WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Janacek: Taras Bulba, Lachian Dances / Wit, Warsaw

Janacek / Warsaw Philharmonic Orch / Wit
Release Date: 04/24/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572695   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


Everything about this disc is fabulous: the performances, the coupling, and the sonics. Antoni Wit’s Taras Bulba sounds like no other. It’s full of details that you won’t have heard before, particularly in the layering of textures and shades of woodwind color. This is particularly obvious in the second movement, “The Death of Ostap”, but these personal touches never get in the way of an idiomatic, indeed visceral response to the music’s high drama. Wit builds the tension in the first movement’s successive episodes as well as anyone ever has, and releases it in a truly menacing battle sequence, with vicious contributions from the low brass. In the finale the Naxos engineers balance the organ and
Read more orchestra uncannily in the concluding apotheosis, which Wit conducts with a wholly individual combination of grandeur and serenity. It’s just plain wonderful.

Wit’s first Janácek disc contained the Glagolitic Mass and the Sinfonietta, and finding appropriate couplings for the composer’s scant orchestral output is never easy. There are the two other symphonic poems (The Ballad of Blaník and The Fiddler’s Child), some assorted overtures, the Schluck und Jau incidental music, the early works for string orchestra, and very little else. Wit’s choice of the two dance suites turns out to be an inspired decision, since they offer music that marries very well with Taras Bulba. The Lachian Dances are somewhat well known from recordings, though still a rarity in concert, but the Moravian Dances of 1891, a five-movement suite lasting about nine minutes, remains the preserve of Janácek specialists. They are delightful, and I offer a sample of No. 2 (“Kalamajka”). For the record, Wit omits the optional organ part in the Lachian Dances (the score refers to it as “inobligato”), a smart idea as the orchestration is already somewhat thick. Strongest recommendation.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Taras Bulba by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1918; Brno, Czech Republic 
2. Moravian Dances (5) for Orchestra by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1892; Brno, Czech Republic 
3. Lachian Dances by Leos Janácek
Conductor:  Antoni Wit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; Brno, Czech Republic 

Sound Samples

Taras Bulba, JW VI/15: I. Smrt Andrijova (Death of Andrij)
Taras Bulba, JW VI/15: II. Smrt Ostapova (The Death of Ostap)
Taras Bulba, JW VI/15: III. Proroctvi a smrt Tarase Bulby (The Prophecy and Death of Taras Bulba)
Lasske tance (Lachian Dances), JW VI/17: No. 1. Starodavny (Old-Time Dance)
Lasske tance (Lachian Dances), JW VI/17: No. 2. Pozehnany (Blessed)
Lasske tance (Lachian Dances), JW VI/17: No. 3. Dymak (A Blacksmith's Dance)
Lasske tance (Lachian Dances), JW VI/17: No. 4. Starodavny (Old-Time Dance)
Lasske tance (Lachian Dances), JW VI/17: No. 5. Celadensky (From Celadra)
Lasske tance (Lachian Dances), JW VI/17: No. 6. Pilky (Saw Dance)
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: No. 1. Kozich (Fur Coat)
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: No. 2. Kalamajka
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: No. 3. Trojky (Threes)
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: No. 4. Silnice (Road)
Moravian dances, JW VI/7: No. 5. Rozek (Little Corner)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Sounds overdone May 4, 2013 By Dr. Mitchell Gurk (Spencer, MA) See All My Reviews "It's all there, thickened, thus lacking the clarity and simplicity we expect from Slovakian music. Janacek is lately influential with up and coming virtuosi and composers. Granted, a lot is there, but to the unprofessional listener it can be a mush." Report Abuse
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook