- Sinfonietta for orchestra ("Military," "Sokol Festival"), JW 6/18
- Taras Bulba, rhapsody for orchestra, JW 6/15
- Lachian (Lasské) Dances (6) for orchestra, JW 6/17
- Suite for string orchestra, JW 6/2
- Mládí (Youth), suite for wind sextet, JW 7/10
- Capriccio for piano (left hand), flute & brass ensemble ("Vzdor," "Defiance"), JW 7/12
- Concertino for piano, 2 violins, viola, clarinet, horn & bassoon, JW 7/11
Leos Janácek (1854-1928) was one of music's great late bloomers. Although the Czech composer wrote the brilliant opera Jenufa and other admirable works earlier in his career, it's the music from the last ten years of his life that finds him at his most boldly original. This generously filled two-CD set offers a matchless overview of Janácek's orchestral music, as well as a few chamber works. Sir Charles Mackerras has long been a leading champion of Janácek, and his recordings of the Sinfonietta and the tone poem Taras Bulba are among the most thrilling ever made. The Vienna Philharmonic brings a lustrous sound to the Sinfonietta's delirious fanfares and flourishes, and the grisly narrative of Taras Bulba is vividly unfolded. A set of "Lachian Dances" represents the composer's love of his native folk music, while the Suite for String Orchestra shows a romantic youth just discovering his powers. Mládí is an irresistibly jaunty woodwind sextet, and the Capriccio and Concerto both blur the line between chamber music and piano concerto. These two latter works are full of abrupt and angular gestures, and Paul Crossley and the London Sinfonietta under David Atherton convey their delightful strangeness with profound mirth, rounding out this perfect introduction to one of the 20th century's most endearing musical eccentrics.