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Janácek/Kodály: Choral Works CD

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Janácek/Kodály: Choral Works + Karel Ancerl Gold Edition Vol.7. Janácek - Glagolitic Mass; Taras Bulba.
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Product details

  • Performer: Tina Kiberg, Randi Stene, Peter Svensson, Ulrik Cold
  • Orchestra: Danish National Radio Choir, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Charles Mackerras
  • Composer: Leos Janácek, Zoltán Kodály
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B000000AVF
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,019 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Product Description

Messe glagolitique de Janacek - Psalmus hungaricus, op. 13 de Kodaly / Chœur et Orchestre de la radio nationale danoise, dir. Sir Charles Mackerras

Like the requiems of Berlioz and Verdi, Janácek's Glagolitic Mass (1926) is a decidedly non-conformist sacred work, written from the heart. Set in Old Slavonic, its as much an expression of aspiration for the Czech people as Smetana's Ma Vlast had been half a century before. Mackerras has long been the leading exponent of Janácek; his second recording of the Mass is indispensable for restoring the work to its original state. You get the "Intrada" at the beginning as well as the end, but the most radical differences occur in the "Credo"'s central interlude where, in place of the expected organ cadenza, there's an orchestral passage of stunning originality and great rhythmic complexity--no wonder the orchestra gave up on this. Mackerras steers his capable Danish forces through this minefield with ease, and gets the right degree of fervency from his soloists and chorus elsewhere. Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus makes a generous, lower key coupling, resplendent in full-bodied sound. This is a required purchase to hear the Glagolitic at its radical best. --Richard Whitehouse

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bruce on 14 Jun. 2013
Format: MP3 Download
Charles Mackerras was rightly regarded as the leading Janacek conductor and was an early adopter of this 'original' version of the Glagolitic Mass. This audio only recording is excellent and well worth having, but if you can get hold of it his later live performance in Prague Jealousy / Taras Bulba / Glagolitic Mass [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (with Taras Bulba) on DVD is even better, performed as he always wanted to with Czech forces.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By voiceleader on 12 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Love this recording of the first Wingfield edition to aim to restore the Glagolitic Mass as close to that which Janáček had intended. Mackerras is a life long devotee and champion of Janáček. I love the virile and energetic sound on this CD.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LUIS GARCIA GARCIA on 24 Aug. 2014
Format: Audio CD
socking and tremendous piece of work. No everyone's cup of tea.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A great, revealing performance of Janacek’s Mass. But for Kodaly’s Psalmus, Kertesz’ Decca recording is still the best around. 23 Nov. 1999
By David Anthony Hollingsworth - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Leos Janácek’s original conception of his Glagolitic Mass, started in 1908, was for chorus and organ, with the Kyrie, Agnus and much of the Credo completed. But he put the score aside until 1926, when he resumed the project, but for a full-scaled orchestra. He toyed with the work until his demise in 1928, even after it had its premiere the year before. Its publication of 1929 included revisions made without authorization and the 1927 version has been performed as Janacek's authentic score.

It was Paul Wingfield, presumably a musicologist, who researched Janácek's score in Brno and Vienna and reconstructed its original edition. Unlike the infamous 1927 version, the original contains the Intrada at the beginning and the end of the Mass. Secondly, the rhythm changes in both 'Uvod' and 'Gospoli' (5/4 rather than 4/4 metre). And lastly, the organ solo prefacing the crucifixus section plays a more integrating part with the violins and three sets of timpani. The result is the work of greater coherence and drama and Paul Wingfield was right in proclaiming that “Janácek’s greatest choral work deserves to be heard in all its fiery glory."

Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus of 1923 also deserves to be heard (more often) in all its fiery glory. As Kodály’s first major successful work, Psalmus Hungaricus was written for the 50th anniversary of the union of the towns of Obuda, Pest, and Buda to form Budapest. But the work has an additional purpose, however. With the text being a free translation of Psalm 55 by Mihaly Kecskemeti Veg, a Sixteenth Century Hungarian poet who himself was persecuted in the Ottoman Empire, Psalmus Hungaricus serves as an outcry against the oppression and upheavals that followed the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire. Kodály, a renowned humanist himself, saw his piece as a meaningful vehicle against the misfortunes that affected his own country. It is a darkness to light composition, with its first two movements serving as vehement expressions of bitterness and anger and the last two that convey the feelings of hope, faith, and the affirmation of life.

