expectations so much.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 09, 2011, 01:15:59 PM
Because they exceeded my expectations.

...which are always low when the composer isn't Elgar?  :P
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 01:19:47 PM
I wonder why it took Janacek so long to decide to become a composer? Anyone know this?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: 71 dB on February 09, 2011, 01:21:01 PM
...which are always low when the composer isn't Elgar?  :P

Of course not. It's not easy to put your expectations on the right level when you haven't heard nearly anything by a composer before. Next Janacek work will encounter higher expectations. 
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: 71 dB on February 09, 2011, 01:22:42 PM
I wonder why it took Janacek so long to decide to become a composer? Anyone know this?

I thought it was the surrounding world that had the difficulties to decide whether he is a composer or not...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 01:25:31 PM
I thought it was the surrounding world that had the difficulties to decide whether he is a composer or not...

I'm not sure. Does anyone know when his earliest composition was written?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on February 09, 2011, 01:28:02 PM
I wonder why it took Janacek so long to decide to become a composer? Anyone know this?

First compositions at 22, first opera at 34 is old?  Earliest work I have actually heard is the Zdenka variations, 1880 (26 years old, I guess).

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 09, 2011, 01:28:23 PM
Of course not. It's not easy to put your expectations on the right level when you haven't heard nearly anything by a composer before. Next Janacek work will encounter higher expectations.

Why go into it with any expectations at all?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 01:32:34 PM
First compositions at 22, first opera at 34 is old?  Earliest work I have actually heard is the Zdenka variations, 1880 (26 years old, I guess).

I guess not. Many historians consider Janacek one of the greatest late-bloomers in the 20th Century.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on February 09, 2011, 01:33:18 PM
I guess not. Many historians consider Janacek one of the greatest late-bloomers in the 20th Century.

Blooming late doesn't imply starting late, I suppose.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 01:34:00 PM
Blooming late doesn't imply starting late, I suppose.

That's true. What compositions do you consider to be Janacek's masterpieces?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 09, 2011, 01:34:27 PM
I guess not. Many historians consider Janacek one of the greatest late-bloomers in the 20th Century.

I think the issue is less when he started writing in the first place, but when he really found his own voice and became a truly original composer in his own right. His early stuff is often rather derivative and conventional. It's not until you get to his more mature works where he really becomes a recognizeable unique voice with very idiosyncratic modernist ideas.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 01:35:47 PM
I think the issue is less when he started writing in the first place, but when he really found his own voice and became a truly original composer in his own right. His early stuff is often rather derivative and conventional. It's not until you get to his more mature works where he really becomes a recognizeable unique voice with very idiosyncratic modernist ideas.

What do you consider great works of Janacek's mature style?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 09, 2011, 01:38:48 PM
What do you consider great works of Janacek's mature style?

His mature style is generally considered to be from Jenufa onwards, by which time he was already 50 years old.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 01:41:06 PM
His mature style is generally considered to be from Jenufa onwards, by which time he was already 50 years old.

You didn't answer my question. What do you consider Janacek's greatest compositions of his mature style?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 09, 2011, 01:47:09 PM
Janacek's stylistic development, seen in conjunction with the development of his theories of aesthetics, was the subject of my undergraduate thesis, so this is my specialist area, if any is! (not that that means much). To answer MI's question, IMO - and as I've said many times before - in general the later Janacek it is, the more pure, stripped-down and pure Janacek it is, and so one answer is: the last pieces, that is, the second string quartet, the Glagolitic Mass, and From the House of the Dead. I'd also put the reconstruction of the Violin Concerto in there, because it's very late and very pure in style, though not 'real' Janacek in some senses. But even being drastically ruthless, I couldn't exclude from any list: The Cunning Little Vixen, Kat'a Kabanova or The Diary of One Who Disappeared. And that is cutting down things painfully, because I don't think there is a post Jenufa work by Janacek that isn't seared on my mind! (He's my favourite composer, if it needs pointing out)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 09, 2011, 01:51:18 PM
BTW - I've got the score here to a very early piece by Janacek from 1878 which I'd love to post because everything about it is such a contrast from the Janacek we know and love, everything down to the careful neat calligraphy. But I can't upload attachments. He's still absorbing influences here, very much - in fact, it's almost all influence and no Janacek. but even in the very earliest pieces, even in his workaday harmony exercises, one can see the beginnings of what would become Janacek traits ripe for the picking, though I'm sure he wasn't even aware of it himself at this point.

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 09, 2011, 01:53:28 PM
The usual starting point given by Janacek scholars for J's emergence as a composer in his own right is 1884, with the composition of a set of partsongs which certainly do sound like no one else, though nothing like mature Janacek either - great little pieces. Some of the best of Janacek is to be found in the small choral pieces, actually.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 09, 2011, 01:54:28 PM
You didn't answer my question. What do you consider Janacek's greatest compositions of his mature style?

Luke answered that one better than I could. I don't know that I would make a ranking, but the mass, the 2nd quartet, in the mists, Katya, Vixen, House of the Dead, Sinfonietta definitely belong in that group.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on February 09, 2011, 01:57:17 PM
Luke answered that one better than I could. I don't know that I would make a ranking, but the mass, the 2nd quartet, in the mists, Katya, Vixen, House of the Dead, Sinfonietta definitely belong in that group.

I also think Taras Bulba is a wonderful piece, maybe a bit of a guilty pleasure.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 09, 2011, 02:01:01 PM
One very good pre-Jenufa piece that often gets forgotten is the cantata Amarus. Now this is one piece no one could dislike - it has many of the great virtues of Janacek's mature writing, but little of the craggy, eliptical writing which - I know, I can hardly bear to even think it - some might not enjoy or 'get'. Instead it is still suffused with a straightforward romanticism and mysticism. It's really a lovely work, though hardly a masterpiece, and worth seeking out.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 09, 2011, 02:02:39 PM
I also think Taras Bulba is a wonderful piece, maybe a bit of a guilty pleasure.


Exactly! There's another orchestral pieces - The Fiddler's Child - which isn't quite as well-known, but which I think is in some ways a better piece. A more thoughtful one, anyway, and with some wonderful ideas and sonorities. But it doesn't have the sheer excitement of Taras Bulba!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on February 09, 2011, 02:10:55 PM
Now this is one piece no one could dislike

Wanna bet?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 09, 2011, 02:12:15 PM
Well, obviously I wasn't including you in that....  ;)  ;D
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2011, 02:26:08 PM
Janacek's stylistic development, seen in conjunction with the development of his theories of aesthetics, was the subject of my undergraduate thesis, so this is my specialist area, if any is! (not that that means much). To answer MI's question, IMO - and as I've said many times before - in general the later Janacek it is, the more pure, stripped-down and pure Janacek it is, and so one answer is: the last pieces, that is, the second string quartet, the Glagolitic Mass, and From the House of the Dead. I'd also put the reconstruction of the Violin Concerto in there, because it's very late and very pure in style, though not 'real' Janacek in some senses. But even being drastically ruthless, I couldn't exclude from any list: The Cunning Little Vixen, Kat'a Kabanova or The Diary of One Who Disappeared. And that is cutting down things painfully, because I don't think there is a post Jenufa work by Janacek that isn't seared on my mind! (He's my favourite composer, if it needs pointing out)

Thanks Luke for sharing your thoughts and feelings on Janacek. I can understand why you love his music. I'm starting to love a lot of it myself. Some of the first works I heard by Janacek were Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba, Lachian Dances, and Glagolitic Mass. I really enjoyed his music, but I was so busy with other composers at the time that I didn't really spend much time with it. Now, I'm having a bit of a Janacek renaissance and will next move onto his operas, which many months ago I acquired the Decca set with Charles Mackerras so I'm sure this will prove a rewarding experience.

I acquired this set a few days ago:



I figured since I already owned all Mackerras Decca recordings, why not own this set as well.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on February 09, 2011, 03:33:43 PM
I have to say that I cannot understand any conductor who doesn't use the original score now that it is possible to do so. What rationale could there be?

That's why I'm afraid for the new Naxos disc - Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic are pretty much a dream pairing of conductor and orchestra/choir for the Glagolitic Mass, nearly as promising as Mackerras/CzPo, so if they record the old, truncated score I will never be able to forgive that.

Have you seen the Mackerras/CzPo DVD with the Wingfield score? MDT's shipment got lost in the mail, so I never received it.  :(
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on February 09, 2011, 04:46:13 PM
Fiddler's Child is Great Janacek, as is Makropulos, The first quartet and I would argue Osud. And all the piano works. The only major mature work of his that I don't get on with is still Broucek.

I know what you mean about The Eternal Gospel Luke - it makes all the Janacekian gestures, but something doesn't quite convince - it just lacks the searing, surging, painful passion of the rest of the mature works... It's got lots of arresting ideas, and is a pleasure to listen to, but doesn't get in my blood, pull my ears and tug at my soul like the rest.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 15, 2011, 09:01:29 AM
Just finished listening to the Mackerras/Danish/Chandos Glagolitic Mass. It's not half that bad of a performance. I'm quite positively surprised by orchestra and chorus, having gone in with relatively low expectations. Singers are so-so. They don't spoil the performance, but they aren't stellar either. I see what you all are saying here. It certainly lacks Ancerl's intensity and isn't as driven as Mackerras' Czech PO performance. But I feel that its impact would be a lot more palpable if it wasn't for Chandos' wooly, distant sound, which eats up much of the emotional immediacy, which otherwise isn't wholly lacking. The organ solo is a snooze, though. Boulez had Paul Jacobs here in Chicago last November. That was in a completely different league altogether.

So it remains that the best recorded performance of the original (Winfield) version at the moment is the Boulez/CSO performance from 2000 on the CSO from the Archives "Tribute to Boulez" set, though even that isn't on the level of his performance here last November.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on February 15, 2011, 09:06:49 AM
So it remains that the best recorded performance of the original (Winfield) version at the moment is the Boulez/CSO performance from 2000 on the CSO from the Archives "Tribute to Boulez" set, though even that isn't on the level of his performance here last November.

In November, did they have the microphones out for a CSO Resound release?

And I'm in agreement on the Chandos sound. Still anticipating the Mackerras/CzPO DVD, which is a live broadcast of the Wingfield version.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 15, 2011, 09:08:45 AM
As I say (OK, as I imply!) I haven't heard that Boulez recording, and I'll put it on my wish list. But the Hickox recording that came 'free' with the BBC music mag is not neligible, and has all the advantages and some of the disadvantages of a live recording. It's not ideal, but it has a lot of power and guts, which this piece needs more than anything. I listen to it over the Danish recording every time.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 15, 2011, 09:39:57 AM
In November, did they have the microphones out for a CSO Resound release?

The mics are always there, as most concerts are at least taped for broadcasts. There was no specific plan to record it for Resound and there were no patch sessions, AFAIK. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything. The Shosty 5 with Chung (download only) wasn't originally planned either, I think.

As I say (OK, as I imply!) I haven't heard that Boulez recording, and I'll put it on my wish list. But the Hickox recording that came 'free' with the BBC music mag is not neligible, and has all the advantages and some of the disadvantages of a live recording. It's not ideal, but it has a lot of power and guts, which this piece needs more than anything. I listen to it over the Danish recording every time.

Well, since the Hickox/BBC and the 2000 Boulez/CSO are both OOP and apparently unavailable (I just checked with the CSO store - they sold out 2 years ago), we'll just have to trust each other.  ;)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on February 15, 2011, 09:45:57 AM

Well, since the Hickox/BBC and the 2000 Boulez/CSO are both OOP and apparently unavailable (I just checked with the CSO store - they sold out 2 years ago), we'll just have to trust each other.  ;)

I trust you! And having not headr the Boulez, I'm certainly not going to say the Hickox is finer. Hell, I'm not that convinced of its quality myself - it just does as a stopgap better than the Danish one, IMO. I'm listening to the Hickox at the moment, actually, prompted by posting what I did a while ago. Certainly has a lot of flair (but then that's inherent in the music, too) and damn the raggedy edges!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on February 15, 2011, 09:56:07 AM
One can sample Boulez's GM at this YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/orangejamtw#g/search) (search for Janacek). My own introduction to that work was through a performance with Boulez leading the Orchestra of Paris.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on February 15, 2011, 10:05:11 AM
One can sample Boulez's GM at this YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/orangejamtw#g/search) (search for Janacek). My own introduction to that work was through a performance with Boulez leading the Orchestra of Paris.

That's not the same Boulez performance we're talking about. That is the BBC, not the CSO. I will give it a listen though. Thanks for digging it up.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on February 15, 2011, 10:07:53 AM
That's not the same Boulez performance we're talking about. That is the BBC, not the CSO. I will give it a listen though. Thanks for digging it up.

I know it's not the same performance. Still, it is Boulez and the original version of the Mass. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on March 07, 2011, 05:40:51 PM
Does anyone know Janacek's attitude to arranging? I am arranging the third number from In the Mists for String trio (with a view to maybe doing them all - All are possible in theory at least), and although it's possible in the existing key, it would be much easier for string players a semitone higher. I know that Janacek was very attatched to certain keys, especially the flat ones (Db being the most personal of all), but would it be completely heinous to transpose? I can try both I guess - they will probably sound rather different...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on March 07, 2011, 05:52:05 PM
The weirdest and most specific blog ever?

http://janacekarranged.wordpress.com/
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on March 08, 2011, 12:33:11 AM
Does anyone know Janacek's attitude to arranging? I am arranging the third number from In the Mists for String trio (with a view to maybe doing them all - All are possible in theory at least), and although it's possible in the existing key, it would be much easier for string players a semitone higher. I know that Janacek was very attatched to certain keys, especially the flat ones (Db being the most personal of all), but would it be completely heinous to transpose? I can try both I guess - they will probably sound rather different...

I would be very loathe to transpose myself, although I'm not sure about Janacek's own attitude. It's not as if he steers clear of D flat, A flat etc in his own quartets, is it?! As you say, these very flat keys are very special to Janacek, and more so than is the case with other composers with 'favourite keys', their influence pervades the music. I could drone on about it for a long time... The third one of Overgrown Path - is that A Blown-Away Leaf or Come With Us, I've momentarily forgotten!? If the latter, I actually used it as a case study of Janacek's streatment of D flat in my dissertation, the issue is so strong here, and in general, the first few pieces in OP are almost 'about' C sharp/D flat, they are so firmly rooted in it.

But OTOH I see your point! There are some arrangements of some of OP for strings by Jarmil Burghauser which are nice, though still, the pieces lose something. When I get home I will check what keys they are in...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on March 08, 2011, 07:12:45 AM
I would be very loathe to transpose myself, although I'm not sure about Janacek's own attitude. It's not as if he steers clear of D flat, A flat etc in his own quartets, is it?! As you say, these very flat keys are very special to Janacek, and more so than is the case with other composers with 'favourite keys', their influence pervades the music. I could drone on about it for a long time... The third one of Overgrown Path - is that A Blown-Away Leaf or Come With Us, I've momentarily forgotten!? If the latter, I actually used it as a case study of Janacek's streatment of D flat in my dissertation, the issue is so strong here, and in general, the first few pieces in OP are almost 'about' C sharp/D flat, they are so firmly rooted in it.

But OTOH I see your point! There are some arrangements of some of OP for strings by Jarmil Burghauser which are nice, though still, the pieces lose something. When I get home I will check what keys they are in...

Hmm yeah. I guess I can try both. I'm doing In the Mists though, Not Overgrown Path. Strangely, OP has far more notes sounding in all the pieces, and In the Mists, which always sounds like a "bigger" piece to me is usually playable by three solo lines, with occasional double stops.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on March 08, 2011, 07:13:19 AM
Would be interested to hear some of the dronings. Especially in a paradigmatic case...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on March 08, 2011, 08:49:28 AM
Hmm yeah. I guess I can try both. I'm doing In the Mists though, Not Overgrown Path. Strangely, OP has far more notes sounding in all the pieces, and In the Mists, which always sounds like a "bigger" piece to me is usually playable by three solo lines, with occasional double stops.

Sorry, misread you. I'd say go for it - it's great music, worth hearing in as many forms as possible, especially the string trio, a grouping I love so much! Would be interesting to see how it turned out. The pedal is such an important factor in that set of pieces, though - there's so much use of the effects of chords bleeding into each other, almost a written-out illustration of Janacek's own theory of 'spletna', the acoustical 'twining' which he said occured for a millisecond when one chord changes to another and which he thought was vital for musical expression, as it penetrated very deep. In the Mists is a psychological study of the composer in trauma, I think, and its full of these bleedings, as I say, which depends on the pedal a great deal, and which might be difficult in the strings. OTOH, another famous example of a written-out spletna is the opening motive of the 1st quartet, so it must be possible...!

