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Janacek: Sinfonietta, Diary Of One Who Disappeared / Abbado

Release Date: 05/30/2008 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 427313   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leos Janácek
Performer:  Brigitte BalleysPhilip Langridge
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraBerlin RIAS Chamber Chorus Women
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The performance of Diary is a beautiful one, a sensual one, and Philip Langridge might have been born to sing this music. A unique and absorbing release.

I wasn't aware until now that an orchestral version of Diary existed. It isn't Janacek's, I hasten to add, but the work of one, Ota Zitek with the help of Vaclav Sedlacek who was a regular Janacek copyist, and I think it important to say straight away that if you are coming to this work for the first time, you should first immerse yourself thoroughly in the composer's piano original. Not because Zitek's work is in any respect sub-standard or inadequate far from it—but because the complexion of the piece does undergo appreciable change in the re-telling. In a
Read more sense it becomes a more romantic, a more equivocal, comfortable utterance seen, as it were, through other eyes and through softer orchestral filters than Janacek himself would have deployed. Because, wisely, Zitek has not attempted to emulate Janacek's orchestral sound-world. As the sleeve-note writer rightly points out, the composer's instrumental writing ''treads too fine a line between stunning individuality and apparent clumsiness to be imitated convincingly by another musician''. Just so—what we have here is very much a re-interpretation Zitek if you like, insulates where Janacek would have left dangerously exposed. The stark, rough-edged sound born of high and low extremes, has been fleshed out, texturally and harmonically, particularly in the middle range; principal string lines tend to be more generously supported, Zitek's extensive use of harp and celeste is effective but somehow belongs more in Bartok's world than Janacek's. All that said, however, the performance is a beautiful one, a sensual one—not least in the little 'operatic' triptych of songs, with alto and chorus, that lies at its heart and carries us so imaginatively into the climactic seduction.

Philip Langridge might have been born to sing this music. Just listen, in the very opening song, to the way in which he introduces us to the captivating young gipsy girl, the rapture, the preoccupation he conveys in the final line of all—''and so she remained in my thoughts the whole day long''—where one word, ''celucky'', tenderly caressed, conveys something of his concern for the sound, the music, of the language. And there is, of course, the innate intensity of his own sound, the perfect colour for this music, particularly in the trumpet-like top of the voice. The impassioned high Cs of the final song—as our hero tearfully bids farewell to everything he has known—come from deep inside. But then, Langridge is that sort of artist. Excellent work, too, from the dusky-voiced Brigitte Balleys, who is new to me, and, of course, the ever-gratifying Berlin woodwinds.

They have every opportunity to shine, and shine they do, in the Sinfonietta. It hardly seems possible that more than 20 years have passed since Abbado's first recording, on Decca (now deleted), with the LSO. A comparison of the opening fanfare reveals a considerable sharpening of pace for the better in his new version. Indeed, the first dozen or so bars of that LSO version sound oddly lugubrious and out of character now (strange how my memory of it was of all freshness and vitality). The opening of the second movement andante is another case in point: marginally slower, but considerably softer and more passive in inflexion back in 1969. The newer version, then, is certainly bigger and bolder, a more robust and substantial offering, though missing that last degree of athleticism and textural litheness to be found in Mackerras's marvellous VPO/Decca recording. DG have utilized the full spacial potential of Jesus-Christus Kifche, Berlin, offering us a most impressive spread of the trumpet-led brass battalions. The winds in general produce some fabulously full-blooded, plangent sonorities for Abbado: the 'rogue' first horn registers well (though not so prodigiously well as the VPO's Roland Berger for Mackerras) in his euphoric whooping at the climax of the moderato movement (nice to hear the bell for once, too). In the finale, not least that exhilarating approach to the massive 12-trumpet unison and returning fanfares, the virtuosic flute and piccolo writing, the penetrating E flat clarinet solos, generate a primitive excitement over agitated violas and cellos (again those high and low extremes—fully exploited by Abbado with especially vivid definition of all the lower string activity). If it's just the Sinfonietta you are after, then Mackerras (coupled with Taras Bulba) really cannot be bettered. But I hope I have made clear what a unique and absorbing combination this is.

-- Gramophone, [5/1989]
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Works on This Recording

The diary of one who disappeared by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Brigitte Balleys (Mezzo Soprano), Philip Langridge (Tenor)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus Women
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1919; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 11/1987 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 35 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Czech 
Notes: Orchestrated: Zitek and Sedlacek 
Sinfonietta by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 11/1987 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 23 Minutes 5 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 ending film music February 9, 2013 By Thomas Burroughs (Cincinnati, OH) See All My Reviews "As a artist dealing with the making of a documentary film called "..a photographers vision quest" a have used the very last movement "andante con moto" to express the power of visions and my photographic endeavours to the sounds of this orgasmic music." Report Abuse
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