WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Janacek: On An Overgrown Path & Other Piano Works / Pestalozza

Janacek / Pestalozza
Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Dynamic   Catalog #: 8010   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leos Janácek
Performer:  Andrea Pestalozza
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"I’ve always enjoyed music that makes you think, that touches my soul, so I prefer Beethoven to much of Mozart. Janà?ek fits into this same bracket - you don’t listen to his music to make you feel happy but to confront the world as it is and not as you might wish it to be. His Moravian folk-music inspired pieces “On an Overgrown Path”, originally intended for harmonium, and only later when the cycle grew, consigned to the piano, date from 1901 (not 1902 as the liner notes say) and were completed in 1908. The first two are melancholic reminiscences of times spent in the summer back in his birthplace of Hukvaldy, then come three further descriptive pieces based around experiences from his youth. Then we share in the pain, agony Read more and unspeakable grief he suffered after his only daughter Olga died, aged only 21 in February 1903. I have adored these works since I first came across them over thirty years ago; they are so human in their depiction of the composer’s feelings of despair. They really draw you in and wring you emotionally, particularly when you learn of the references - No.8 ‘Unutterable anguish’ is a vivid portrait of Olga’s suffering. ‘Perhaps you will sense the weeping in it’, Janà?ek wrote to the musicologist Jan Branberger. ‘During the hot summer nights that angelic being lay in mortal anguish’. Even No.10 which was written before Olga’s illness seems like a premonition, telling as it does, of the folk-tale which has it that if a barn owl perches outside a window and screeches and cannot be driven away then someone within the house will soon die. ‘The Barn Owl has not flown away’ is the normal translation but, unless you learn of the legend it doesn’t make much sense, whereas a translation I have on my Czech Supraphon vinyl disc of the same works translates it as ‘The bird of ill omen lingers on’ which immediately gives you an understanding of what the music is out to portray. The second set did not appear in Janà ?ek’s lifetime. He never completed the set or gave the pieces titles as he did for the first set. However, the publisher František Schäfer added two later piano works to the set which explains why the first two are the only examples of his mature lyricism. Janà?ek’s cycle ‘In the Mists’ which dates from 1912 also deals with memories from the past with his distinctive interpretation of them. His Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 (composed in 1924) is a commemoration of the death of a worker who was killed by the Austrians as he was demonstrating for the foundation of a university in Brno. Unfortunately only two movements survive and then only because one of the composer’s students had transcribed it as Janà ?ek had chucked the manuscript into the river. The two movements entitled ‘Foreboding’ and ‘Death’ are tellingly apt considering the sad event the work commemorates. Janà ?ek was quite ruthless with his works if they didn’t come up to his high standards, so self-critical a person was he, and what is these days known as Zde?ka’s Variations (or Tema con Variazioni) was only saved from burning through his wife Zde?ka’s intervention as it had been dedicated to her."

-- Steve Arloff, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

On the overgrown path by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Andrea Pestalozza (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901-1908; Brno, Czech Republic 
Paralipomena by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Andrea Pestalozza (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Brno, Czech Republic 
In the mists by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Andrea Pestalozza (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Czech Republic 
Sonata 1.X.1905 "From the street" by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Andrea Pestalozza (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; Brno, Czech Republic 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title