Something else I could drone about - maybe later!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on March 08, 2011, 09:17:46 AM
Fascinating! Never knew that but I've always felt this with Janacek's music - somehow often very plain chords just seems to emerge from the previous one completely transformed by their context, almost always to extraordinary effect. I agree though that it's important in all music. Have been listening to the operas a lot recently.

This sounds like it might be related to his theory of cadences with all notes relating to the final chord, rather than their own one...?

I'll arrange this one both ways and see how well each works.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on March 09, 2011, 07:19:52 PM
Sarka's absolutely gorgeous! Definitely worth investigating if you know all the mature operas - much to love here too. I don't know how much Janacek added when he revised it (between Osud and Broucek) but it sounds thoroughly Janacekian to my ears which I wasn't expecting at all.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on April 04, 2011, 04:49:28 AM
You see I don't hear a big-boned robustness in Ancerl's Glagolitic Mass recording at all. I don't hear any feverish outbursts, which I think is apart of Janacek's music, nor do I hear much thought given in the musical phrasing from Ancerl. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra have also played better with other conductors in this score most notably Charles Mackerras.

So to reiterate my opinion, here's why I don't like Ancerl's Glagolitic Mass recording: 1. less than ideal sonics, 2. no attention given to the musical phrasing, and 3. failure to reach the climaxes the way I would like them to be reached.

Aside from use of the truncated score, there are only two problems I have with Ancerl's Glagolitic Mass. (Taking this to the Janacek thread for ease of conservation and, hopefully, expansion of discussion.)
1. Sound quality can't capture details like the muted trombones in "Agnece Bozij."
2. In the same movement, the differentiation between male and female choristers is not as clear as on other recordings.

Some of Ancerl's decision in his recording are fairly nonstandard, but I approve of them. Most salient is his especially slow "Uvod": 3:22 where most folks seem to settle in around the two-minute mark. I don't understand why anyone would speed through the movement, though, as the repetition does not grate on the ears and in any case, the woodwind phrases invariably sound rushed and violins struggle to keep up.

I think what makes Ancerl work for me is the 50/50 mixture of primal ruggedness and a strange sort of timeless nobility. This is a recording where the teeming strangeness and exuberant rhythms live side-by-side with a really elevated dignity. It fits in with my own view of the Glagolitic Mass as the unbeliever Janacek's blueprint for what religion should have been: not glum stuff about death but a celebration of life.

Oh, yeah, and I have a man-crush on Beno Blachut's voice.  ;)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 06:09:19 AM
I think what makes Ancerl work for me is the 50/50 mixture of primal ruggedness and a strange sort of timeless nobility. This is a recording where the teeming strangeness and exuberant rhythms live side-by-side with a really elevated dignity. It fits in with my own view of the Glagolitic Mass as the unbeliever Janacek's blueprint for what religion should have been: not glum stuff about death but a celebration of life.

I did not hear anything primal nor did I hear timeless nobility in this recording. I heard a dull performance let down by even duller sonics. My favorite Glagolitic Mass recordings are Mackerras (Supraphon), MTT, and Rattle.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on April 04, 2011, 07:27:30 AM
I did not hear anything primal nor did I hear timeless nobility in this recording. I heard a dull performance let down by even duller sonics. My favorite Glagolitic Mass recordings are Mackerras (Supraphon), MTT, and Rattle.

Given the eloquence with which so many people have written of that recording on this forum and elsewhere, I think your claims of not hearing anything good in it will only convince readers that you don't have a very perceptive ear.

I haven't heard any of the recording you mention except Rattle, which I enjoyed less than Chailly/Vienna Philharmonic (although I seem to be in a minority in preferring, or even knowing about, the Chailly recording).  I've recently gotten the Mackerras/Danish because it uses the original version of piece, but haven't had time to listen.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 07:31:04 AM
Given the eloquence with which so many people have written of that recording on this forum and elsewhere, I think your claims of not hearing anything good in it will only convince readers that you don't have a very perceptive ear.

I haven't heard any of the recording you mention except Rattle, which I enjoyed less than Chailly/Vienna Philharmonic (although I seem to be in a minority in preferring, or even knowing about, the Chailly recording).

So anybody who doesn't like a so-called "legendary" recording doesn't have a perceptive ear now? Whatever. ::)

The greatest part of Ancerl's performance was when it ended. I never had been that disappointed with a recording in a long time. I know the Chailly quite well and it does little for me. I'm most moved by MTT and Mackerras (Supraphon) with the Rattle coming in a distant third.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on April 04, 2011, 07:59:30 AM
I don't know the Ancerl, and I'm not likely to because I generally do not go for older recordings unless there is a strong reason.  I'm just responding to what I'm reading, which is of the form [poetic musings about Ancerl recording] followed by [oh yea, well I say it stinks!]. 

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 08:03:59 AM
I made my opinion of Ancerl's Glagoltic Mass quite clear on another thread, but to reiterate my opinion (again), here's what I don't like about that recording: 1. poor audio quality, 2. no attention given to the musical line, and 3. no feeling for the climaxes. If you want me to even more specific, the joyful outbursts that are in the Credo and Sanctus sections were poorly executed. The Intrada section lacked the strong rhythmic drive I'm accustomed to hearing and enjoy. I just don't think the recording is worthy of the praise it receives. If you like it, Scarpia, Brian, Daverz, etc., then that's great, but I don't share your enthusiasm for it whatsoever.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 08:07:48 AM
I don't know the Ancerl, and I'm not likely to because I generally do not go for older recordings unless there is a strong reason.  I'm just responding to what I'm reading, which is of the form [poetic musings about Ancerl recording] followed by [oh yea, well I say it stinks!].

Read above, Scarpia. I told you why I don't like the recording. You haven't heard the recording and are not likely to, then why defend it just based on what people wrote about it?

I have told members here that I'm terrible with describing music and more importantly why I dislike the performances I have claimed to have been disappointed in. I did my best in describing why I don't enjoy the Ancerl recording.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on April 04, 2011, 08:08:55 AM
Read above, Scarpia. I told you why I don't like the recording. You haven't heard the recording and are not likely to, then why defend it just based on what people wrote about it?

I have told members here that I'm terrible with describing music and more importantly why I dislike the performances I have claimed to have been disappointed in. I did my best in describing why I don't enjoy the Ancerl recording.

Hmmm, maybe I should get the recording.  Interesting that it evokes reactions that are so different.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 08:11:50 AM
Hmmm, maybe I should get the recording.  Interesting that it evokes reactions that are so different.

If you like subpar audio, which you just said you didn't, then knock yourself out.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on April 04, 2011, 08:12:38 AM
If you like subpar audio, which you just said you didn't, then knock yourself out.

I said unless there is a strong reason, which there might be here.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on April 04, 2011, 08:12:49 AM
I made my opinion of Ancerl's Glagoltic Mass quite clear on another thread, but to reiterate my opinion (again), here's what I don't like about that recording: 1. poor audio quality, 2. no attention given to the musical line, and 3. no feeling for the climaxes. If you want me to even more specific, the joyful outbursts that are in the Credo and Sanctus sections were poorly executed. The Intrada section lacked the strong rhythmic drive I'm accustomed to hearing and enjoy. I just don't think the recording is worthy of the praise it receives. If you like it, Scarpia, Brian, Daverz, etc., then that's great, but I don't share your enthusiasm for it whatsoever.

Sorry, MI, but here is my issue with your statement: you're listening to things that do not really matter to others. What the heck is the "musical line" in Janacek anyway? This is not Dvorak. A lack of rhythmic drive is not something I heard here. My advice: don't toss this recording. Keep and revisit it in a few years with fresh ears. You're missing something here. Also, this isn't *that* old of a recording, and while the sound isn't stellar, it's by no means a dealbreaker. Mackerras is nice.  I don't know the MTT or Chailly. But in any case, all of these are the simplified version with the simpler rhthms, abbreviated timpani and organ solos, etc., which I find difficult to listen to anyway, having come to this piece from the restored original Wingfield edition.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on April 04, 2011, 08:14:03 AM
which I find difficult to listen to anyway, having come to this piece from the restored original Wingfield edition.

Which restored version recording do you prefer?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on April 04, 2011, 08:19:10 AM
Which restored version recording do you prefer?

There isn't a decent one available at the moment. Go back a few pages in this thread and you'll find a detailed discussion on the subject. The only commercial recording available is Mackerras/Danish PO on Chandos which is tad on the jetlagged side of things with a so-so orchestra. There used to be a live CSO broadcast with Boulez on a "CSO - From The Archives" set that the CSO issued for a fundraiser several years ago which is quite excellent (though even that is not nearly as good as the performance I heard Boulez conduct here in Chicago last year). There also used to be a Hickox recording with BBC that was distributed for free with the BBC magazine, also unavailable now. But AFAIK those three are the only recordings so far of the restored original version.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 08:21:45 AM
Sorry, MI, but here is my issue with your statement: you're listening to things that do not really matter to others. What the heck is the "musical line" in Janacek anyway? This is not Dvorak. A lack of rhythmic drive is not something I heard here. My advice: don't toss this recording. Keep and revisit it in a few years with fresh ears. You're missing something here. Also, this isn't *that* old of a recording, and while the sound isn't stellar, it's by no means a dealbreaker. Mackerras is nice.  I don't know the MTT or Chailly. But in any case, all of these are the simplified version with the simpler rhthms, abbreviated timpani and organ solos, etc., which I find difficult to listen to anyway, having come to this piece from the restored original Wingfield edition.

When I'm talking about musical line, I'm talking about phrasing. I love this when somebody knocks a legendary recording everybody scurries about like a bunch of children. I'm listening for things that do not really matter to others? I really hope so, because I listen for different things than other people, because I'm my own person with my own independent thoughts. Hmmmm...imagine that?

Just admit it already: I'm wrong and everybody else is right! This is what it seems like you would like to say anyway.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on April 04, 2011, 08:26:21 AM
There isn't a decent one available at the moment. Go back a few pages in this thread and you'll find a detailed discussion on the subject. The only commercial recording available is Mackerras/Danish PO on Chandos which is tad on the jetlagged side of things with a so-so orchestra. There used to be a live CSO broadcast with Boulez on a "CSO - From The Archives" set that the CSO issued for a fundraiser several years ago which is quite excellent (though even that is not nearly as good as the performance I heard Boulez conduct here in Chicago last year). There also used to be a Hickox recording with BBC that was distributed for free with the BBC magazine, also unavailable now. But AFAIK those three are the only recordings so far of the restored original version.

Hmmm, as I mentioned I have the Mackerras/Danish but everyone is so down on it I haven't listened to it.  Seems like what I really need is a lossless rip of that Boulez.   :(
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 08:30:38 AM
Hmmm, as I mentioned I have the Mackerras/Danish but everyone is so down on it I haven't listened to it.  Seems like what I really need is a lossless rip of that Boulez.   :(

Scarpia you should see if you can track down a copy of MTT's performance of the Mass with the LSO on Sony. It also has an outstanding performance of Sinfonietta on it. The orchestral clarity in this recording is remarkable.



Looks like there's one available right now for around $10 (a decent price for an out-of-print MTT recording). The packaging for this CD is also quite good. It has a slipcase and a nice detailed booklet that comes with it.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on April 04, 2011, 08:31:09 AM
When I'm talking about musical line, I'm talking about phrasing. I love this when somebody knocks a legendary recording everybody scurries about like a bunch of children. I'm listening for things that do not really matter to others? I really hope so, because I listen for different things than other people, because I'm my own person with my own independent thoughts. Hmmmm...imagine that?

Just admit it already: I'm wrong and everybody else is right! This is what it seems like you would like to say anyway.

MI, I knock "legendary" recordings all the time. See Brahms thread.  ;) My point is, it's valid to say, "I hear what you're hearing but I don't like it for reasons a, b, c". But you are saying, "what you guys are hearing simply isn't there". That leads me to believe you weren't really listening under optimal conditions (mental, acoustic, etc.) and have maybe a skewed recollection. When someone posts a rash review that denies the existence of what everyone else is hearing, in most cases a more careful listening would help improve the listening experience. I say that not to bash you, but because I myself am guilty of that often enough. We all sometimes listen under less than ideal conditions and leave with skewed impressions, only to later rediscover that recordings we supposedly hated are actually really interesting.  :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Philoctetes on April 04, 2011, 08:34:18 AM
There isn't a decent one available at the moment. Go back a few pages in this thread and you'll find a detailed discussion on the subject. The only commercial recording available is Mackerras/Danish PO on Chandos which is tad on the jetlagged side of things with a so-so orchestra.

http://www.youtube.com/v/7rPvWrhVPP8

Sounds pretty good to me.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 08:43:23 AM
MI, I knock "legendary" recordings all the time. See Brahms thread.  ;) My point is, it's valid to say, "I hear what you're hearing but I don't like it for reasons a, b, c". But you are saying, "what you guys are hearing simply isn't there". That leads me to believe you weren't really listening under optimal conditions (mental, acoustic, etc.) and have maybe a skewed recollection. When someone posts a rash review that denies the existence of what everyone else is hearing, in most cases a more careful listening would help improve the listening experience. I say that not to bash you, but because I myself am guilty of that often enough. We all sometimes listen under less than ideal conditions and leave with skewed impressions, only to later rediscover that recordings we supposedly hated are actually really interesting.  :)

No, I never said or implied that "what you guys are hearing simply isn't there." I was describing what I didn't hear, but what would have liked to have heard, which, in turn, gives the reader an idea of what I look for in a recording of this work. I simply stated that I did not like the recording and here's why I didn't like it. What you guys can't accept is that my opinion is different than your own.

As I said, I have my own independent thoughts whether you accept them or not is irrelevant at this juncture. You clearly don't understand why someone could not like a recording that is praised to the hills and that's okay if you don't, but it isn't a lack of perception on my part. It's a simple of matter of it didn't connect with me. The end.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on April 04, 2011, 08:45:24 AM
Scarpia you should see if you can track down a copy of MTT's performance of the Mass with the LSO on Sony. It also has an outstanding performance of Sinfonietta on it. The orchestral clarity in this recording is remarkable.



Looks like there's one available right now for around $10 (a decent price for an out-of-print MTT recording). The packaging for this CD is also quite good. It has a slipcase and a nice detailed booklet that comes with it.

I generally like MTT, so I should look into it.  But in the end what I really want is a good recording of the restored score.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 08:49:47 AM
I generally like MTT, so I should look into it.  But in the end what I really want is a good recording of the restored score.

I would like a good recording of the original score as well, but alas, a commercial recording seems unlikely right now. I simply take what I can get and taking a chance on MTT, who I'm always cautious about, was a bit risky, but it turned out, he delivered a very surprising performance. Full of energy and the orchestral clarity is out-of-this-world. This is probably one of the most impressive recordings I've heard from him.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on April 04, 2011, 09:00:24 AM
I would like a good recording of the original score as well, but alas, a commercial recording seems unlikely right now.

I may have missed your comment about it, but what about Mackerras and the CzPO, which I believe you have bought? Do you not like it or is the original scoring not used (latter less likely methinks :))?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 09:03:33 AM
I may have missed your comment about it, but what about Mackerras and the CzPO, which I believe you have bought? Do you not like it or is the original scoring not used (latter less likely methinks :))?

I love Mackerras' recording with the CzPO on Supraphon. Strong rhythmic vitality abound and great orchestral clarity. It all just hangs together so nicely under Mackerras who obviously is no stranger to Janacek. It isn't the original version of the score, but, as I said above, I take what I can get. I need to go back and re-listen to the Kubelik again. I remember it being quite good.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on April 04, 2011, 09:06:16 AM
I love Mackerras' recording with the CzPO on Supraphon. Strong rhythmic vitality abound and great orchestral clarity. It all just hangs together so nicely under Mackerras who obviously is not stranger to Janacek. It isn't the original version of the score, but, as I said above, I take what I can get.

Thanks. Quite odd for the scholar in Mackerras to revert to the altered edition.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2011, 09:08:22 AM
Thanks. Quite odd for the scholar in Mackerras to revert to the altered edition.

Yes, I never understood this either. Well, regardless, I think you'll enjoy the performance that is if you like Mackerras' other Janacek recordings.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on April 05, 2011, 01:55:38 AM
There is a Mackerras/CzPO DVD (not CD, DVD) of the restored score, and it is pretty good, although neither picture nor audio are what you'd want to call HD. It's basically a Supraphon-released TV broadcast, but in terms of performance it's certainly the best thing available at the moment. If the Naxos recording with Wit and the Warsaw PO is the restored original version, that'll be one to anticipate highly (it's due out next year).
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on April 05, 2011, 02:15:03 AM
There is a Mackerras/CzPO DVD (not CD, DVD) of the restored score, and it is pretty good, although neither picture nor audio are what you'd want to call HD. It's basically a Supraphon-released TV broadcast, but in terms of performance it's certainly the best thing available at the moment.

I should have been clearer, it was the DVD which I had in mind. I remember reading the CT review highly praising it.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on April 05, 2011, 02:24:42 AM
I should have been clearer, it was the DVD which I had in mind. I remember reading the CT review highly praising it.

My very brief review is here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13.msg492036.html#msg492036) :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on April 05, 2011, 04:49:25 AM
My very brief review is here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13.msg492036.html#msg492036) :)

Thanks.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Scarpia on May 22, 2011, 01:46:13 PM
Listened to Janacek's Capriccio and Concertino for piano and small ensemble.  Both are wonderful, inventive pieces, more like chamber music with piano than concerti.  This was the recording I was listening to:



The things that strikes me most about this music is the unconventional way it is put together.   Janacek seems to avoid all conventional means of organization, and assembles the music from little bits of melody and harmony, but creating the impression that it couldn't be any other way.

The recording is particularly vivid, very atypical for EMI.  A close perspective, as though the instruments are there in your living room, but not harsh, as is sometimes the case for close-in recordings.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on July 03, 2011, 04:49:20 AM
BIRTHDAY BOY!

Happy 157th, Leos  8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on July 19, 2011, 10:59:17 AM
With regard to the BBC Proms Glagolitic Mass as conducted by Jiri Belohlavek:

"An important note on the edition of bthe Glagolitic Mass used in this performance. The Glagolitic Mass was given in a new edition by Jiří Zahrádka and Leoš Faltus, which apparently restores passages simplified prior to the first performance in December 1927. According to the programme, the changes included simplification of rhythms, removal of the ‘offstage’ marking for a passage for three clarinets in the ‘Věruju’ (Credo) and cuts to both that movement and the ‘Svet’ (Sanctus). More may be read here concerning the edition, which Zahrádka modestly terms ‘an informative curiosity of sorts’.(Mark Berry in Opera Today and Boulezian)"

I'm recording the BBC Radio 3 stream to MP3, but the volume level is frustratingly low-level and the sound is nothing like being there.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on July 19, 2011, 12:07:51 PM
I have created a very satisfying 320kbps MP3 of the BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Belohlavek/BBC SO's performance of the restored Zahrádka-Faltus score. The volume is slightly low but on my headphones it sounds perfectly acceptable, indeed rather good.

EXCEPT.

Endemic in the BBC online streaming, and unremovable from the file, is a metronomic click-click-click in the loud passages. This is only noticeable at a slightly unhealthy volume level; when I was recording the stream I didn't hear it but now, on headphones, I certainly do.

If you're still interested, say 'aye' and I will PM you the file. If you are Luke, Mirror Image, Navneeth, or Scarpia, I'll probably PM you anyway, but if you can tolerate a bit of clicking for a solid live restored Glagolitic, do chime in. :)

If you have advice on another source for a recording, or if you happen to have a recording already yourself, which does not have the clicking, please do let me know.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on August 27, 2011, 12:34:14 PM
Had such a good day at work on Friday. Doing my rather mundane day job, I listened to the entirity of Jenufa which I have listened to quite a few times, but found I appreciated so much more after getting to know the mature operas. To know "where it's all going", and hear the myriad beautiful details in light of the inspiration of the last 4 operas, made me here the piece in a new light.

And then I listened to the final portion of The Makropulos Case. Again this is a piece which I adore unreservedly, and listening to this music with my headphones on, I had a moment of complete spiritual ecstacy and exaltation sitting transfixed in that rather bleak little office, feeling so lucky to be able to hear this music. The way Janacek leads us through Emilia Marty's feelings, he pulls us and shows us and makes us feel the relief of escape from 300 years of life and her ecstatic relaxation into death. No other composer is capable of this. It's completely different to Wagner. Perhaps my favourite thing in his entire output.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on August 27, 2011, 10:57:08 PM
If you have advice on another source for a recording, or if you happen to have a recording already yourself, which does not have the clicking, please do let me know.

Brian, did you receive my PM a couple of days ago?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on October 03, 2011, 05:24:24 PM
Bad news.

(http://cdn.naxos.com/SharedFiles/images/cds/others/8.572639.gif)

Naxos' all-excellence cast, led by Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic, release their Glagolitic Mass in November. But they have chosen what's euphemistically called the "final version." Richard Whitehouse's somewhat apologetic liner notes explain: "Composed between October and December 1926, it was revised the following May and duly went into rehearsal that September, when the composer made numerous and sometimes far-reaching changes that toned down its often startling modernity. That ‘original’ version has latterly been reconstructed and performed, but the present recording is of the more familiar revision which received its successful première by the Brno Arts Society conducted by Jaroslav Kvapil in Brno on 5 December 1927..."

Click to see track timings and read the liner notes. (http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.572639) (Mass 39:30, Sinfonietta 23:30)

I'm sure the actual performance will be expertly done, maybe as good as it gets - but I'll be disappointed in this and any new recording of the truncated Mass.

EDIT: Good news: There will be a simultaneous release on Blu-Ray.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 03, 2011, 05:34:48 PM
Bad news.

(http://cdn.naxos.com/SharedFiles/images/cds/others/8.572639.gif)

Naxos' all-excellence cast, led by Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic, release their Glagolitic Mass in November. But they have chosen what's euphemistically called the "final version." Richard Whitehouse's somewhat apologetic liner notes explain: "Composed between October and December 1926, it was revised the following May and duly went into rehearsal that September, when the composer made numerous and sometimes far-reaching changes that toned down its often startling modernity. That ‘original’ version has latterly been reconstructed and performed, but the present recording is of the more familiar revision which received its successful première by the Brno Arts Society conducted by Jaroslav Kvapil in Brno on 5 December 1927..."

Click to see track timings and read the liner notes. (http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.572639) (Mass 39:30, Sinfonietta 23:30)

I'm sure the actual performance will be expertly done, maybe as good as it gets - but I'll be disappointed in this and any new recording of the truncated Mass.

EDIT: Good news: There will be a simultaneous release on Blu-Ray.

When is this recording supposed to come out, Brian? I'm definitely buying it. Truncated or not, the Glagolitic Mass is one of the most incredible works in 20th Century music. I wonder what Wit will bring to it? I wonder how it will stack up against my beloved MTT recording? We shall see...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on October 03, 2011, 05:41:21 PM
When is this recording supposed to come out, Brian? I'm definitely buying it. Truncated or not, the Glagolitic Mass is one of the most incredible works in 20th Century music. I wonder what Wit will bring to it? I wonder how it will stack up against my beloved MTT recording? We shall see...

November. I'm definitely buying it, and the Blu-Ray too as my parents have a Blu-Ray player and I want to know what it sounds like. I am hoping Wit brings what he usually does: a warmly beautiful orchestral sound, perfectly-drilled players, a sense of the epic and momentous balanced with great clarity, and the ability to really hold together a huge cast of soloists and players. The sadness I'm feeling is partly because the full original score has never gotten a really polished, technically proficient commercial recording, and the Wit/Warsaw combination is a virtual guarantee of mastery of the letter of the score. If only!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 03, 2011, 05:47:18 PM
November. I'm definitely buying it, and the Blu-Ray too as my parents have a Blu-Ray player and I want to know what it sounds like. I am hoping Wit brings what he usually does: a warmly beautiful orchestral sound, perfectly-drilled players, a sense of the epic and momentous balanced with great clarity, and the ability to really hold together a huge cast of soloists and players. The sadness I'm feeling is partly because the full original score has never gotten a really polished, technically proficient commercial recording, and the Wit/Warsaw combination is a virtual guarantee of mastery of the letter of the score. If only!

In November, eh? Awesome! One month away! 8) Anyway, yes, I have generally been impressed with Wit's performances, especially of Szymanowski, which have proven a rival to Rattle's quite excellent recordings.

Anyway, I'm happy to see another recording come out of this work, but, again, it will be interesting to see how it compares with MTT, who really opened up the work for me with his outstanding soloists, chorus, and, of course, the remarkable LSO.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: ibanezmonster on October 03, 2011, 06:20:44 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.

 


 
That sounds like an awesome opera.  ;D

This is pretty good...
http://www.youtube.com/v/P2d3_p9yvhc
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Monty Cello on October 26, 2011, 11:47:46 AM
I have created a very satisfying 320kbps MP3 of the BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Belohlavek/BBC SO's performance of the restored Zahrádka-Faltus score.

Sorry to respond so late in the day but I have only just come across this thread while searching with Google for "Jiří Zahrádka and Leoš Faltus". It should be noted that both Prom 1 and 4 were badly treated by the engineers working on behalf of Radio 3 (the 'bookies' incompetents known as SIS). They applied severe dynamic compression to all broadcast modes and the iPlayer streams and files. You can lay a ruler along the peaks and hardly note a deviation (an exaggeration, of course). Max. level was around 12dB below saturation!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on October 31, 2011, 02:50:29 PM
Bad news.

(http://cdn.naxos.com/SharedFiles/images/cds/others/8.572639.gif)


John,

Bad news round 2. I listened to the disc at work this morning, and there is a good-to-excellent Sinfonietta (i-iv excellent, even reference versions, v just missing the mark) but the Glagolitic Mass is easily the least successful recording I've heard anywhere or by anybody. I am really, really disappointed. :(

I'll be assigned this CD for MusicWeb so I will explain in more detail, but suffice to say that there is about one passage per movement of unaccountably mushy tempo - even in the organ solo - and Timothy Bentch is nowhere near as good in the tenor solo as you'd expect from his amazing Mahler 8.

It should be noted that the headphones and streaming quality I listened to were REALLY REALLY BAD and that there is a decent chance I might like it better in full CD sound quality. But I did identify a few passages where the sound did not matter to my displeasure.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 31, 2011, 10:29:08 PM
John,

Bad news round 2. I listened to the disc at work this morning, and there is a good-to-excellent Sinfonietta (i-iv excellent, even reference versions, v just missing the mark) but the Glagolitic Mass is easily the least successful recording I've heard anywhere or by anybody. I am really, really disappointed. :(

I'll be assigned this CD for MusicWeb so I will explain in more detail, but suffice to say that there is about one passage per movement of unaccountably mushy tempo - even in the organ solo - and Timothy Bentch is nowhere near as good in the tenor solo as you'd expect from his amazing Mahler 8.

It should be noted that the headphones and streaming quality I listened to were REALLY REALLY BAD and that there is a decent chance I might like it better in full CD sound quality. But I did identify a few passages where the sound did not matter to my displeasure.

Thanks Brian, I'll be interested to read your full review once you've posted it. I'm not sure what thread I said this on, but I had come to the conclusion that at this juncture I doubt any performance will best MTT's. I have praised this recording for many months here and I'll continue to sing it's praises because I'm highly confident that there's no other performance that can top this one. There's something about MTT's phrasing and the amount of power he gets the orchestra to play with that makes it work for me. You definitely should try and track this recording down.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on November 14, 2011, 04:01:21 PM
Thanks Brian, I'll be interested to read your full review once you've posted it.

Well, John, I listened a second time and my impression has reversed itself 178 degrees. My qualms now are that Timothy Bentch is still not an ideal tenor for the part and there is one chord in 'Veruju' which is a little soft-edged - but other than that, the "really really bad" sound quality I cited earlier was a main culprit. The choir is really up to its usual high standard, the clarity is marvelous (those muted trombones in 'Svet'!), the last 40 seconds of the organ solo absolutely catch fire, and even the "unaccountably mushy tempos" in spots make more sense now that I realize that they usually lead directly into Wit driving his forces forward like a pack of wolves. The 'Slava' has an especially exhilarating race to the finish line, and the first two minutes of 'Svet' are built, orchestrally and chorally, with a doomed chain-gang sense of burden that's really terrifying. Not a first choice, but not nearly a last choice.

As for the Sinfonietta, the final chord doesn't quite attack hard enough, and the first few notes are slightly too fast for me, but everything in between is perfection, and the acoustic really helps.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 14, 2011, 04:30:34 PM
Well, John, I listened a second time and my impression has reversed itself 178 degrees. My qualms now are that Timothy Bentch is still not an ideal tenor for the part and there is one chord in 'Veruju' which is a little soft-edged - but other than that, the "really really bad" sound quality I cited earlier was a main culprit. The choir is really up to its usual high standard, the clarity is marvelous (those muted trombones in 'Svet'!), the last 40 seconds of the organ solo absolutely catch fire, and even the "unaccountably mushy tempos" in spots make more sense now that I realize that they usually lead directly into Wit driving his forces forward like a pack of wolves. The 'Slava' has an especially exhilarating race to the finish line, and the first two minutes of 'Svet' are built, orchestrally and chorally, with a doomed chain-gang sense of burden that's really terrifying. Not a first choice, but not nearly a last choice.

As for the Sinfonietta, the final chord doesn't quite attack hard enough, and the first few notes are slightly too fast for me, but everything in between is perfection, and the acoustic really helps.

Interesting commentary. Thanks Brian. I'm guessing you still haven't heard MTT's recording yet?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on May 01, 2012, 07:47:59 PM
Update: if I was a space alien, I'd give Antoni Wit's 'Taras Bulba' three thumbs up. The lower brass is spectacular in the first movement, the woodwind playing is phenomenal, and no conductor - not Mackerras, not Ancerl - makes a more satisfying ending... the last 2 minutes or so had always really bothered me, because they're so repetitive and kinda anticlimactic, but not in this account. Wit gets it. Real sense of achievement at the end of the piece; a great performance.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Jake on May 26, 2012, 09:46:41 AM
I will be living in Brno in a few weeks and while researching the musical history of the city I came across Janáček and subsequently, this thread. Almost all of the recordings mentioned here are now on my Amazon Wishlist but I'm still curious to hear a decent recording of the restored Glagolitic Mass. Has one surfaced, yet? Thanks all for this dazzling thread and for properly introducing me to Janáček!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Jake on May 27, 2012, 05:40:06 AM
In lieu of the "Unknown Janáček" discs by SUPRAPHON that were touted earlier in this thread (which now seem OOP and expensive) does anyone have any experience with this disc? I realize the accordion isn't exactly a harmonium, but it seems like an interesting approach anyway. That and I've had good luck with Winter & Winter before. Thanks all!

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on May 28, 2012, 07:04:15 PM
I'm still curious to hear a decent recording of the restored Glagolitic Mass. Has one surfaced, yet?

Alas, no :(
The best is a DVD of a live concert with Charles Mackerras and the Czech Philharmonic. Mackerras also has a CD of the restored Mass, with a Danish orchestra, and it's acceptable but not really ideal. If you ever visit websites (newsgroups mainly) where people share radio broadcasts of live concerts, there is a quite good performance from the 2011 BBC Proms with Jiri Belohlavek conducting - the only blemish is a tenor who sounds kinda like an angry old lady.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 29, 2012, 03:38:15 PM
And of course Brian still hasn't heard MTT's Sinfonietta or Glagolitic Mass.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Jake on May 29, 2012, 03:45:05 PM
And of course Brian still hasn't heard MTT's Sinfonietta or Glagolitic Mass.

Well, you've convinced me to order it. Was astonishingly inexpensive, too. Can't wait to give it a listen. Thanks!

Thanks to Brian, too! I know of some of these sites but the ones I'm registered with turned up nothing. Ah well. The search continues!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 29, 2012, 03:48:59 PM
Well, you've convinced me to order it. Was astonishingly inexpensive, too. Can't wait to give it a listen. Thanks!

You're welcome, Jake. I've been annoying everybody with this recording for many, many months. I'm glad that somebody took a chance and trusts my judgment. 8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 29, 2012, 04:08:34 PM
You're welcome, Jake. I've been annoying everybody with this recording for many, many months. I'm glad that somebody took a chance and trusts my judgment. 8)

It's not being annoying when you're right, John.  ;D
Title: Re: Re: Janáek (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 29, 2012, 04:09:44 PM
You're welcome, Jake. I've been annoying everybody with this recording for many, many months. I'm glad that somebody took a chance and trusts my judgment. 8)

Even a stopped clock.... ; )
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 29, 2012, 04:15:31 PM
It's not being annoying when you're right, John.  ;D

I don't know if I'm right. Being right just doesn't feel right. :D

If you go back several pages, I get into a little squabble with a few members about the MTT recordings and why I preferred it to others, but at the end of the day we all have our favorites.
Title: Re: Re: Janáek (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 29, 2012, 04:15:52 PM
Even a stopped clock.... ; )

:D
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on May 29, 2012, 04:16:09 PM
And of course Brian still hasn't heard MTT's Sinfonietta or Glagolitic Mass.

In my defense, he did ask about the restored version of the score!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 29, 2012, 04:18:01 PM
In my defense, he did ask about the restored version of the score!

Yes, I know, but you've never answered the question I asked you back in November! In fact, you still haven't answered it! >:(
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 30, 2012, 01:17:04 AM
There is art in evading some questions! : )
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 30, 2012, 06:18:21 AM
There is art in evading some questions! : )

Evidently. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: ggluek on July 19, 2012, 06:57:03 PM
Hi Guys --

I'm relatively new to GMG, but not to Janacek, whose music I have been a fan of for 45 years -- long enough to have seen at least three revivals of interest in his music, each of which had more legs than the last.  Now I think he's made it into the standard repertoire, and is no longer a novelty.

I have owned and/or heard lots of recordings over the years, but wanted to mention one that earned a weird place in my heart.  MacKerras' first recorded attempt at bringing Janacek to English ears was a mid-1960s Sinfonietta, issued on the Golden Guinea series with what I presume was a pick-up band listed as the Pro Arte Orchestra.  I presume it was recorded late at night, after the players had come out of other concerts (and intervening bars), and they could barely essay music that was probably unfamiliar to many of them.  The performance was both absolutely harrowing, and altogether appropriate to the music.  It still sends shivers up and down my spine.  It's far from the be all and end all of Sinfoniettas, but it's elemental, and as such has a place in my heart.  Don't know if it's still available digitally.

cheers --
George
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on August 31, 2012, 03:22:24 AM
Sounds amazing. Could it be this one?

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: ggluek on August 31, 2012, 05:01:20 AM
Yes, I'm sure that's the one.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on October 05, 2012, 04:51:51 PM
Yesterday was my introduction to On An Overgrown Path.

As a result, I need to say: the last piece of the first series, The barn owl has not flown away, is incredible.

So haunting.  And so very modern. I could easily hear this in a film score somewhere.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: John Copeland on October 06, 2012, 02:26:11 AM
Yesterday was my introduction to On An Overgrown Path.

As a result, I need to say: the last piece of the first series, The barn owl has not flown away, is incredible.

So haunting.  And so very modern. I could easily hear this in a film score somewhere.

What a treat that must have been orfeo.  Something Janacek brought to piano pieces gives them a real atmosphere, it's always great when other folk hear the same.  An Overgrown Path is utter brilliance to me.  Despite it's modernity, it takes me here:  I am wandering along country wooded lanes in an autumn evening, heartbroken, at the turn of the last century.  It really does have a 'teleportation' quality.
Excellent.  It is such a wonderful set of wee pieces.  I am most happy you heard this and liked it, and great to see it being mentioned on GMG again.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on October 06, 2012, 02:34:18 PM
Yesterday was my introduction to On An Overgrown Path.

As a result, I need to say: the last piece of the first series, The barn owl has not flown away, is incredible.

So haunting.  And so very modern. I could easily hear this in a film score somewhere.
Good to read you like it. Just wait until you've heard In the mists, the string quartets, the violin sonata, Mládi, Sinfonietta, Glagolitic, and Ridakla!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on October 07, 2012, 03:21:11 PM
Good to read you like it. Just wait until you've heard In the mists, the string quartets, the violin sonata, Mládi, Sinfonietta, Glagolitic, and Ridakla!

Already know the Sinfonietta and Glagolitic Mass.  Just not from my new box set!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on October 07, 2012, 10:44:33 PM
Already know the Sinfonietta and Glagolitic Mass.  Just not from my new box set!
Excellent!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on December 19, 2012, 10:43:18 AM
Attention lovers of the original Glagolitic Mass:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Attention lovers of bad typos: Check out the first movement of Taras Bulba.  ;D )
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 19, 2012, 10:47:53 AM
Attention lovers of the original Glagolitic Mass:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Attention lovers of bad typos: Check out the first movement of Taras Bulba.  ;D )

Yes! I'm excited for this release, Brian! Hopefully, it will be a good one. Janowski is an excellent conductor.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on December 19, 2012, 12:39:36 PM
Yes! I'm excited for this release, Brian! Hopefully, it will be a good one. Janowski is an excellent conductor.
+∞
E:

Amazon DE release date: 20. November 2012!
http://www.amazon.de/Glagolitic-Taras-Soloists-RundfunkSinfonieorchester-Berlin/dp/B0085BFVHS/
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on December 19, 2012, 12:59:17 PM
I've had my eye on this set for quite a little time, I'm going to get it for Christmas:

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 19, 2012, 01:07:24 PM
I've had my eye on this set for quite a little time, I'm going to get it for Christmas:



A great set, Ilaria! You'll enjoy it.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on December 19, 2012, 01:16:39 PM
Yes! I'm excited for this release, Brian! Hopefully, it will be a good one. Janowski is an excellent conductor.
I requested a review copy from MusicWeb, so hopefully I'll be receiving it in the new year.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on December 19, 2012, 01:17:55 PM
A great set, Ilaria! You'll enjoy it.
+1
How well do you know Janacek, Ilaria? Do you have any other recordings?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on December 19, 2012, 01:54:24 PM
A great set, Ilaria! You'll enjoy it.

Thank you, John! I haven't also forgotten your suggestion about Mackerras' performances of the Janaceck operas; that's another set I'm definitely keen to listen to. :)

+1
How well do you know Janacek, Ilaria? Do you have any other recordings?

I'm not extremely familiar with Janacek's compositions yet, but I've loved what I've listend to very much (Sinfonietta, Glagolitic Mass, Overture Zarlivost, The Wandering of a Little Soul, Taras Bulba and The Cunning Little Vixen - Suite); that's why I would like to improve my knowledge of his music.
I've got these recordings so far:

Rudolf Kempe/RPO: Glagolitic Mass, Overture Zarlivost, The Cunning Little Vixen - Suite.
MTT/LSO: Glagolitic Mass, Sinfonietta.
Josef Suk/Vaclav Neumann/Czech Philharmonic: The Wandering of a Little Soul, Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on December 19, 2012, 02:14:12 PM
Thank you, John! I haven't also forgotten your suggestion about Mackerras' performances of the Janaceck operas; that's another set I'm definitely keen to listen to. :)

I'm not extremely familiar with Janacek's compositions yet, but I've loved what I've listend to very much (Sinfonietta, Glagolitic Mass, Overture Zarlivost, The Wandering of a Little Soul, Taras Bulba and The Cunning Little Vixen - Suite); that's why I would like to improve my knowledge of his music.
I've got these recordings so far:

Rudolf Kempe/RPO: Glagolitic Mass, Overture Zarlivost, The Cunning Little Vixen - Suite.
MTT/LSO: Glagolitic Mass, Sinfonietta.
Josef Suk/Vaclav Neumann/Czech Philharmonic: The Wandering of a Little Soul, Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba.

You definitely need the operas, and Mackerras's Decca box is an economic way to get excellent performances, but there's no libretti, and the Wiener Philharmoniker aren't exactly idiomatic.
You might perhaps consider these, for starters:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZHTR0QFDL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.it/Janacek-From-House-Czech-PO/dp/B000023YXI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1355954448&sr=8-3) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61UjqfaWUsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.it/Janácek-The-Cunning-Little-Vixen/dp/B0000262LZ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1355954448&sr=8-4)

But the chamber music and piano works should definitely be the next stop for you.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 19, 2012, 02:17:37 PM
I requested a review copy from MusicWeb, so hopefully I'll John will be receiving it in the new year.

There...corrected. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 19, 2012, 02:21:48 PM
and the Wiener Philharmoniker aren't exactly idiomatic.

So what? I never understood this. The London Symphony Orchestra could play the hell out of Janacek and they're not Czech. I never understood the notion that just because an orchestra, or conductor, isn't of the composer they're performing nationality that they somehow wouldn't sound right for the music. I've heard much better recordings of Janacek's music from a non-Czech conductor and orchestra than I have of the real thing. Sorry, I just don't buy into your whole 'idiomatic' opinion. This MEANS NOTHING in music performance.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on December 19, 2012, 02:40:00 PM
Hmmm, I guess it's not a huge mystery who got that one copy from German Amazon's stock... ;D


So what? I never understood this. The London Symphony Orchestra could play the hell out of Janacek and they're not Czech. I never understood the notion that just because an orchestra, or conductor, isn't of the composer they're performing nationality that they somehow wouldn't sound right for the music. I've heard much better recordings of Janacek's music from a non-Czech conductor and orchestra than I have of the real thing. Sorry, I just don't buy into your whole 'idiomatic' opinion. This MEANS NOTHING in music performance.
You mean that the unique sound of the Czech orchestras doesn't make even the slightest difference?
I didn't mean they can't play the music well, but with Janacek so much has to do with the local speech patterns and folk music, and I find pronunciation and orchestral tone to be important. Of course there are singers like Soukupova and Blachut in the Mackerras box, so that isn't an issue.
Anyway, the Mackerras & WP recordings are great, too - forgot to add that earlier.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on December 19, 2012, 03:21:29 PM
You definitely need the operas, and Mackerras's Decca box is an economic way to get excellent performances, but there's no libretti, and the Wiener Philharmoniker aren't exactly idiomatic.
You might perhaps consider these, for starters:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZHTR0QFDL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.it/Janacek-From-House-Czech-PO/dp/B000023YXI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1355954448&sr=8-3) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61UjqfaWUsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.it/Janácek-The-Cunning-Little-Vixen/dp/B0000262LZ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1355954448&sr=8-4)

But the chamber music and piano works should definitely be the next stop for you.

Thank you for the feedback, Karlo! I'll certainly get Janacek's operas at some point, all these sets look excellent; I had only considered the Mackerras/VPO set so far, but I think the Neumann could be amazing as well ( he and the Czech Philharmonic are a winning combination, and moreover it's rather hard to beat the CPO in Czech composers :)). It's not a great problem if there's no libretti in Mackerras' box, I usually prefer to concentrate on the music.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on December 19, 2012, 03:53:31 PM
Thank you for the feedback, Karlo! I'll certainly get Janacek's operas at some point, all these sets look excellent; I had only considered the Mackerras/VPO set so far, but I think the Neumann could be amazing as well ( he and the Czech Philharmonic are a winning combination, and moreover it's rather hard to beat the CPO in Czech composers :)). It's not a great problem if there's no libretti in Mackerras' box, I usually prefer to concentrate on the music.
I'm not reading the libretto most of time I'm listening, either. If libretti don't matter at all, even in somewhat stranger operas, definitely get the Mackerras box first thing.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 19, 2012, 03:58:26 PM

You mean that the unique sound of the Czech orchestras doesn't make even the slightest difference?
I didn't mean they can't play the music well, but with Janacek so much has to do with the local speech patterns and folk music, and I find pronunciation and orchestral tone to be important. Of course there are singers like Soukupova and Blachut in the Mackerras box, so that isn't an issue.
Anyway, the Mackerras & WP recordings are great, too - forgot to add that earlier.

Not when you have conductors and/or performers who study Czech music, and if the performer is a vocalist, the dialect of the Czech language. It can be learned. The bottom line is simple: music is a universal language. You can listen to Elgar played by a German orchestra or an American composer played by a Finnish orchestra and it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference because the music will always speak it's own language. What the conductor or performers interpret, on the other hand, will always be different.

Edit: Please don't take offense by anything I'm writing to you, Karlo. I have nothing but good intentions. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on December 19, 2012, 04:32:07 PM
I'm not reading the libretto most of time I'm listening, either. If libretti don't matter at all, even in somewhat stranger operas, definitely get the Mackerras box first thing.

I don't say that they don't care at all, because, besides music, I would like to know what I'm listening to in an opera, especially if it is sung in a language I don't understand. Not to mention that libretti are usually great examples of poetry! Anyway thank you for all your suggestions. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on March 05, 2013, 05:11:18 AM
I've had my eye on this set for quite a little time, I'm going to get it for Christmas:



My introduction to Janacek, which I am still working through, but so far so VERY good.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on March 06, 2013, 06:45:29 PM
If anybody has the score of the Sinfonietta (Luke???) - can you post the composer's full dedication? I'd always assumed that it was dedicated to military forces by which it was premiered, but I just read that it is "also" dedicated to an Englishwoman named Rosa Newmarch.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on March 07, 2013, 08:49:25 AM
If anybody has the score of the Sinfonietta (Luke???) - can you post the composer's full dedication? I'd always assumed that it was dedicated to military forces by which it was premiered, but I just read that it is "also" dedicated to an Englishwoman named Rosa Newmarch.

I'll check the fine print when I get home!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on March 07, 2013, 08:51:48 AM
Rosa Newmarch was quite an important figure in Janacek's life, however. She was the guiding force behind his trip to London in 1926; she also wrote about his music quite early on for the English-speaking world

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Newmarch

Somewhere I have her six volumes 'The Concert-goers Library'...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MishaK on March 07, 2013, 02:30:14 PM
Is there a good English language (or for that matter German language) biography of Janacek? Thanks.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on March 07, 2013, 02:51:44 PM
1st - Brian, there is no official dedication in the score of the Sinfonietta.

2nd - Misha - there are a few good biographies, but by far the best and most exhaustively complete are the two massive volumes by John Tyrell, the pre-eminent Janacek scholar of the non-Czech-speaking world. He is responsible for most of the essential Janacek volumes - notably his edition of the correspondence regarding the operas; his edition of Janacek's letters to Kamilla; his edition of Zdenka's own memoirs - but these two monumental tomes, fairly recently completed, are his life's work and show an understanding of Janacek and his world that is unbeatable. There are other very good, smaller books on Janacek's life-and-works, though. Personally I am very fond of the Horsbrugh one, which has a tone I find endearing.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on March 09, 2013, 07:17:04 AM
Thank you, Luke! That... makes matters even more confusing  ;D
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 26, 2013, 08:27:25 AM
Whoops! Where'd that darned № 2 go? . . .
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on July 19, 2013, 09:49:18 AM
MusicWeb just posted my evisceration of the new Marek Janowski Glagolitic Mass:

"...then the wheels really came off the Janowski recording, and the doors fell off, and the engine burst into flames. More or less any fast or loud bits of this performance are as energetic, strong-willed, bold and exciting as a bowl of Jell-O.

"I’ll be honest: there was no recording in 2013 for which I was more excited than this. I’d been eager to hear it. The original, uncut Mass! Marek Janowski! State-of-the-art surround sound! If it had been merely pretty good, that would have been one thing. If it had been mediocre, I would have been sorely disappointed. But it’s not even mediocre. It’s saddening. It’s heartbreaking. This is bad. This is not the perverse, fun, oddball kind of bad. It’s the dull, limp, pitiful, shambolic kind of bad. Given the missed opportunity it represents, this is the worst Janáček CD I have ever heard."

Full write-up (http://musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/July13/Janacek_mass_PTC5186388.htm)

(http://musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/July13/Janacek_mass_PTC5186388.jpg)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on August 14, 2013, 04:46:41 AM
I just listened to Pohadka (Fairytale) for the first time.

Absolutely magical!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on August 14, 2013, 04:49:49 AM
Pohadka is a magnificent piece, Orfeo!

Bah, we forgot to celebrate the 85th anniversary of his death on Monday.  (3 July 1854 – 12 August 1928)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on August 28, 2013, 07:08:07 AM
Man, it gets none of the limelight, but the 9-minute incidental music to Schluck und Jau is the BOMB. I often listen two or three times in a row. As intensely Janacek-y as all the mature masterworks.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on August 28, 2013, 07:12:46 AM
Man, it gets none of the limelight, but the 9-minute incidental music to Schluck und Jau is the BOMB. I often listen two or three times in a row. As intensely Janacek-y as all the mature masterworks.
Hm, I haven't paid enough attention to this, I'll definitely listen to this later (Neumann & CzPO on Supraphon)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 28, 2013, 07:16:46 AM
Man, it gets none of the limelight, but the 9-minute incidental music to Schluck und Jau is the BOMB.

Schock und awe, eh?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brewski on August 28, 2013, 07:23:46 AM
MusicWeb just posted my evisceration of the new Marek Janowski Glagolitic Mass:

"...then the wheels really came off the Janowski recording, and the doors fell off, and the engine burst into flames. More or less any fast or loud bits of this performance are as energetic, strong-willed, bold and exciting as a bowl of Jell-O.

"I’ll be honest: there was no recording in 2013 for which I was more excited than this. I’d been eager to hear it. The original, uncut Mass! Marek Janowski! State-of-the-art surround sound! If it had been merely pretty good, that would have been one thing. If it had been mediocre, I would have been sorely disappointed. But it’s not even mediocre. It’s saddening. It’s heartbreaking. This is bad. This is not the perverse, fun, oddball kind of bad. It’s the dull, limp, pitiful, shambolic kind of bad. Given the missed opportunity it represents, this is the worst Janáček CD I have ever heard."

Full write-up (http://musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/July13/Janacek_mass_PTC5186388.htm)

(http://musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/July13/Janacek_mass_PTC5186388.jpg)

Just saw this - ouch! What a shame...

--Bruce
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on September 23, 2013, 05:03:21 AM
Does anyone know where I might find the text for Rikadla (nursery rhymes) online?

Here's the thing: I know I saw it somewhere, when I didn't need it. Now that I want it (there's no text in the otherwise excellent Decca box set) I can't find it. (EDIT: It's possible that what I found before was just the titles of the sections, rather than the full text. Even the section titles are missing from Decca).

I know they're basically nonsense verses, but it'd be far more entertaining to know exactly what kind of nonsense!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on September 23, 2013, 05:12:23 AM
Does anyone know where I might find the text for Rikadla (nursery rhymes) online?

Here's the thing: I know I saw it somewhere, when I didn't need it. Now that I want it (there's no text in the otherwise excellent Decca box set) I can't find it. (EDIT: It's possible that what I found before was just the titles of the sections, rather than the full text. Even the section titles are missing from Decca).

I know they're basically nonsense verses, but it'd be far more entertaining to know exactly what kind of nonsense!

Here (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/notes/55398-B.pdf)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on September 23, 2013, 05:13:40 AM
Thanks, found it there myself just before seeing your reply! I should always remember Hyperion as a first port of call, they've helped me a number of times.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Opus106 on September 23, 2013, 05:17:01 AM
Direct link to PDF file from Hyperion (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/notes/55398-B.pdf)

If you know that a piece has been recorded by Hyperion, Chandos, Naxos or Soli Deo Gloria (that's Gardiner's private label) you can usually download the notes for free, from their respective websites (assuming the disc is still in print and has a dedicated page to it, of course).
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on April 07, 2014, 11:47:54 AM
Yes :( .

I liked No. 1 better, but that doesn't say much. Not that I thought they were bad, but they weren't for me right now. And that doesn't say much (about me) because I usually like large ensemble/orchestral music. In fact, the quartets that I listed (along with Bartok No. 3) are pretty much the only ones that I listen to regularly. Quartets are great fun to play in, but I don't like listening to them so much.

What orchestral works of Janacek are your favorite? What should I hear next?

The Violin Concerto 'The Wanderding of a Little Soul', Sinfonietta and Taras Bulba - in that order (same answer to either question)
https://www.youtube.com/v/9S-tz2jR05c   https://www.youtube.com/v/PScaxSwGa6o  https://www.youtube.com/v/NH0e14TKa4M
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: EigenUser on April 08, 2014, 04:55:22 PM
The Violin Concerto 'The Wanderding of a Little Soul', Sinfonietta and Taras Bulba - in that order (same answer to either question)
https://www.youtube.com/v/9S-tz2jR05c   https://www.youtube.com/v/PScaxSwGa6o  https://www.youtube.com/v/NH0e14TKa4M
I listened to the violin concerto and the "Sinfonietta". I don't like them that much, but I'm glad that I've heard them. Just started "Taras Bulba", which I like a little bit more so far.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 08, 2014, 05:09:54 PM
What is it you don't like about these works, Nate? Could you elaborate a bit more?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: EigenUser on April 08, 2014, 05:29:54 PM
What is it you don't like about these works, Nate? Could you elaborate a bit more?
Well, since you asked  0:)
In the two quartets and the Sinfonietta the writing seems to be all over the place. To me, it sounds like a very good composer who can't quite make up his mind on where he wants his music to go. To a lesser extent, there was this accompanying motif that he likes to use (particularly in the Sinfonietta, the two quartets, and the violin concerto) that I just didn't like. I'm not sure why -- just a personal preference, I guess. It wouldn't have bothered me if it was used more sparingly, but it isn't.

I actually did like the "Taras Bulba" significantly more than the others. I also liked aspects of the works I listed above (harmonies and general folksy-spirit).
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 08, 2014, 05:35:12 PM
Well, since you asked  0:)
In the two quartets and the Sinfonietta the writing seems to be all over the place. To me, it sounds like a very good composer who can't quite make up his mind on where he wants his music to go. To a lesser extent, there was this accompanying motif that he likes to use (particularly in the Sinfonietta, the two quartets, and the violin concerto) that I just didn't like. I'm not sure why -- just a personal preference, I guess. It wouldn't have bothered me if it was used more sparingly, but it isn't.

I actually did like the "Taras Bulba" significantly more than the others. I also liked aspects of the works I listed above (harmonies and general folksy-spirit).

The reason I asked is because Janacek is a sentimental favorite of mine as I was exposed to his music as a kid. My dad always would tell me about how he had learn the opening of Sinfonietta when he was in band in high school. I think he was a brilliant composer and others will disagree of course, but the 'roughness' of his music is very appealing to me whereas for someone else this might seem distracting and quite jarring to listen to. As I have stated on this forum before, I think Kata Kabanova is one of the most magnificent pieces of music ever composed and, yes, it's an opera. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on April 09, 2014, 03:52:42 AM
Well, since you asked  0:)
In the two quartets and the Sinfonietta the writing seems to be all over the place.

Gah!! Must...not...attack!!

Having just seen it again, for the third time, I can inform you that the Sinfonietta is one of my top five favorite pieces to see live, because the live experience is so thrilling. Also on the list: Havergal Brian's Gothic; Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique; Mahler's Third; and I haven't decided on the fifth one.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: snyprrr on April 09, 2014, 08:07:13 AM
Gah!! Must...not...attack!!

Having just seen it again, for the third time, I can inform you that the Sinfonietta is one of my top five favorite pieces to see live, because the live experience is so thrilling. Also on the list: Havergal Brian's Gothic; Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique; Mahler's Third; and I haven't decided on the fifth one.

Down boy! He didn't mean it, he's new... wait... what?... ATTACK ATTACK!! No one never not liked Janacek 'round these here parts. Wha?... who?...
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 20, 2014, 06:35:41 AM
Perhaps it's time for us to prod Nate into trying again..
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: EigenUser on May 20, 2014, 07:16:24 AM
Perhaps it's time for us to prod Nate into trying again..
Janacek is one composer so far that I've heard that I just don't like. I guess he's popular enough, so I don't feel too bad saying this. But, I will try again at some point. Just not the "Sinfonietta" -- I really didn't like that piece. *runs for his life*
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 20, 2014, 07:22:34 AM
Some suggestions..


https://www.youtube.com/v/C4uEigfuTRs   https://www.youtube.com/v/a79nSbmy69U   https://www.youtube.com/v/nOaiD7DHO2o
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 20, 2014, 07:25:02 AM
. . . Just not the "Sinfonietta" -- I really didn't like that piece. *runs for his life*

But, you know . . . ten years from now, maybe you'll find you really do like it :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 20, 2014, 11:15:37 AM
Janacek is one composer so far that I've heard that I just don't like....But, I will try again at some point. Just not the "Sinfonietta" -- I really didn't like that piece. *runs for his life*

Them's fightin' words


(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/asheville/1408.gif)                          EigenUser
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: EigenUser on May 20, 2014, 11:25:57 AM
*ducks for cover*

I liked the suite from "The Cunning Little Vixen", though.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 20, 2014, 11:42:34 AM
*ducks for cover*

I liked the suite from "The Cunning Little Vixen", though.
:)
Not the others, though?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: EigenUser on May 20, 2014, 11:49:44 AM
:)
Not the others, though?
I didn't like the first one at all, but I haven't heard the third one yet. I'll get to it later and report back.

By the way, nice photography Janacekian! That shouldn't mean much coming from be because I am not at all artistic, but all I can say is that they look like those perfect-looking pictures that come loaded on Windows/OSX/etc.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on May 20, 2014, 12:28:27 PM
I love Janacek's works because every one of them breathes passion, many other C20 composers sound as if they are thinking 'hum, what next?' every few bars. There's a flute concerto by a well-known American composer where the flute enters goes up a bit, hesitates, goes down a bit, hesitates... and I turn it off. Janacek never hesitates.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 20, 2014, 01:03:01 PM
I didn't like the first one at all, but I haven't heard the third one yet. I'll get to it later and report back.

By the way, nice photography Janacekian! That shouldn't mean much coming from be because I am not at all artistic, but all I can say is that they look like those perfect-looking pictures that come loaded on Windows/OSX/etc.
Hm, I thought you'd like it, since I think Ligeti's Sippal... reminds me of Rikadla. But then again, I'm not sure if you even like the Ligeti piece..  ::)

Thanks!  :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: EigenUser on May 20, 2014, 01:06:37 PM
Hm, I thought you'd like it, since I think Ligeti's Sippal... reminds me of Rikadla. But then again, I'm not sure if you even like the Ligeti piece..  ::)

Thanks!  :)
I don't usually care for songs. I think that the reason I like "Sippal..." is because it is just so out there and imaginative with all of the slide whistles and such, but he actually makes it work (it doesn't just sound like he's playing around with different percussion instruments).
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: snyprrr on May 21, 2014, 07:18:02 AM
Janacek is one composer so far that I've heard that I just don't like. I guess he's popular enough, so I don't feel too bad saying this. But, I will try again at some point. Just not the "Sinfonietta" -- I really didn't like that piece. *runs for his life*

I was somewhat mocked by my two buds yesterday for playing the Mackerras 'Sinfonietta'. It's funny, but usually when my musical choice is being mocked, I always hear it from their perspective, and how ridiculous all this bom-bah sounds to them, and I usually turn it off, horrified that I listen to such garbage! :-[

But, yesterday, with my friends mocking the 'Sinfonietta'- the ONE CRITICISM every NORMIE has about ANY Classical Music is that it "SOUNDS LIKE A MOVIE"!!- and, obviously, the Sinfonietta is no different. At least my friends could pick 'what was happening'- snow storm, train ride, and so forth- lolz ensued!- but I did not feel ashamed because of the Sinfonietta. Sure, it is "culturally programmatic", or "movie like", or "just typical classical music that normies think sounds like StarWars", but, for me not to actually feel their embarrassment says something about Janacek's invention. He flits back and forth quickly, so that the mockers attention is taken up and their mocking is, at least, turned into some kind of familiarity by the end (I couldn't believe it played to the end of the conversation- unheard of!!).

So, at least as far as that classic Mackerras goes (and I have NEVER recommended any other recording but that one- as The Only One!), it has stood the test of time and redneck mockers to remain at least at the base of my foundation of 20th century music (or, frankly, classical "movie" music in general). My friend would rather have heard LvB 9 (oh, such an individual ::)).

But, just tell me what it is you don't like about the first 30 seconds of the Sinfonietta? On the Mackerras, those trumpets and drums have an impact like no other recording.

bah-bah-bah-bah-bah DUN-DUN-DUN- - Dun Dun - mm
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 21, 2014, 07:35:39 AM
I was somewhat mocked by my two buds yesterday for playing the Mackerras 'Sinfonietta'. It's funny, but usually when my musical choice is being mocked, I always hear it from their perspective, and how ridiculous all this bom-bah sounds to them, and I usually turn it off, horrified that I listen to such garbage! :-[

But, yesterday, with my friends mocking the 'Sinfonietta'- the ONE CRITICISM every NORMIE has about ANY Classical Music is that it "SOUNDS LIKE A MOVIE"!!- and, obviously, the Sinfonietta is no different. At least my friends could pick 'what was happening'- snow storm, train ride, and so forth- lolz ensued!- but I did not feel ashamed because of the Sinfonietta. Sure, it is "culturally programmatic", or "movie like", or "just typical classical music that normies think sounds like StarWars", but, for me not to actually feel their embarrassment says something about Janacek's invention. He flits back and forth quickly, so that the mockers attention is taken up and their mocking is, at least, turned into some kind of familiarity by the end (I couldn't believe it played to the end of the conversation- unheard of!!).

So, at least as far as that classic Mackerras goes (and I have NEVER recommended any other recording but that one- as The Only One!), it has stood the test of time and redneck mockers to remain at least at the base of my foundation of 20th century music (or, frankly, classical "movie" music in general). My friend would rather have heard LvB 9 (oh, such an individual ::)).

But, just tell me what it is you don't like about the first 30 seconds of the Sinfonietta? On the Mackerras, those trumpets and drums have an impact like no other recording.

bah-bah-bah-bah-bah DUN-DUN-DUN- - Dun Dun - mm
Which of the three do you mean, Supraphon, EMI or Decca? (I only know & own the EMI & Decca Mackerras Sinfoniettas)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 21, 2014, 07:54:43 AM
I love the Sinfonietta.  Curiously, it was somehow not a piece which WCRB would play to death . . . .
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 21, 2014, 08:04:02 AM
I love the Sinfonietta.  Curiously, it was somehow not a piece which WCRB would play to death . . . .
Perhaps we should thank Leoš for omitting the descriptive names, as that could have changed things. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: snyprrr on May 21, 2014, 09:52:17 AM
Which of the three do you mean, Supraphon, EMI or Decca? (I only know & own the EMI & Decca Mackerras Sinfoniettas)

Decca
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: EigenUser on May 21, 2014, 10:37:06 AM
I was somewhat mocked by my two buds yesterday for playing the Mackerras 'Sinfonietta'. It's funny, but usually when my musical choice is being mocked, I always hear it from their perspective, and how ridiculous all this bom-bah sounds to them, and I usually turn it off, horrified that I listen to such garbage! :-[

But, yesterday, with my friends mocking the 'Sinfonietta'- the ONE CRITICISM every NORMIE has about ANY Classical Music is that it "SOUNDS LIKE A MOVIE"!!- and, obviously, the Sinfonietta is no different. At least my friends could pick 'what was happening'- snow storm, train ride, and so forth- lolz ensued!- but I did not feel ashamed because of the Sinfonietta. Sure, it is "culturally programmatic", or "movie like", or "just typical classical music that normies think sounds like StarWars", but, for me not to actually feel their embarrassment says something about Janacek's invention. He flits back and forth quickly, so that the mockers attention is taken up and their mocking is, at least, turned into some kind of familiarity by the end (I couldn't believe it played to the end of the conversation- unheard of!!).

So, at least as far as that classic Mackerras goes (and I have NEVER recommended any other recording but that one- as The Only One!), it has stood the test of time and redneck mockers to remain at least at the base of my foundation of 20th century music (or, frankly, classical "movie" music in general). My friend would rather have heard LvB 9 (oh, such an individual ::)).

But, just tell me what it is you don't like about the first 30 seconds of the Sinfonietta? On the Mackerras, those trumpets and drums have an impact like no other recording.

bah-bah-bah-bah-bah DUN-DUN-DUN- - Dun Dun - mm
I just though that it was annoying, repetitive, and I didn't like what was being repeated.

I'm a dead man. :o (well, you did ask ;))
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 21, 2014, 10:55:11 AM
I just though that it was annoying, repetitive, and I didn't like what was being repeated.

I'm a dead man. :o (well, you did ask ;))
You might be exhonorated if you listened to some of the operas.  8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 21, 2014, 11:05:52 AM
I just though that it was annoying, repetitive, and I didn't like what was being repeated.

I'm a dead man. :o (well, you did ask ;))

If you are talking about the fanfares (first and last movements)...well, yes, they are repetitive. That's the nature of fanfares. I loved it from first listen (age 18, I think) but I recall my best friend's sister going baliistic when we repeated that first movement track several times. She came out of her room threatening bodily harm if we didn't play something else  ;D Apparently the music does annoy certain people.

Sarge
Title: Re: Re: Janáek (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 21, 2014, 11:47:12 AM
Apparently the music does annoy certain people.

Sarge

Clearly, a highly useful piece of intelligence 8)
Title: Re: Re: Janáek (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 21, 2014, 11:51:32 AM
Clearly, a highly useful piece of intelligence 8)

...if one wants to avert bodily harm, yes  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on May 23, 2014, 03:55:48 AM
I actually find Janacek far more 'movie-like' than almost any other composer. The fragmentary nature of the material is very modern, and atmospheric.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 23, 2014, 04:03:09 AM
...if one wants to avert bodily harm, yes  8)

Sarge

As Bertram would say, the cornerstone of my policy!

Thread Duty:

It has got to be time for me to hunker down and listen to a few of the operas.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2014, 05:14:29 AM

It has got to be time for me to hunker down and listen to a few of the operas.

Please listen to Kata Kabanova, Karl. I think you'll enjoy it. Some of the best music Janacek ever wrote IMHO.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: ZauberdrachenNr.7 on August 05, 2014, 03:38:11 AM
I thought this a very moving performance by a quartet of young'uns (Quartet Noce) of the first movement of Janáček's Kreutzer from NPR's From the Top.  Starts at 21:  http://www.fromthetop.org/content/listen-show-283-boston-massachusetts
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 09, 2014, 11:55:23 AM
I listened to Janáček's Jenufa for the first time two months; it was my introduction to Janáček's operas as well as Czech opera in general, and I absolutely enjoyed it; what a stunning masterpiece! :D The melody is very dramatic, colourful and suggestive, it seems to have an incredible realism and expressiveness! I was really impressed by the  brilliant orchestration, it creates so thrilling, hauntingly beautiful atmospheres and so deep, vivid emotions (the xylphone is wonderful to depicts the inexorable flow of the time, of the vanes of the mill, but also the Laca's sharp knife); the incisiveness of the musical texture, with the use of dissonances, irregular rhythms, sudden transitions, ostinati, is absolutely mesmerizing. I loved that sort of slavonic dance in the first act, when Steva called for music and started to dance with the group of soldiers, the girls and the musicians.
Kostelnička is a very interesting and complex character, she somehow remembers me the Wotan of Das Rheingold: both of them are the leading guide of their people, both of them rule with law and justice, but they try to evade them to impose their will; both of them commit a terrible act against Nature and create the conditions for their own end, but also eventually both of them come to redemption.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on September 09, 2014, 12:01:52 PM
Splendid post, Ilaria! Have you heard some of the other operas yet?
(note to self: next thing I buy will be the rest of the mature Janáček operas...)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 09, 2014, 12:26:46 PM
Splendid post, Ilaria! Have you heard some of the other operas yet?
(note to self: next thing I buy will be the rest of the mature Janáček operas...)

Thank you, Karlo! Not yet, but I'm looking forward to listening to more; do you have any suggestion?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on September 09, 2014, 12:38:08 PM
Thank you, Karlo! Not yet, but I'm looking forward to listening to more; do you have any suggestion?
Oh, you're in for a treat with Cunning Little Vixen, Makropulos Affair, House of the Dead, Káťa Kabanová and The Excursions of Mr. Brouček (I need to listen to that one again myself, too)  8)
I know Vixen and House most well, but perhaps it's a good idea to listen to them chronologically (Brouček, Kát'a, Vixen, Makropulos, House of the Dead)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 09, 2014, 12:54:41 PM
Oh, you're in for a treat with Cunning Little Vixen, Makropulos Affair, House of the Dead, Káťa Kabanová and The Excursions of Mr. Brouček (I need to listen to that one again myself, too)  8)
I know Vixen and House most well, but perhaps it's a good idea to listen to them chronologically (Brouček, Kát'a, Vixen, Makropulos, House of the Dead)

Thank you very much! Yes, the chronological order is fine, it would be nice to listen to how Janacek's style develops in his operas; I don't know the Cunning Little Vixen (apart from the orchestral suite), but it's a famous work, I've already heard about it; The House of the Dead sounds great since I have read Dostoevsky's novel.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 09, 2014, 05:26:19 PM
I listened to Janáček's Jenufa for the first time two months; it was my introduction to Janáček's operas as well as Czech opera in general, and I absolutely enjoyed it; what a stunning masterpiece! :D The melody is very dramatic, colourful and suggestive, it seems to have an incredible realism and expressiveness! I was really impressed by the  brilliant orchestration, it creates so thrilling, hauntingly beautiful atmospheres and so deep, vivid emotions (the xylphone is wonderful to depicts the inexorable flow of the time, of the vanes of the mill, but also the Laca's sharp knife); the incisiveness of the musical texture, with the use of dissonances, irregular rhythms, sudden transitions, ostinati, is absolutely mesmerizing. I loved that sort of slavonic dance in the first act, when Steva called for music and started to dance with the group of soldiers, the girls and the musicians.
Kostelnička is a very interesting and complex character, she somehow remembers me the Wotan of Das Rheingold: both of them are the leading guide of their people, both of them rule with law and justice, but they try to evade them to impose their will; both of them commit a terrible act against Nature and create the conditions for their own end, but also eventually both of them come to redemption.

Excellent, Ilaria! Jenufa is a very good opera. My favorite Janáček opera, however, is Káťa Kabanová. This opera, next to Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, may very well be my favorite opera by any composer. That's how fantastic I think this Janáček is! 8) Can't wait to read more of your comments regarding this composer's operas.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 09, 2014, 05:37:59 PM
Thanks for the opera discussion on Janacek, and keep them going!  8)
Two decades ago I started listening to Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba and Glagolitic Mass. A decade ago I discovered the Strings Quartets and Violin Sonata (thanks in part to the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being), and just now I'm getting into Janacek's other chamber works (phenomenal piano music) and various orchestral suites. All just tremendously excellent music. 
I have heard most of The Cunning Little Vixen, and do have Káťa Kabanová in my MP3 collection but haven't listened to it. Well need to catch up on his opera for sure. Just ordered a bunch of chamber music and the Decca Box Set, once I get through those perhaps I'll move on to the operas.
I know John and I share the same high praise for the MTT/LSO Mass & Sinfonietta disc, that's a desert island disc.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 09, 2014, 05:44:18 PM
I know John and I share the same high praise for the MTT/LSO Mass & Sinfonietta disc, that's a desert island disc.

YES! A desert island disc indeed. 8)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Lisztianwagner on September 10, 2014, 01:36:23 AM
Excellent, Ilaria! Jenufa is a very good opera. My favorite Janáček opera, however, is Káťa Kabanová. This opera, next to Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, may very well be my favorite opera by any composer. That's how fantastic I think this Janáček is! 8) Can't wait to read more of your comments regarding this composer's operas.

Thank you, John! If I listened to Janáček's operas in chronological order (those ones comprised in the Mackerras box set), Káťa Kabanová would be the next one; I've read the plot, it sounds very enchanting. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 10, 2014, 04:49:42 AM
Thank you, John! If I listened to Janáček's operas in chronological order (those ones comprised in the Mackerras box set), Káťa Kabanová would be the next one; I've read the plot, it sounds very enchanting. :)

You're welcome, Ilaria. Káťa Kabanová is, in a way, autobiographical because Janáček had fallen in love with this woman and she was the inspiration behind several of his works.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Luke on September 10, 2014, 04:51:23 AM
To put it mildly....!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on September 10, 2014, 05:00:18 AM
I know John and I share the same high praise for the MTT/LSO Mass & Sinfonietta disc, that's a desert island disc.
Great, now I'm really mad that when I ordered that disc it got lost in the mail and the seller refunded.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 10, 2014, 05:23:54 AM
Great, now I'm really mad that when I ordered that disc it got lost in the mail and the seller refunded.

Have you tried acquiring another copy, Brian?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 10, 2014, 05:49:16 AM
Have you tried acquiring another copy, Brian?

+1

Was just about to thank Brian for that nudge to find me a copy of that 'un.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on September 10, 2014, 05:50:24 AM
+1

Was just about to thank Brian for that nudge to find me a copy of that 'un.

It's a great recording that's for sure. It's quite the treat to hear MTT in Janáček.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 11, 2014, 03:32:09 PM
This movement belongs in a Terence Malick film, it's lyrical, charming, theatrical and most of all, full of life. Leoš composed a calm subtlety as good as any of them...

Leoš Janáček - Idyll for string orchestra, Mvt. V (Adagio)

https://www.youtube.com/v/3dItG8VMaM0
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 12, 2014, 04:34:36 AM
Viz. my Taras Bulba mini-death-match  8)

Ančerl is, of course, a faultless, consummately musical interpreter.  I especially love the warm tones of the organ in Smrt Andrijova, and (everywhere) the full-blooded voice of the violas.  The full orchestra at the end of the third movement is, I think, not well served by the sound stage, at the dynamic peak the effect is glare-ish.

For the Dohnányi, I might wish the organ had not been quite so recessed for Smrt Andrijova;  but the orchestra's sound is so exquisite, the recording is so clean . . . overall, I do not repent of my arguably hasty assessment that this might be my preferred account of the piece.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 12, 2014, 04:53:37 AM
Viz. my Taras Bulba mini-death-match  8)

Ančerl is, of course, a faultless, consummately musical interpreter.  I especially love the warm tones of the organ in Smrt Andrijova, and (everywhere) the full-blooded voice of the violas.  The full orchestra at the end of the third movement is, I think, not well served by the sound stage, at the dynamic peak the effect is glare-ish.

For the Dohnányi, I might wish the organ had not been quite so recessed for Smrt Andrijova;  but the orchestra's sound is so exquisite, the recording is so clean . . . overall, I do not repent of my arguably hasty assessment that this might be my preferred account of the piece.

Yes, the closing passage in the Dohnányi/Cleveland recording is eye-tearingly delicious.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 12, 2014, 04:56:12 AM
Viz. my Taras Bulba mini-death-match  8)

Ančerl is, of course, a faultless, consummately musical interpreter.  I especially love the warm tones of the organ in Smrt Andrijova, and (everywhere) the full-blooded voice of the violas.  The full orchestra at the end of the third movement is, I think, not well served by the sound stage, at the dynamic peak the effect is glare-ish.

For the Dohnányi, I might wish the organ had not been quite so recessed for Smrt Andrijova;  but the orchestra's sound is so exquisite, the recording is so clean . . . overall, I do not repent of my arguably hasty assessment that this might be my preferred account of the piece.

Very nice, Karl. Thanks for the write up.
In addition to the Dohnanyi, I own, or have heard, Mackerras, Gardiner, Wit and Pesek. All good, bringing something different to the music, but I really love the way Pesek drags out the ending, a real dramatic punch with what sounds like 20 horns!  And I always listen for that organ, I prefer it with a strong presence.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on September 12, 2014, 04:59:51 AM
Viz. my Taras Bulba mini-death-match  8)

Ančerl is, of course, a faultless, consummately musical interpreter.  I especially love the warm tones of the organ in Smrt Andrijova, and (everywhere) the full-blooded voice of the violas.  The full orchestra at the end of the third movement is, I think, not well served by the sound stage, at the dynamic peak the effect is glare-ish.

For the Dohnányi, I might wish the organ had not been quite so recessed for Smrt Andrijova;  but the orchestra's sound is so exquisite, the recording is so clean . . . overall, I do not repent of my arguably hasty assessment that this might be my preferred account of the piece.
Thanks for the comparison, Karl! Now, if the Dohnányi only wasn't so frightfully expensive..  :-X
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 13, 2014, 03:48:36 AM
For the Dohnányi, I might wish the organ had not been quite so recessed for Smrt Andrijova;  but the orchestra's sound is so exquisite, the recording is so clean . . . overall, I do not repent of my arguably hasty assessment that this might be my preferred account of the piece.

I've never done a comparison (I own Mack, Ancerl, A.Davis and Dohnányi). Don't know which I prefer. This, though, makes me hunger for a fifth version:

I really love the way Pesek drags out the ending, a real dramatic punch with what sounds like 20 horns!


Sarge

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Wanderer on October 04, 2014, 10:46:45 PM
.



I already had the sublime RR issue of Serebrier's Janáček (Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba, Lachian Dances) and recently got the twofer repackaging for the opera preludes and suites. Equally captivating, in exemplary RR sonics.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 05, 2014, 12:53:18 PM
Arrived today: Janáček conducted by Pešek. Recommended (Taras Bulba) by Monkey Greg.

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/may2014/janacektarassinfpesek.jpg)

Sarge

Not sure how I managed not to listen to it before, but the Overture to From the House of the Dead: exquisite!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on October 06, 2014, 06:28:34 AM
Not sure how I managed not to listen to it before, but the Overture to From the House of the Dead: exquisite!
The recording or the piece, Karl?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 06, 2014, 08:31:57 AM
Not sure how I managed not to listen to it before, but the Overture to From the House of the Dead: exquisite!

Yes, it's outstanding as is the opening prelude from Act I from the The Makropulos Case. Have you heard this one, Karl? Dynamite!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: aligreto on November 09, 2015, 02:26:31 PM
I listened to two versions on vinyl of the Sinfonietta under the direction of Kubelik this evening….


(http://www.ambergreen-classical.co.uk/ekmps/shops/padmagupta/images/kubelik-vpo.janacek-sinfonietta-.lw-5213-9198-p.jpg)


This is a good performance which has the raw, elemental sound of the military band but one which I ultimately found to be underwhelming.



(http://i1125.photobucket.com/albums/l590/TEX-Tech/JanacekSinfoniettaKubelik_zps5ccdf4c2.jpg)


This I found to be a livelier performance with a bit more gusto and this one has a fine finale.



With both of these performances, however, one gets the impression of restraint, of something being held back.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: aligreto on November 09, 2015, 02:27:32 PM
I followed the above with another vinyl version, this time Rattle/Philharmonia….


(http://boxset.ru/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/front-small-boxset4.jpg)


This is a performance that brings this work to life for me; contemplative when required and effervescent when called for.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: aligreto on November 09, 2015, 02:28:36 PM
Finally, I concluded my vinyl listening with this version by Kosler/Czech Philharmonic Orch….


(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjA5WDgwMA==/$(KGrHqN,!nMF!WkKPE)0BQV)2J35cg~~60_35.JPG)


This is a gently flowing version but with a lovely bite in the brass.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Turner on February 03, 2017, 09:03:11 AM
I had the pleasure of visiting the Janacek museum in Brno, the Czech Republic, in late January, while staying in the nearby lovely mountain town of Znojmo.

http://www.mzm.cz/en/leos-janacek-memorial/life-and-work-of-leos-janacek/
 
It´s quite small and resides in building where he taught for many years - adjoining is the local organ school, and it´s not far from the conservatory of music, opera and concert buildings.
The museum has mainly two rooms, a meticulously reconstructed living room with many details, and an exhibition room showing manuscripts, letters, photographs and other memorabilia.

For a start, there´s the option of watching an 18 min documentary on Janacek, produced by Supraphon. The documentary is quite simple, focusing I think too much on the opera "Jenufa"´s importance, and there´s a risk of the soundtrack - dominated by opera clips with Czech singers, whose vocal ideal is somewhat different from the most modern Western one - can hinder people from becoming really interested in the composer. But there is some very moving and interesting material in the documentary as well. They also sell a few books etc.

Overall, a visit is definitely worth it, and the exhibitions are more interesting than say those of the Smetana museum in Prague.

Brno is not a big city and the centre is small and rather townish, but there are some big, official buildings, a long shopping/walking street, & quite an extensive musical and cultural life, including museums and galleries also with modern art.

I haven´t checked, but it´s quite likely that Janacek also visited Znojmo from time to time - a photo below.

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on February 03, 2017, 09:11:59 AM
Very nice, Turner. The closest I've been to there is the photographs by Josef Sudek.

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/03/67/5b/03675b3e18eafba70d4ffa7cf9746263.jpg)  (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UmhfzRhpfqY/TX9HrQdCNzI/AAAAAAAAAcw/2cbalznlfqY/s1600/Untitled-Scanned-01.jpg)
(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/c1/fc/9e/c1fc9edb82d1c546e225d7bd288464de.jpg)  (http://www.jeudepaume.org/imagesZoom/Sudek_Magazine.jpg)  (https://p1.liveauctioneers.com/427/26875/10119926_1_x.jpg?version=1318951281)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Turner on February 03, 2017, 09:17:47 AM
Very nice, Turner. The closest I've been to there is the photographs by Josef Sudek.

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/03/67/5b/03675b3e18eafba70d4ffa7cf9746263.jpg)  (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UmhfzRhpfqY/TX9HrQdCNzI/AAAAAAAAAcw/2cbalznlfqY/s1600/Untitled-Scanned-01.jpg)
(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/c1/fc/9e/c1fc9edb82d1c546e225d7bd288464de.jpg)  (http://www.jeudepaume.org/imagesZoom/Sudek_Magazine.jpg)  (https://p1.liveauctioneers.com/427/26875/10119926_1_x.jpg?version=1318951281)

Yes, I am a big fan too of Sudek! There are two galleries directly associated with him and his life in Prague, in the Uvoz and Ujezd streets, and I try to visit them when in Prague. It turns out that he participated in the work with 13 or 16 different documentary Czech books, and I managed to get one of them this time, one about Prague. He also made a photo book about Hukvaldy, Janacek´s birth village,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu3ODi4QVvk (music in the clip by Mozart, as far as I remember)
and was very interested in music, his record collection and messy home being a meeting place for the Czech intelligentsia in mid-20th century. 
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Guido on July 16, 2017, 12:19:10 PM
Hello all,

I don't post much here any more, but for those who remember me, or who love Janacek, or opera in general, I am directing The Cunning Little Vixen by Janacek this summer at the Arcola theatre in London as part of the Grimeborn festival. I would love to see some of you come along - I have a fabulous cast including Alison Rose as the Vixen who is vocally ideal and a brilliant actress - she will have her debut at the English National Opera next season. I'll post this in the opera forum too!

Tickets can be got here:
http://www.arcolatheatre.com/event/cunning-little-vixen/

Let me know if you are coming and we can have a chat afterwards!

Attached is my show image!

Guido
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: aligreto on July 17, 2017, 06:55:29 AM
Hello all,

I don't post much here any more, but for those who remember me, or who love Janacek, or opera in general, I am directing The Cunning Little Vixen by Janacek this summer at the Arcola theatre in London as part of the Grimeborn festival. I would love to see some of you come along - I have a fabulous cast including Alison Rose as the Vixen who is vocally ideal and a brilliant actress - she will have her debut at the English National Opera next season. I'll post this in the opera forum too!

Tickets can be got here:
http://www.arcolatheatre.com/event/cunning-little-vixen/

Let me know if you are coming and we can have a chat afterwards!

Attached is my show image!

