Janácek: Glagolitic Mass; Sinfonietta; Taras Bulba; The Fiddler's Child

Janácek: Glagolitic Mass; Sinfonietta; Taras Bulba; The Fiddler's Child

by Jirí Belohlávek


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The late, great Czech conductor Jirí Belohlávek was active until shortly before his death in May of 2017, and record companies have realized the high quality of his recordings of Czech music during his last years and rushed to issue it. This double-CD set from Decca of Leos Janácek's music combines recordings from various sessions, although all were made at the Rudolfinium in Prague, a hall that Belohlávek knew inside and out. There's nothing here to quite match Belohlávek's shattering "Ma Vlast" with the Czech Philharmonic, also issued by Decca in 2018, and at some points in the symphonic poem "Taras Bulba," based on Gogol's novel, the Czech Philharmonic strings lack their usual sheen. But all the virtues of Belohlávek's conducting are on display here: his awesome attention to detail, his deliberate approach and way of making space for the long line, his profound Czech melodies. And you do get a joyous reading of the "Sinfonietta," recorded just a few months before the conductor's death. The main attraction, the "Glagolitic Mass," is recommended. There are many recordings of this work, one of the few to apply late Romantic idioms to sacred music effectively (the title refers to the alphabet used to write the Old Slavonic text of the mass), but Belohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic give it great weight and depth. A bonus is the early and underexposed tone poem "The Fiddler's child" (1912), where you can almost sense Janácek straining to depart from Dvorák's example. Recommended.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/31/2018
Label: Decca
UPC: 0028948340804
catalogNumber: 002883802
Rank: 78775


  1. The Fiddler's Child (Sumarovo Díte), ballad for orchestra, JW 6/14
  2. Taras Bulba, rhapsody for orchestra, JW 6/15
  3. Sinfonietta for orchestra ("Military," "Sokol Festival"), JW 6/18
  4. Mass (Msa glagolskaja) for soloists, double chorus, orchestra & organ ("Glagolitic Mass"), JW 3/9

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