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Janácek: Capriccio, Concertino, In The Mist / Postnikova


Release Date: 03/12/2008 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 45599   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leos Janácek
Performer:  Charles VerstraeteViktoria PostnikovaBernard HulotYves Demarle,   ... 
Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a powerful disc, and a moving one.

The Concertino and Capriccio are among Janacek's last works, dating from 1925 and 1926, and also among his least compromising in every way. Who with any kind of common sense, let alone half an eye on frequency of performance, would score a work for piano, two violins, viola, clarinet, bassoon and horn, and another for piano (left hand), flute, two trumpets, three trombones and tenor tuba? And who would then proceed to write, at the age of 70, music of a stark originality that could teach contemporaries a third of his age a thing or two? The Capriccio is well subtitled Vzdor (''Defiance''), not only since it was written for a pianist friend who had lost his right hand in the
Read more war, but for the defiant nature of the music.

I have no way of knowing whether or not Postnikova ties her right arm behind her back, but she mostly takes the harder of the options, as in the section beginning at fig. 7 (track 1, 1'03''). Janacek thickens this passage from the original in his ossia version with octave doublings, enriched harmony and some punctuating chords in the upper register. The latter are an effective addition and arise naturally out of the music, which makes it surprising that Postnikova misses out the first of them (for the pernickety, this is at about 2'00''). She gives a marvellous performance, in the Adagio searching out, with forlorn grace, the lyrical melodic line as Janacek sets its separated, unaccompanied notes against the little four-note interjections from the tenor tuba. Rozhdestvensky phrases these perhaps more elegantly, less strictly than Janacek may have intended, but it is beautifully effective, and part of his whole approach. As Dr John Tyrrell has pointed out in connection with Janacek's style, ''Czechoslovakia looks both west towards Germany and Austria and east towards Russia and Poland''; Rozhdestvensky goes further, in a slightly enigmatic note to the present disc, and speaks of a symbiosis of Orthodoxy and Catholicism. There is certainly in these performances a poise between the tougher, starker elements that can suggest a bridge between Mussorgsky and Stravinsky, and a lyrical grace closer to Berg.

A good measure of the success of the performances lies not only in Rozhdestvensky's magisterial control of the rhythm and phrasing but also his detailed balance. With such an odd combination of instruments in both works, much of the music's effect depends upon really listening and really following exactly what Janacek wrote (for instance, the piano mf against brass p, and all manner of subtle gradations). Pianist, conductor, players, and not least recording engineers have taken great care to see that virtually everything comes off successfully. Not only for the difficulty of programming them, but also for the fearful problems of concert-hall balance, these are works well suited to the gramophone, certainly when it is all as well done as here.

Postnikova also contributes a beautifully veiled, inward account of the strange In the mists pieces, and gives a performance of the Sonata that, without obscuring memories of the recent fine versions by Firkusny (DG and RCA) and Rudy (EMI), suggests a contained melancholy that has a nobility of its own. This is a powerful disc, and a moving one.

-- John Warrack, Gramophone [5/1991]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Capriccio for Piano left hand and Winds "Defiance" by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Charles Verstraete (Trombone), Viktoria Postnikova (Piano), Bernard Hulot (Trombone),
Yves Demarle (Trombone), André Demarle (Trumpet), Roger Boufferet (Trumpet),
Maurice Pruvot (Flute), Philippe Fritsch (Tuba)
Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Salle Wagram, Paris 
Length: 24 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2.
Concertino for Piano, 2 Violins, Viola, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Amaury Wallez (Bassoon), Ana Bela Chaves (Viola), Christian Briere (Violin),
André Cazalet (French Horn), Roland Simoncini (Clarinet), Philippe Aïche (Violin),
Viktoria Postnikova (Piano)
Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Salle Wagram, Paris 
Length: 18 Minutes 7 Secs. 
3.
In the mists by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Viktoria Postnikova (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Salle Aydar, Paris 
Length: 16 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Sonata 1.X.1905 "From the street" by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Viktoria Postnikova (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Salle Aydar, Paris 
Length: 16 Minutes 2 Secs. 

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