Guido

I wish you the very best of luck with the production  :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on November 16, 2017, 03:37:15 PM
Latest on Forbes: When the Cleveland Orchestra comes, Vienna listens!

Review: A Ravishing Cleveland Vixen In Vienna
(https://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2017/11/cleveland_Musikverein_Janacek-Vixen-Classical-Critic_Vixen_Toni-Wiesinger-1.jpg?width=960)
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/11/16/review-a-ravishing-cleveland-vixen-in-vienna/#1ec66fc74a79 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/11/16/review-a-ravishing-cleveland-vixen-in-vienna/#1ec66fc74a79)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: vers la flamme on March 08, 2020, 05:54:10 AM
Been hooked on the Janáček string quartets lately. I have a disc w/ some of the piano music that I'm listening to here & there. I also have the Glagolitic Mass & Sinfonietta on a disc conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Finally, I have the wind sextet Mládí on Naxos. But I have no idea where to go from here...

What are some essential Janáček works for someone who knows very little about this music? It appears that I have little of the orchestral music and would like to hear more. Eventually I would like to dip my toes into the operas—which would be the one (I repeat: one) to check out as a beginner, and someone who cares very little about opera, generally speaking...?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Roasted Swan on March 08, 2020, 06:27:30 AM
Been hooked on the Janáček string quartets lately. I have a disc w/ some of the piano music that I'm listening to here & there. I also have the Glagolitic Mass & Sinfonietta on a disc conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Finally, I have the wind sextet Mládí on Naxos. But I have no idea where to go from here...

What are some essential Janáček works for someone who knows very little about this music? It appears that I have little of the orchestral music and would like to hear more. Eventually I would like to dip my toes into the operas—which would be the one (I repeat: one) to check out as a beginner, and someone who cares very little about opera, generally speaking...?

Opera-wise Jenufa & Cunning Little Vixen are good entry points into's Janacek dramatic/operatic world.  From the House of the Dead is a remarkable work too.  One less well known area I especially enjoy is his music for unaccompanied chorus - male/female or mixed.  To be honest pretty much ANY Janacek is good - once he found his own unique musical voice, there are almost no weak works at all.  All I would say is that the language is so important to Janacek - he word set very specifically - that I find it is important to have performers who are completely at home with the text.  That doesn't always mean "mother tongue" - the Mackerras/VPO operas prove that - but it proves to be true more often than not.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: vers la flamme on March 08, 2020, 06:29:07 AM
Opera-wise Jenufa & Cunning Little Vixen are good entry points into's Janacek dramatic/operatic world.  From the House of the Dead is a remarkable work too.  One less well known area I especially enjoy is his music for unaccompanied chorus - male/female or mixed.  To be honest pretty much ANY Janacek is good - once he found his own unique musical voice, there are almost no weak works at all.  All I would say is that the language is so important to Janacek - he word set very specifically - that I find it is important to have performers who are completely at home with the text.  That doesn't always mean "mother tongue" - the Mackerras/VPO operas prove that - but it proves to be true more often than not.

Thanks! I think I will be seeking out the Mackerras/VPO Cunning Little Vixen in due time; I had a feeling this would be a fairly accessible opera.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Biffo on March 08, 2020, 06:37:43 AM
Janacek didn't write a lot of purely orchestral music - the Sinfonietta and Taras Bulba are the most often recorded and they usually come coupled with the Glagolitic Mass or suites drawn from the operas. There are a few relative rarities such as the Lachian Dances, The Ballad of Blanik, The Fiddler's Child and The Eternal Gospel - latter is a choral/orchestral work.

If you enjoyed the string quartets you should try the Concertino and the Capriccio, chamber works for rather unusual ensembles. Also check out the piano music, especially the DG Firkusny album mentioned in the forum recently. In one of its incarnations it included the Capriccio and Concertino.

For the operas you could try either Jenufa or Katya Kabanova  the latter was my introduction to the operas and I was gripped from the start though it was a live performance (Mackerras/ENO).
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 08, 2020, 07:24:31 AM
Been hooked on the Janáček string quartets lately. I have a disc w/ some of the piano music that I'm listening to here & there. I also have the Glagolitic Mass & Sinfonietta on a disc conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Finally, I have the wind sextet Mládí on Naxos. But I have no idea where to go from here...

What are some essential Janáček works for someone who knows very little about this music? It appears that I have little of the orchestral music and would like to hear more. Eventually I would like to dip my toes into the operas—which would be the one (I repeat: one) to check out as a beginner, and someone who cares very little about opera, generally speaking...?

Janáček is such an outstanding composer, but I’m not particularly drawn in by his operas as highly regarded as they may to be. I’m much more into his chamber, piano, and choral music. I do like several of the orchestral works he composed, too, like Sinfonietta and Taras Bulba for example. A few of my favorite works of his: the SQs, In the Mists, On an Overgrown Path, Piano Sonata 1.X.1905, Violin Sonata, Pohádka, Otče náš, Elegy on the Death of Daughter Olga, and the Glagolitic Mass.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on March 08, 2020, 03:06:34 PM
I've listened to all his operas (well, practically all of them) and I can say that even the early ones are quite compelling, works of a mature composer musically speaking. Janacek is one of those composers whose voice is instantly recognizable, that is one of his clear appeals.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Daverz on March 08, 2020, 08:27:27 PM
Thanks! I think I will be seeking out the Mackerras/VPO Cunning Little Vixen in due time; I had a feeling this would be a fairly accessible opera.

I prefer the Neumann/Czech Phil recording.  Much more colorful orchestral playing.



Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2020, 07:29:09 AM
One work I need to become more familiar with is The Diary of One Who Disappeared. I recently acquired this new Hyperion recording:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODYxNzc1NC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwidG9Gb3JtYXQiOiJqcGVnIiwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX19LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1NjQ2NjM2NzN9)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2020, 09:02:04 PM
Listening to Káťa Kabanová now (Mackerras on Decca) and absolutely thrilled by this opera. This was one of the Janáček operas I really connected with, but in listening to this opera, it has prompted me to give a listen to the others I have in my collection. I’ll mainly stick to the Mackerras Decca set, but for The Excursions of Mr. Brouček, I’ll have to rely on Jílek on the Supraphon label since I don’t own the Bělohlávek recording on Deutsche Grammophon.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: relm1 on March 10, 2020, 06:11:48 AM
Listening to Káťa Kabanová now (Mackerras on Decca) and absolutely thrilled by this opera. This was one of the Janáček operas I really connected with, but in listening to this opera, it has prompted me to give a listen to the others I have in my collection. I’ll mainly stick to the Mackerras Decca set, but for The Excursions of Mr. Brouček, I’ll have to rely on Jílek on the Supraphon label since I don’t own the Bělohlávek recording on Deutsche Grammophon.

I really like the Cunning Vixens by Mackerras but haven't heard Kata Kabanova so will remedy that.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2020, 07:22:12 AM
I really like the Cunning Vixens by Mackerras but haven't heard Kata Kabanova so will remedy that.

I think you’ll really enjoy it. The singing, conducting, and orchestral playing are top-notch.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2020, 07:58:48 AM
I prefer the Neumann/Czech Phil recording.  Much more colorful orchestral playing.



You see here’s the rub for me. I find Neumann almost always boring in Janáček. Mackerras was more wild and uninhibited. I also thought the Wiener Philharmoniker played this music gloriously and with plenty of color.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Daverz on March 10, 2020, 09:24:00 PM
You see here’s the rub for me. I find Neumann almost always boring in Janáček.

And in this Cunning Vixen?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2020, 09:30:01 PM
And in this Cunning Vixen?

Yes, in this recording of The Cunning Vixen.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Daverz on March 10, 2020, 10:10:41 PM
Yes, in this recording of The Cunning Vixen.

As beautifully as the VPO plays in the Mackerras recording, I find the performance somewhat generic in a cosmopolitan way.  The special colors of the Czech Philharmonic winds and their natural understanding of the rhythms of the Czech language so important in this work are missing in the VPO recording.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on May 26, 2021, 09:13:39 AM
Someone mentioned earlier today elsewhere (Roasted Swan I believe?) about a recording of Janacek's string quartets which features the viola d'amore vs. using a viola.  I've heard one a while ago which did this too (with the Manderling Quartet) and dug a bit further to find out the differences.  At the time, I had heard/read that this was the first recording doing this (from 2010).  The differences between the two in a small nutshell is that Gunther Teuffel was asked by the group to come up with a reconstruction.  I remember watching a video that he had also done about his choices and why.  The video is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suLdTwsNRVk

I did a quick bit of research on the Diotima Quartet's recording which apparently is one of the Bärenreiter Edition (which I hadn't heard of before now) which apparently is an attempt at reconstructing it by going back to Janacek's original sketches (mainly).  https://www.baerenreiter.com/en/shop/product/details/BA9533/

PrestoC has some samples from this CD on their website which I'll listen to in a bit.

Perhaps Relm or someone else here can comment on the differences between these two versions and whether or not they think that one is more in line with what they think Janacek originally wanted?  Also, for those who have heard both versions?  Note:  this is referring to his composition of Intimate Letters.

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on May 26, 2021, 11:16:32 AM
Perhaps Relm or someone else here can comment on the differences between these two versions and whether or not they think that one is more in line with what they think Janacek originally wanted?
Speaking of which, another thing an expert could weigh in on to tell us their perspective - my understanding was that Janacek wanted a viola d'amore mostly because of the name, and may not have been totally familiar with the instrument or its sound. Don't know if that is really true.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 26, 2021, 12:44:09 PM
Speaking of which, another thing an expert could weigh in on to tell us their perspective - my understanding was that Janacek wanted a viola d'amore mostly because of the name, and may not have been totally familiar with the instrument or its sound. Don't know if that is really true.
Janáček wrote the viola d'amore part with full understanding of the instrument's range for sure, and the edition of the Quartet featuring a normal viola has some of the viola d'amore passages split between the viola and one of the violin parts from what I recall.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on May 26, 2021, 12:55:50 PM
Speaking of which, another thing an expert could weigh in on to tell us their perspective - my understanding was that Janacek wanted a viola d'amore mostly because of the name, and may not have been totally familiar with the instrument or its sound. Don't know if that is really true.
Hi Brian,

From what I recall of that interview (which I had linked to), Janacek loved and was fascinated with the sound of it.  I need to go back and listen to that interview again.  :)
Janáček wrote the viola d'amore part with full understanding of the instrument's range for sure, and the edition of the Quartet featuring a normal viola has some of the viola d'amore passages split between the viola and one of the violin parts from what I recall.
Oh, interesting about those splits!

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: North Star on May 26, 2021, 01:00:21 PM
The reason for revising it for an ordinary viola seems to have been that the viola d'amore was too quiet next to the rest of the quartet. I'm sure it also helped in getting more quartets to perform the work.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 26, 2021, 02:23:59 PM
The reason for revising it for an ordinary viola seems to have been that the viola d'amore was too quiet next to the rest of the quartet. I'm sure it also helped in getting more quartets to perform the work.

Bingo to the bolded text. I mean Janáček knew what he was doing and, honestly, he made the right decision to revise for a viola. A viola d’amore isn’t something someone has just lying around. A string quartet’s standard instrumentation ensured him performances and now look at how well these SQs have done. They’re standard repertoire for a string quartet and have been recorded an inordinate amount of times.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Biffo on May 28, 2021, 01:17:33 AM
Janáček wrote the viola d'amore part with full understanding of the instrument's range for sure, and the edition of the Quartet featuring a normal viola has some of the viola d'amore passages split between the viola and one of the violin parts from what I recall.

Janacek also used the viola d'amore in his opera The Makropoulos Case. The booklet notes to the Decca/Mackerras recording by John Tyrell suggest that Janacek was attracted by the instrument's name as much as its gentle tone. Tyrell also mentions that Janacek had a viola d'amore player on the staff of his organ school in Brno so presumably he knew what it sounded like. Tyrell also says that in most live performances it is replaced by a viola or a violin. Modern recording techniques can make the instrument audible.

The balance in a string quartet is no doubt a different matter from a full orchestra.
Title: Happy 167th Birthday, Janáček
Post by: Brewski on July 03, 2021, 08:11:13 AM
To celebrate:

Jealousy and Taras Bulba, recorded November 10, 2000, with Sir Mark Elder and the Concertgebouw, from this box:

https://www.amazon.com/Anthology-2000-2010-Royal-Concertgebouw-Orchestra/dp/B00G2I881C/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=concertgebouw+anthology&qid=1625332120&sprefix=concertgebouw+&sr=8-3



--Bruce
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 13, 2021, 08:07:59 AM
Has anyone hear heard the Prazak Quartet's recording of Janacek's two quartets?  I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they have recorded them more than once.

PD

EDIT:  My two favorite recordings are with the Talich Quartet (recent incarnation) on Calliope and also the Pavel Haas' Quartet's ones.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 13, 2021, 09:11:06 AM
Has anyone hear heard the Prazak Quartet's recording of Janacek's two quartets?  I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they have recorded them more than once.

PD

EDIT:  My two favorite recordings are with the Talich Quartet (recent incarnation) on Calliope and also the Pavel Haas' Quartet's ones.

Panocha, Pražák and Talich can do no wrong in my book. 8) Get the Pražák! It’s outstanding. Interestingly enough, I have been less impressed with the Pavel Haas Quartet performances. I can’t put my finger on what exactly doesn’t sound right to my ears, but it sounds a bit understated and not wild enough --- if this makes any sense.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 13, 2021, 09:19:53 AM
Panocha, Pražák and Talich can do no wrong in my book. 8) Get the Pražák! It’s outstanding. Interestingly enough, I have been less impressed with the Pavel Haas Quartet performances. I can’t put my finger on what exactly doesn’t sound right to my ears, but it sounds a bit understated and not wild enough --- if this makes any sense.
Interesting re your comments about the PH Quartet's recording.  It didn't strike me that way, but that's o.k. we all have different tastes.  So, did the Prazak record it only once during their quartets history?  Don't know the Panocha one...

Would you mind providing any photos links to those two?

PD

p.s.  I must admit, there are certain works which I have a hard time not picking up more than one recording of.  I'm sure that you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about?  ;)

Edit:  Looks like the Prazak have recorded it at least twice--on Praga Digitalis.  They don't make it easy to find the years though.  :(  http://www.pragarecords.com/catprazak2018.pdf
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 13, 2021, 09:33:21 AM
Interesting re your comments about the PH Quartet's recording.  It didn't strike me that way, but that's o.k. we all have different tastes.  So, did the Prazak record it only once during their quartets history?  Don't know the Panocha one...

Would you mind providing any photos links to those two?

PD

p.s.  I must admit, there are certain works which I have a hard time not picking up more than one recording of.  I'm sure that you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about?  ;)

Yeah, I haven’t a clue as to what you’re talking about. :D I’m pretty sure the Pražáks haven’t recorded these SQs twice. Don’t quote on me on that, though. As for links...SURE! Here you go:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71N3rdyrxGL._SL1050_.jpg)

https://www.amazon.com/Leos-Janacek-Kreutzer-Intimate-Kayahara/dp/B000005W15/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Janacek+Prazak&qid=1626201091&s=music&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Leos-Janacek-Kreutzer-Intimate-Kayahara/dp/B000005W15/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Janacek+Prazak&qid=1626201091&s=music&sr=1-1)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/1b/3v/lfhhhxx633v1b_600.jpg)

https://www.amazon.com/String-Quartets-Leo%C2%9A-Janáček/dp/B000OMCIW2/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Janacek+Panocha&qid=1626201142&s=music&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/String-Quartets-Leo%C2%9A-Janáček/dp/B000OMCIW2/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Janacek+Panocha&qid=1626201142&s=music&sr=1-1)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 13, 2021, 09:34:49 AM
Yeah, I haven’t a clue as to what you’re talking about. :D I’m pretty sure the Pražáks haven’t recorded these SQs twice. Don’t quote on me on that, though. As for links...SURE! Here you go:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71N3rdyrxGL._SL1050_.jpg)

https://www.amazon.com/Leos-Janacek-Kreutzer-Intimate-Kayahara/dp/B000005W15/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Janacek+Prazak&qid=1626201091&s=music&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Leos-Janacek-Kreutzer-Intimate-Kayahara/dp/B000005W15/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Janacek+Prazak&qid=1626201091&s=music&sr=1-1)

(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/1b/3v/lfhhhxx633v1b_600.jpg)

https://www.amazon.com/String-Quartets-Leo%C2%9A-Janáček/dp/B000OMCIW2/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Janacek+Panocha&qid=1626201142&s=music&sr=1-1 (https://www.amazon.com/String-Quartets-Leo%C2%9A-Janáček/dp/B000OMCIW2/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Janacek+Panocha&qid=1626201142&s=music&sr=1-1)
Thank you!  I do now recall seeing that Panocha CD cover online.  Please see my edit to my previous post too.  :)

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 13, 2021, 09:42:40 AM
Edit:  Looks like the Prazak have recorded it at least twice--on Praga Digitalis.  They don't make it easy to find the years though.  :(  http://www.pragarecords.com/catprazak2018.pdf

This doesn’t seem to be case though, PD. Praga Digitals has a habit of reissuing older recordings in SACD format and it looks like their Janáček Pražák recording is no different.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on July 13, 2021, 10:34:51 AM
Hey PD, did you ask me for Prazak favorite recommendations in another thread? I kind of remember that but don't remember where it was so we could talk about it here.  ;D
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on July 13, 2021, 11:04:30 AM
This doesn’t seem to be case though, PD. Praga Digitals has a habit of reissuing older recordings in SACD format and it looks like their Janáček Pražák recording is no different.
Interesting.  So when was the original recording from?

