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Classical - Released April 21, 2014 | Evidence

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Classical - Released May 31, 2019 | Supraphon a.s.

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Before he was completely overwhelmed by love for composing, Leoš Janáček pursued a career as a virtuoso pianist. He was closely familiar with the instrument, which served for him to share his innermost emotions and feelings. Janáček wrote his first opus, Thema con variazioni, at the age of 26, when he was studying at the Leipzig Conservatory. The miniature piece A Recollection is one of his last scores. The composer conceived his three essential piano works, 1.X. 1905, On an Overgrown Path and In the Mist, between 1900 and 1912, which was a difficult phase in his life. They are perhaps the most personal, most intimate pieces he wrote. Janáček was inspired by the sound of the cimbalom, an instrument he often heard when collecting folk songs in Moravia. The genes of the pianist Jan Bartoš evidently bear the traces of the ample musical tradition of his ancestors, including his grandfather, a cimbalom player. The legacy of folk music and the Silesian origin is what Janáček and Bartoš have in common. In his account of Janáček's music, the pianist reveals a profound musicological insight, as well as a fascinating intuition - the inspiring integration of the heart and the brain, owing to which Bartoš's previous Supraphon albums have met with such great acclaim. © Supraphon

Chamber Music - Released May 8, 2020 | Signum Records

The confrontation of a composer playing the works of another is always fascinating, since they perfectly master their transmission tool, be it the piano (or another instrument) or conducting. Among great examples we find Mahler, Boulez and Britten, the latter an excellent pianist as well as a conductor. It is often the case that a composer’s playing goes deeper into the structure and architecture of the work. Also an excellent pianist and very prominent composer, Thomas Adès dedicates this album to the essential piano music of Leoš Janáček. On An Overgrown Path (or “scrubby” according to the translation of the Czech original “Po zarostlém chodníčku”) consists of thirteen pieces in which the composer spells out his memories, especially the loss of his daughter Olga, taken by typhoid at the age of 20. The two notebooks that make up this opus, written over a period of ten years, mix popular colourings and Czech legends. Free of evocative titles like the first, the second notebook is more abstract and resonates like Janáček’s ill fate. The famous Sonata “I. X.1905” commemorates the student protests in Brno that year, which resulted in the death of a young apprentice who died at the bayonets of Austrian soldiers. Dissatisfied with his work, Janáček burned the third movement and threw the other two - Pressing and Death - into the Vltava (The Moldau), though the pianist who was set to premiere the work had fortunately kept a copy of the first two remaining movements. This surrounding drama finds here a particular resonance in the composer’s intimacy. The four pieces that make up the suite In the Mists dating from 1912 are very sparse, focusing on the essential without impressionistic blur or desire to please, and carrying a hauntingly pure sadness. © François Hudry/Qobuz

Classical - Released November 1, 2011 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio

Classical - Released January 29, 2013 | PentaTone

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released August 31, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The late, great Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek 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 Janáček's music combines recordings from various sessions, although all were made at the Rudolfinium in Prague, a hall that Bělohlávek knew inside and out. There's nothing here to quite match Bělohlávek'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 Bělohlávek'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 Bělohlávek 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 Janáček straining to depart from Dvorák's example. Recommended. © TiVo

Classical - Released September 25, 2008 | Alpha

Distinctions Diapason d'or
The versions of Leos Janácek's String Quartet No. 2, "Intimate Letters," heard here are both new. Neither quite delivers the "radical evolution in the character of the work" promised in the booklet (in French and English, with the Alpha label's usual wonderful art-historical essay by Denis Grenier), but both are intriguing. The version concluding the disc uses a viola d'amore, a middle-sized Baroque viol with sympathetic strings that create a sweet, caressing sound entirely appropriate for a work dedicated to the composer's much younger (38 years) mistress. This instrumentation was apparently Janácek's intention, but he gave up on it after rehearsals ran into unspecified problems. Probably players of the rather difficult instrument were scarce indeed in Prague in 1928. Its restoration does draw attention to the active role of the viola part in this constantly expressive quartet, but so does the version played on the first four tracks. This is made from a new edition of the work, drawn from copies of the work used in rehearsals made before Janácek's death. (He never heard it played in public performance.) It differs from the one usually heard in various details, many of them having to do with tempo and tending to emphasize the shifting moods and episodic quality of the work. The String Quartet No. 1, also a product of the composer's old age, is also programmatic; it is based on an episode in a Tolstoy short story. The Quatuor Diotima offers a passionate performance of both quartets that would merit consideration in any case, but sample the viola d'amore's opening utterance at the beginning of track 9, and you may decide, even if you are already a confirmed admirer of Janácek's tense but richly romantic music, that a rehearing of these works is in order. © TiVo

Classical - Released April 26, 2019 | Piano Classics


Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | Orfeo

A cantata, long melody and mini-opera all at once, The Diary of One Who Disappeared is a profoundly original piece whose prosody is modelled on the scansion and intonations of Moravian poetry, like all of Janáček’s work. It is the poetic diary of a young farmer who falls in love with a gypsy and decides to go off with her and their new child. Distinctly affected by these popular poems, Janáček kept them under wraps. His love for Kamila was the inspiration for the writing of this splendid work which eventually became a recognition of his own existence. Perhaps slightly inaccessible for those who do not understand the language or have not read the translation before listening, this vast cycle of poems is written for a tenor, with the presence of a contralto (Ester Pavlu here) and a women’s choir which is supported all the way through by an important piano part. Born in Slovakia, the tenor Pavol Breslik sings close to his roots, taking the work from the operatic side, a rather romantic treatment which makes it considerably more successful and modifying its popular appeal. © François Hudry/Qobuz

Opera - Released March 26, 2010 | Supraphon a.s.

This 1962 recording of The Excursions of Mr. Broucek, Janácek's only mature comic opera, is reissued as part of Supraphon's series, Czech Opera Treasures, recordings of complete operas from its archive made available for the first time on CD. This is a historic release because it is the first recording in Czech, and the one that brought the opera to the attention of the West. At this point, though, it is of interest primarily as a historical document because it uses the heavily edited edition of the score that smoothed out the composer's idiosyncrasies and makes the opera sound sweetly and lushly post-Romantic. The 2008 Deutsche Grammophon recording, with Jirí Belohlávek leading the BBC Singers and Symphony Orchestra, takes precedence because it uses the critical edition of the score by Charles Mackerras and Jirí Zahrádka that reinstates the composer's intentions and is a far more authentic representation of the opera. That recording, with Czech singers in all the principal roles, is superb, and the sound is state of the art. On its own terms, the Supraphon release is very fine. It also features an all-Czech cast, almost all of whom have excellent, expressive voices, so the performance is idiomatic, and the soloists are so at ease in their roles that they sing with an infectious abandon that brings the comedy to roaring life. Václav Neumann vivacious, dramatic account of the funny and imaginative opera is thoroughly engaging. Supraphon's sound is vintage for Eastern Europe in the early '60s, that is to say somewhat thin and not especially warm or detailed, although the remastering goes a long way toward bringing the sound closer to contemporary standards. © TiVo

Solo Piano - Released March 19, 2014 | HORTUS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio

Chamber Music - Released August 24, 2017 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

Distinctions Diapason d'or

Classical - Released May 4, 2001 | ECM New Series

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects

Quartets - Released May 18, 2018 | Gramola Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Symphonic Music - Released January 1, 1989 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)


Classical - Released September 13, 2019 | Sony Classical