Sir Charles Mackerras is the undisputed expert of Janácek’s music on the podium, and it shows. The tempo choices are ideal and the details of the score is well brought out under Chandos’ exemplary recorded sound. The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir respond admirably and with that appropriate ruggedness Janacek’s music calls for (and the organ soloist, Per Salo, comes up huge here). And the singing of Tina Kiberg, Peter Svensson, Randi Stene, and Ulrik Cold is polished, and nicely so.

Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus is very well served here also, with the Danish forces again playing with plenty of commitment and with the Copenhagen Boys' Choir very pleasing. But the performance lacks that extra degree of vehemence and bite one finds in Istvan Kertesz’s with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Wandsworth Festival Chorus, and the Wandsworth School Boys' Choir. And it is amply aided by Lajos Kozma (tenor), who offers a more dramatic singing than does Peter Svensson. The Decca offers something of an experience, that sense of occasion, in the performance of Kodály’s masterpiece (in its sound that’s still very good as we speak). The Chandos one is well prepared, but hardly more than that. So for my money, I’ll go straight to Janácek’s Glagolitic so well done here, but cling tightly to the London Decca’s recording of Psalmus.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Wild Bohemian Music 16 April 2000
By VonStupp - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Both of the works on this disk are considered standard choral/orchestral masterpieces, and Charles Mackerras and the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus give a new, nearly wild and gritty, perspective on these great works.

The 22-minute Psalmus Hungaricus by Zoltan Kodaly is an odd miniature choral/orchestral piece. Known for his collection of folk songs in his native country, Kodaly adapted the sounds of his homeland and instituted them into his classical compositions. The result is an exotic Bohemian kind of sound. Scored for orchestra, solo tenor, and chorus, the tenor is center-stage for much of the work. After an orchestral introduction, a cappella chorus members chant in an old orthodox church mode feel, a theme that will reoccur many times, each becoming grander, and in a sense, wilder. The text is an old Slavic version of Psalm 55, an old fire and brimstone reading that is, in the end, about redemption. After the choral chanting, the tenor sings; the part is tough throughout, and here Peter Svensson is wild enough to create an anguished performance. The choir and soloist trade on and off, each time, getting more and more frenzied, until a heavenly orchestral interlude interrupts with harp and strings only, and the outlook becomes sunnier; that is until the chorus erupts with the organ entrance in exultation. The work ends with mystic chanting by the chorus alone, extremely low voiced basses. The work is a huge crescendo of passion and excitement, with haunting orchestrations and colors. An excellent staple in the choral/orchestral literature pool.

The Leos Janacek Glagolitic Mass has always held a special place for me, and an all-time favorite choral/orchestral work of mine. This premier of the original scored version has only fueled my love of the work. In most recordings, the piece suffers from pretentiousness; Mackerras' new version of Janacek's original design gives a wild and unleashed performance of a monumental work. The abundance of unique ideas are on the scale of Verdi's Requiem, with all of the subtlety of Orff's Carmina Burana. Janacek has a new and creative theme and orchestration at every page turn of the score, and it never tires or becomes stale. The form is very much the typical Mass with a few differences. Two introductory orchestral pieces: the first a whirlwind of brash, in your face athleticism; the second, a magisterial procession with trumpet fanfare. The Kyrie is scored for chorus and soprano soloist. The choir opens in chorale style, the soprano, a bit wild I warn you, impassionedly cries Christ have mercy. The Gloria and Credo are filled with so much imaginative and tuneful material, it would take too much to describe. Of note, the haunting recurrence of Veruje, Credo, ties the piece together, a wild solo tenor, and the inclusion of organ gives a powerful statement to the music. The Sanctus and Agnus Dei give all four soloists a chance to sing, a bit more lyrical, Janacek's gift of melody shines through. Before the repeat of the opening orchestral introduction (this time a postlude), an outstanding and virtuosic organ solo brings the work to a rousing conclusion, a whirlwind of pipe organ. A choral masterpiece.

Sir Charles Mackerras and the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus breathe new life into these works. Janacek's original intentions are put into place, not so stuffy, and a bit rougher around the edges. Mackerras chooses his soloists carefully (the parts are difficult), prepares the chorus and orchestra intelligently, and chooses a wild interpretation, given to him in performance. Excellent sonics and performances. The orchestra speaks very well, and exciting soloists (even the rarely heard bass and alto), and the chorus, the most important element, is balanced well enough; all together, make the atmosphere Mackerras asks for. Along with the Kodaly, a breathless CD; highest of recommendations.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Janacek's Glagolithic Mass 18 Aug. 2001
By Homunculus - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful recording of Janacek's Glagolithic Mass. According to the liner notes it restores Janacek's original score, which was simplified and edited for concert performance. I am familiar with the standard performance, which is wonderful, and this version definitely is superior. The restored rhythmic intricacies are captivating and the additional music in the "Veruju" section is both dramatic and appropriate. This is an essential addition to any Janacek lover's musical library.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
amazing! 28 Jan. 2009
By Sungu Okan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Glagolitic Mass is amy be the most original choral work ever written. It has an ambigious beauty. There is no any little nonsense moment, everytime there is such a great orchestral effect, dramatic choral moments or terrific organ solos. This Mass written in not so religious senses, but more pantheistic, and the main theme as Janacek said "a church concentrated on death".

Glagolitic Mass, as we know it today actually revised version. The because of revision is, when th master written the first draft, in the rehearsals it was found so difficult, imprectable to play. In that recording, we have the original version! which is may be more amazing than revised version.

The differences are there: the Intrada section placed not only at last, but in the beggining too, this is just like we are going in the church and when the mass finished we are going out. And then, Introduction section coming. It is not 3/4 rhytm metre and so rhytmic as revised version, but there are more complex polyrhytmic details which sounds waving in the harmonies. The Kyrie (Gospodi pomiluj) was written in 5/4 rhytm and sounds more pompous than revised version. In Gloria (Slava) section there are som different timpani details, some solos and more heavy part. And then, the greatest diffrence coming in Credo (Veruju): in the crucifixion section, there is not just a terrific organ solo, but there are solos for 3 set timpani, some dramatic writing for strings which sounds spine-chilling. In Sanctus (Svet) section there are 14 bars plus, which includes some choral moments in the very high register for sopranos, that sounds so original too. Agnus Dei (Agnece bozij) which was not changed, is the most mysterious section, includes murmuring chorus and desolate string writing. And then suddenly with utmost power the Organ solo begins, which is a passacaglia written in virtuosic style. At last, we are exit from church, as for the last time we hear Intrada, with gorgeous 4 trumpets fanfare.

Sir Charles Mackerras, who is the expert of Janacek music, has done great work in that recording. The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus sounds in that complex work at home, there is really devoted playing and feeling. As a couple, I recommend for the revised version, the amazing reading of Rafael Kubelik. These two performances are the greatest of that Mass.

This recording is highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Incredible recording of a marvellous work 25 Oct. 2013
By Arnaud Wiehe - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Janáček's Glagolitic Mass is an incredible work and one of my ultimate favourite compositions. This CD includes an excellent performance of the reconstructed original work.

Czech composer Leos Janáček (1854-1928) composed the majority and his best known works during the last decade of his life. His musical style is distinctly individual and original making his work unique and interesting. Prominent are "speech" derived melodic lines and influences from Moravian and Slavic folk music.

The Glagolitic Mass for soprano, contralto, tenor, bass, double chorus, organ and orchestra was mostly composed in 1926, using some material which dates back from as early as 1907. Janáček chose to set his mass to Old Church Slavonic text, rather than the more traditional Latin text, hence the title, "Glagolitic Mass". The original version consists of nine movements, with the exciting Intrada repeated at the beginning and end of the piece.

There are a number of excellent versions of Janáček's Glagolitic Mass, including those conducted by Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas and Leonard Bernstein. This recording played by the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Charles Mackerras is my favourite.

This recording features Paul Wingfield's reconstruction of Janáček's original version of the score. Some of the differences include that the Intrada, usually heard at the end of the piece, appears at the beginning too and is more complex rhythmically; and Timpani interruptions are restored to the Credo.

The opening and closing Intrada of the Glagolitic Mass are amongst the most dramatic and exciting that I know. A truly great way to start and end a piece of music. The wailing violins at 1:28 are especially spine-chilling. Alex Ross in his excellent book, The Rest is Noise, mentions that one of Janáček's signature sounds is a raw pealing of trumpets. This can be heard to full effect in the Intrada. There is some wild singing from the soloists (some other versions faring slightly better), but I find this adds to the primal nature of the music and certainly doesn't detract from this marvellous recording. The chorus, excellent throughout are well balanced in this recording. The second last movement for solo organ is unusual in this setting, but is so wonderfully moving that it feels appropriate as a prelude to the conclusion of the work. This is an incredible recording of a marvellous work, which commands to be known.
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