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 13, 2021, 11:07:23 AM
Interesting.  So when was the original recording from?

PD

It’s from 1997 as shown here:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71FwMV8Y6oL._SL1050_.jpg)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brian on July 14, 2021, 12:33:07 PM
Those are different recordings!! The newer one was recorded in May and October, 2013. I have them both and just took a look. Now, don't ask me which is better cuz I can't remember and will have to listen to them again. Wait, that sounds fun. OK, you can ask  ;D
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 14, 2021, 12:37:51 PM
Those are different recordings!! The newer one was recorded in May and October, 2013. I have them both and just took a look. Now, don't ask me which is better cuz I can't remember and will have to listen to them again. Wait, that sounds fun. OK, you can ask  ;D

Thanks for the clarification, Brian. 8) And yes, I’d like to read your thoughts on these two different performances. They’re probably both awesome. I certainly love the one from ’97.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 14, 2021, 12:39:26 PM
p.s.  I must admit, there are certain works which I have a hard time not picking up more than one recording of.  I'm sure that you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about?  ;)

(* chortle *)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 05, 2021, 09:15:49 AM
PD:  if you like the Janacek quartets try and hear this disc (perhaps Hurwitz mentioned it - I've no idea)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51K9hzVNwoL._SR600%2C315_PIWhiteStrip%2CBottomLeft%2C0%2C35_SCLZZZZZZZ_FMpng_BG255%2C255%2C255.jpg)

Not only were these the first recordings of a new critical edition of the quartets - with several terrifyingly hard passages reinstated on the "original" instruments, but also the filler is a brilliantly idiomatic transcription of movements from "On an Overgrown Path" for quartet.  Its nearly as good as having a third quartet by Janacek!
RS,

I'm still digging around to see if I can find a copy to borrow of this CD.  When I googled it today, I also ran across this new recording and am wondering whether or not anyone here has heard it and if so, what they think of it:  http://musicweb-international.com/classrev/2018/Jun/Janacek_quartets_UP0199.htm

This one includes an arrangement for string quartet of "In the Mists" as well as Book 2 of "On an Overgrown Path".

PD

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: amw on August 06, 2021, 03:11:51 AM
The Czech Philharmonic Quartet recording is.... mostly loud, to the exception of many other qualities, so hard for me to describe otherwise. Not loud as in the instrumentalists play loudly; loud as in the audio has been compressed (probably using a limiter) and normalized to 0dB. I'd probably have to hear a live performance by the same ensemble to evaluate them properly.

The performances may well be fine, it's just... that's legitimately the main thing I noticed.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 06, 2021, 04:18:31 AM
The Czech Philharmonic Quartet recording is.... mostly loud, to the exception of many other qualities, so hard for me to describe otherwise. Not loud as in the instrumentalists play loudly; loud as in the audio has been compressed (probably using a limiter) and normalized to 0dB. I'd probably have to hear a live performance by the same ensemble to evaluate them properly.

The performances may well be fine, it's just... that's legitimately the main thing I noticed.
Interesting.  I hadn't heard of compression making things louder before?  I've noticed things like the rolling off of high notes in operatic recordings (which I hate as it leads to a very boxed-in feeling/kind of recording).

What did you think of arrangements of the music?  Or were you too distracted by the recording quality?

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on August 06, 2021, 02:26:08 PM
Compression is essentially DONE to make things louder, and it has very deleterious effects. For classical music in particular it’s a rather dumb idea.

If you listen to podcasts, Twenty Thousand Hertz has 2 really good episodes on the whole phenomenon.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Irons on August 06, 2021, 11:02:51 PM
Compression is essentially DONE to make things louder, and it has very deleterious effects. For classical music in particular it’s a rather dumb idea.

If you listen to podcasts, Twenty Thousand Hertz has 2 really good episodes on the whole phenomenon.

Just as deleterious is too much dynamic range which with full range loudspeakers can be a bugbear with digital recordings. When setting gain for loud passages soft are inaudible and setting for soft leads to uncomfortable loud climaxes.
Classical music is not the easiest to reproduce in a recording.   
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on August 06, 2021, 11:05:18 PM
Just as deleterious is too much dynamic range which with full range loudspeakers can be a bugbear with digital recordings. When setting gain for loud passages soft are inaudible and setting for soft leads to uncomfortable loud climaxes.
Classical music is not the easiest to reproduce in a recording.

I agree, and this can be particularly tricky for orchestral recordings. I don't think a quartet should have such issues, however.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Irons on August 06, 2021, 11:15:34 PM
I agree, and this can be particularly tricky for orchestral recordings. I don't think a quartet should have such issues, however.

Agreed. Solo piano can be problematic.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 07, 2021, 03:05:16 AM
Compression is essentially DONE to make things louder, and it has very deleterious effects. For classical music in particular it’s a rather dumb idea.

If you listen to podcasts, Twenty Thousand Hertz has 2 really good episodes on the whole phenomenon.
Thanks for the info and I'll check out those podcasts.   :)

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: amw on August 07, 2021, 04:41:59 AM
What did you think of arrangements of the music?
I'm always fascinated by arrangements. These seemed to lack some essential "Janáčekness" but that may be due to the genteel and polished nature of the performances; it would be particularly interesting to hear the In the Mists arrangement played by a band with a much greater flair for the operatic. It also made me interested to potentially hear arrangements of these piano works for orchestra; the string quartet felt somehow insufficient by comparison with the piano original (wonder if this may be why such a compressed recording was chosen by the engineers, to "amplify" the sound quality and make the string quartet sound more orchestral—if so it was not an ideal choice).

I found the arrangements an interesting failure, and worth listening to for that reason; they are thought-provoking at least.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 07, 2021, 05:08:25 AM
I can’t image any arrangement of a Janáček work being successful, especially when there isn’t a thing a wrong with the original.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Roasted Swan on August 07, 2021, 08:35:36 AM
I can’t image any arrangement of a Janáček work being successful, especially when there isn’t a thing a wrong with the original.

but you don't like the concept of arranging full stop....!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MusicTurner on August 07, 2021, 08:49:03 AM
Heresy, but:

operas, such as 'Jenufa' or 'From the House of the Dead', arranged as piano concertos. I'd like that - the musical ongoing would be clearer, and there's often a certain mixture of percussive and lyrical tendencies in Janacek's music, that would suit the sound picture, I imagine.

But of course, it won't happen.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 07, 2021, 12:47:42 PM
Heresy, but:

operas, such as 'Jenufa' or 'From the House of the Dead', arranged as piano concertos. I'd like that - the musical ongoing would be clearer, and there's often a certain mixture of percussive and lyrical tendencies in Janacek's music, that would suit the sound picture, I imagine.

But of course, it won't happen.
Ooh!  Interesting idea!  Very clever!   :)

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: MusicTurner on August 07, 2021, 06:32:36 PM
Ooh!  Interesting idea!  Very clever!   :)

PD

Thanks  ;D
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 07, 2021, 06:40:39 PM
but you don't like the concept of arranging full stop....!

I don’t mind the idea of arrangement, but sometimes I wonder whether it was worth the trouble? This is what I’m asking myself when talking about these Janáček arrangements or the Barshai arrangements of the Shostakovich SQs that he has done. The answer I keep coming up with is “No, it wasn’t worth it.” But to each their own.
Title: Janáček 'Jenůfa' from Royal Opera House through Nov. 9 (free)
Post by: Brewski on October 13, 2021, 07:18:22 PM
Just found out this production of Jenůfa — starring Asmik Grigorian and Karita Mattila — is available on demand through November 9, via the Royal Opera House.

https://operavision.eu/en/library/performances/operas/jenufa-royal-opera-house#

--Bruce
Title: Re: Janáček 'Jenůfa' from Royal Opera House through Nov. 9 (free)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on October 14, 2021, 03:28:49 AM
Just found out this production of Jenůfa — starring Asmik Grigorian and Karita Mattila — is available on demand through November 9, via the Royal Opera House.

https://operavision.eu/en/library/performances/operas/jenufa-royal-opera-house#

--Bruce
Thanks Bruce!

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on October 14, 2021, 08:16:43 PM
I don’t mind the idea of arrangement, but sometimes I wonder whether it was worth the trouble? This is what I’m asking myself when talking about these Janáček arrangements or the Barshai arrangements of the Shostakovich SQs that he has done. The answer I keep coming up with is “No, it wasn’t worth it.” But to each their own.

I think sometimes arrangements are worth it. For example, it would be good to hear an arrangement of Messiaean's Turangalia Symphony where the Ondes Martenot is replaced by a real instrument, a viola say. I once wrote to Messiaean estate, very politely, proposing this, but they didn't reply  :(
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Roasted Swan on October 15, 2021, 12:21:16 AM
I think sometimes arrangements are worth it. For example, it would be good to hear an arrangement of Messiaean's Turangalia Symphony where the Ondes Martenot is replaced by a real instrument, a viola say. I once wrote to Messiaean estate, very politely, proposing this, but they didn't reply  :(

How on earth would that work?  Apart from audibility no other instrument can seamlessly transition from high to low register likes the Ondes.  But why change it in the first place - clearly the the composer wrote for that instrument.  This idea is not an "arrangement" its at best reorchestration for no apparent benefit - unless its just because you don't like the actual sound of the Ondes?
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Madiel on October 15, 2021, 03:29:05 AM
If an ondes martenot is good enough for Radiohead, it's good enough for me.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on October 15, 2021, 12:14:32 PM
How on earth would that work?  Apart from audibility no other instrument can seamlessly transition from high to low register likes the Ondes.  But why change it in the first place - clearly the the composer wrote for that instrument.  This idea is not an "arrangement" its at best reorchestration for no apparent benefit - unless its just because you don't like the actual sound of the Ondes?
It makes me want to vomit.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Iota on October 15, 2021, 12:40:11 PM
It makes me want to vomit.

I can see how that might interfere with your enjoyment .. 

Personally I like the ondes martenot in Turangalila. But I do see how as an instrument it might be unpalatable to some. In the Messiaen it seems uniquely able to trigger effusions of craziness/ecstasy that just wouldn't be the same without it.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Spotted Horses on October 15, 2021, 01:15:25 PM
It makes me want to vomit.

My sentiments exactly.

How on earth would that work?  Apart from audibility no other instrument can seamlessly transition from high to low register likes the Ondes. 

How about a specially designed 10 meter long slide whistle.

(https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0899/5804/products/PlasticSlideWhistle_500.jpg?v=1610042138)

Maybe it can be named a "Koechlin whistle," in the spirit of the Wagner tuba.

 :D
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Roasted Swan on October 15, 2021, 02:05:22 PM
It makes me want to vomit.

that I doubt
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Spotted Horses on October 15, 2021, 02:28:28 PM
that I doubt

Saying it makes me want to vomit is hyperbole. It makes me want to turn the recording off, which I invariably do.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Brewski on November 09, 2021, 05:45:00 PM
For Janáček fans, Jenůfa is still available, FREE, from the Royal Opera House, in an archived livestream from October. Not sure how long this will be available, but for anyone who loves the piece, definitely check it out. Asmik Grigorian sings the title role, Karita Mattila is Kostelnička, and all conducted by Henrik Nánási.

https://stream.roh.org.uk/free-titles/videos/jenufa

--Bruce
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 23, 2022, 07:55:57 PM
What is your favorite movement from Sinfonietta? I came to think that this very work is a marvel in itself, and each movement is an independent world, memorable, strikingly rhtythmic, harmonically compelling and "refreshing" from similar composers.

Mine is the 2nd. Gorgeous is just little to describe how unique this movement is. The brass section in the 2nd half of the mov. with that noble motif/tune gets me everytime!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 23, 2022, 08:30:10 PM
What is your favorite movement from Sinfonietta?

Oh, that's simple --- all of them. :)
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Roasted Swan on January 24, 2022, 12:12:56 AM
I listened to this version just the other day.....

(https://www.supraphon.com/public/photo/300x300f/c/1/342.jpg?1490969924)

and enjoyed it a lot - I agree with MI - I like it ALL.  With this - and other Czech recordings, especially those over 20 years old - there is this great brass sound that I just love.  The Brno orchestra can legitimately call itself Janacek's own orchestra as he lived in the town most of his life so perhaps this is the authentic Janacek sound? 

But perhaps more interestingly for me this time was listening to the couplings.  All of which I have heard over the years but in fact they rarely feature when I'm looking for some Janacek to listen to.  But I was really impressed this time not just by the music but by these performances.  These are late scores and mainly incomplete.  The Danube Symphony features an extraordinary coloratura soprano part navigated here with confident skill by Karolina Dvorakova.  Here in the UK one of our main high street banks used part of the Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin's "Wild Swans" score for a TV advert.  I can only assume Kats-Chernin knew the Danube Symphony!  The music here contains many of Janaceks latest even last scores and as such are of real interest to any Janacek admirer....

Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 24, 2022, 10:17:36 PM
Oh, that's simple --- all of them. :)

(https://i.gifer.com/origin/a4/a4b237becb291492b93bf20be615204b.gif)

 :P
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2022, 10:18:41 PM
(https://i.gifer.com/origin/a4/a4b237becb291492b93bf20be615204b.gif)

 :P

 :P
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 24, 2022, 10:21:49 PM
I listened to this version just the other day.....

(https://www.supraphon.com/public/photo/300x300f/c/1/342.jpg?1490969924)

and enjoyed it a lot - I agree with MI - I like it ALL.  With this - and other Czech recordings, especially those over 20 years old - there is this great brass sound that I just love.  The Brno orchestra can legitimately call itself Janacek's own orchestra as he lived in the town most of his life so perhaps this is the authentic Janacek sound? 

But perhaps more interestingly for me this time was listening to the couplings.  All of which I have heard over the years but in fact they rarely feature when I'm looking for some Janacek to listen to.  But I was really impressed this time not just by the music but by these performances.  These are late scores and mainly incomplete.  The Danube Symphony features an extraordinary coloratura soprano part navigated here with confident skill by Karolina Dvorakova.  Here in the UK one of our main high street banks used part of the Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin's "Wild Swans" score for a TV advert.  I can only assume Kats-Chernin knew the Danube Symphony!  The music here contains many of Janaceks latest even last scores and as such are of real interest to any Janacek admirer....

Interesting to read. I'll make sure to listen to this recording. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Leo K. on March 18, 2022, 07:28:58 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51cNPk5CbgL.jpg)

This has been my jam this morning. I've been becoming a real fan of Janacek as of late. Broadening my musical horizons the last few years and finding new favorites.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Spotted Horses on March 18, 2022, 07:40:00 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51cNPk5CbgL.jpg)

This has been my jam this morning. I've been becoming a real fan of Janacek as of late. Broadening my musical horizons the last few years and finding new favorites.

That is a fantastic collection. Janacek Chamber music (string quartets especially) and solo piano music is equally striking.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on March 18, 2022, 07:41:22 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51cNPk5CbgL.jpg)

This has been my jam this morning. I've been becoming a real fan of Janacek as of late. Broadening my musical horizons the last few years and finding new favorites.
Great choice!  Delighted to see that you've become a Janacek fan!  By the way, do you know his two string quartets?  They're big favorites of mine.  :)

PD
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Leo K. on March 18, 2022, 09:04:06 AM
Great choice!  Delighted to see that you've become a Janacek fan!  By the way, do you know his two string quartets?  They're big favorites of mine.  :)

PD

Thank you! Yeah I've listened to them each one time so far - wild rides they are! I will definitively return to them too very soon. They are amazing conceptions and music, there is nothing like Janacek and I'm sad that I didn't get into him sooner.
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Spotted Horses on March 18, 2022, 09:21:33 AM
Thank you! Yeah I've listened to them each one time so far - wild rides they are! I will definitively return to them too very soon. They are amazing conceptions and music, there is nothing like Janacek and I'm sad that I didn't get into him sooner.

It's nice when there is still something new to discover!
Title: Re: Janáček (Leoš' Lair)
Post by: Leo K. on March 18, 2022, 10:04:13 AM
It's nice when there is still something new to discover!

Yeah wow, I love it and it really inspires the soul!