Magazine article Gramophone

Janacek: Sinfonietta

Magazine article Gramophone

Janacek: Sinfonietta

Article excerpt

Janacek [GC] [GP] Sinfonietta. The Fiddler's Child. The Ballad of Blanik. Taras Bulba

Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra / Tomas Netopil Supraphon [F] SU4131-2 (69' * DDD)


The young Czech's second symphonic disc for Supraphon

A superb programme--and not only because it represents, in effect, a useful gathering of Janacek's mature orchestral oeuvre. The substantially gifted Tomas Netopil has the full measure of all four works, balancing the Sinfonietta's closing build-up so that the reappearance of the fanfare trumpets (the Band of the Castle Guards and Police of the Czech Republic) is allowed to achieve an effective climax rather than hogging the limelight prematurely. The excitable brass that dominates the Moderato third movement is very well captured and elsewhere there's a combination of alertness, poetic phrasing and clear musical thinking, the sort that characterises performances of the same work by such past Czech masters as Karel Ancerl and Rafael Kubelik.

The highly descriptive Ballad of Blanik takes its theme from a volume of poetry based on a Czech legend about a small sleeping army who will come to the nation's rescue in its hour of need, and The Fiddler's Child mirrors the rather unsettling poetic world that Dvorak conjures in his late tone-poems (music that greatly influenced Janacek). …

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