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Janacek: Danube, Etc / Pesek, Valaskova, Husek, Slovak Po


Release Date: 02/19/2002 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8555245   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leos Janácek
Performer:  Jana ValàskovàZdenek Husek
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This excellent disc fills a very useful repertoire gap and makes a fine budget-priced recommendation for some unusual Janácek. Now we all know that the Slovak Philharmonic is not exactly a world-class orchestra, but Libor Pešek certainly is a world-class conductor, and he secures exciting and idiomatic playing in music for which those qualities count far more than does sheer polish. The symphonic poem Danube was discovered among Janácek's papers after his death in 1928, though he worked on it several years earlier before laying it aside. There is some question as to just how complete the surviving four movements make it, but it sounds completely characteristic with only the abrupt ending of its final movement suggesting that Read more there might have been more to come. Idiosyncratically scored (no trumpets, three sets of timpani, and a looney soprano vocalizes in the third movement), it deserves more regular performance.


The same is true for the two charming sets of dances, one of which, the Suite Op. 3, takes music from the opera The Beginning of a Romance (and its third movement from the Lachian Dances). Best of all are the two movements designed as incidental music to the play Schluck und Jau. Heaven only knows what they represent, but here is 10 minutes of prime late Janácek in all of his quirky, vibrant, irresistible strangeness. And Pešek really does get first class playing from his orchestra here. Its tonal qualities may be a bit rough (aptly so, as noted above), but it's clear that these musicians know how to play this music. Clear recorded sound lets you hear all of the necessary details of scoring and color. It may be only 49 minutes or so of music, but Janácek is one of those composers who packs a lot of punch into small spaces, and at the Naxos price this interesting collection offers listeners good value.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The Danube [fragment] by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Jana Valàskovà (Soprano), Zdenek Husek (Viola)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1928; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 12/1985 
Venue:  Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall 
Length: 17 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2.
Schluck and Jau by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 12/1985 
Venue:  Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall 
Length: 9 Minutes 16 Secs. 
3.
Moravian Dances (5) for Orchestra by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1892; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 12/1985 
Venue:  Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall 
Length: 8 Minutes 55 Secs. 
4.
Suite for Orchestra, Op. 3 by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bratislava Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; Brno, Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 12/1985 
Venue:  Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall 
Length: 13 Minutes 18 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Dunaj (The Danube), JW IX/7: I. Andante
Dunaj (The Danube), JW IX/7: II. Adagio
Dunaj (The Danube), JW IX/7: III. Allegro
Dunaj (The Danube), JW IX/7: IV. Vivo
Schluck und Jau: Incidental Music, JW IX/11: I. Andante
Schluck und Jau: Incidental Music, JW IX/11: II. Allegretto
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: I. Kozich
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: II. Kalamajka
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: III. Trojky
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: IV. Silnice
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: V. Rozek
Suite, JW VI/2: I. Con moto
Suite, JW VI/2: II. Adagio
Suite, JW VI/2: III. Allegretto
Suite, JW VI/2: IV. Con moto, allegro

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