Leos Janacek: A Recollection
|Price:||£13.47 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Hungarian-born pianist András Schiff occupies a prominent position amongst the world's most distinguished musicians, acclaimed for his profound and inspired interpretations in recital, concerto and chamber music performance and recording. This is the great pianist's first recital recording of Janácek's piano music. Schiff's concert performances of this material have stunned the public and the critics. As Bradley Bambarger noted recently in Billboard, "One of the most powerfully poetic displays of pianism I've ever witnessed was András Schiff holding a BBC proms crowd rapt with Janácek's 'Sonata I.X.1905' in London's huge Royal Albert Hall".
Schiff was drawn to Janácek's piano music by what he feels are affinities with Bartók, and the "story-telling" piano pieces chosen by Schiff for this recital have the timeless appeal of Bartók's "Mikrokosmos". As journalist Rob Cowan notes, "No matter how many times you listen to these gems, the sum effect of emotional engagement, wonderment and love of life is as lasting as one's admiration for the music's miniaturist construction. They are truly 'the world in a grain of sand'."
András Schiff made his ECM debut in 1999 with the widely acclaimed Music for Two Pianos with Peter Serkin: voted Classic FM Magazine 'CD of the Month' and BBC Music Magazine 'Album-of-the-Year'. His recording of the Schubert Fantasies was Gramophone Editor's Choice and Critics' Choice of 2000.
András Schiff, piano
It is pianist András Schiff's near total identification with Janácek's idiom that makes these performances so special. This affinity is felt immediately in his reading of In the Mists, in which Schiff is able to evoke the tranquillity of the second movement as easily as he captures the folk-like simplicity of the third. The date 1.X.1905 in the title of the Piano Sonata refers to the date of the shooting of a Czech worker by Hapsburg troops. The first movement, marked Presentiment, is spookily atmospheric whilst the chilling second movement, The Death, leaves a powerful impression. Schiff demonstrates exemplary control so that the effect is peaceful rather than meandering. On an Overgrown Path is Janácek at his most concentrated: in particular, the very Czech lachrymose quality of In Tears is all the more powerful for its simplicity. Janácek's chosen range of keyboard sonorities is remarkably wide and Schiff manages to use these to convey the full emotional spectrum. Although these performances do not displace Firkusny's for DG, they certainly offer an entirely convincing alternative viewpoint. ECM's exemplary recording sets the seal on this recommendation. --Colin Clarke
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I find the Firkusny performance to be clinical and dry as compared to Schiff, who is more lyrical and poetic. Firkusny may be playing it how Janacek intended, but musicians are artists and are free to interpret a piece any way they like. For this piece, I choose Schiff's interpretation.
That is the type of Recollection which this music evokes for me. The excellent liner notes by Imre Kertesz and Robert Cowan refer to how each one of these evocative pieces is like a short story; each contains its own inner world: the "world in a grain of sand." There is the same mystical element present that one encounters in Arvo Part's music, but there is an impressionistic element as well, more lyrical than Debussy, and more emotional.
The magnificent two-movement Sonate (1.X.1905) is easily the highlight of the album. It was written to commemorate a protesting Czech student executed on that date by German troops. The second movement (entitled simply, "Death") still has, as the liner notes aptly say, "the power to shock." There is an existential element to this music, that "poses the eternally unanswered and unanswerable question of the human condition" (Kertesz).
In response to another reviewer who has stated that the recording's sound quality is lacking: I have listened to this recording on my car's cd player, and there it does sound rather like too much of an echo is present. But on my home stereo system, with quality speakers and subwoofer, the slight echo actually enhances the haunting quality of this music. It is, for me, that echo, that silencio between the notes, that makes this music and this performance, unforgettable.
Enter Andras Schiff; while he does not displace Firkusny that is mostly because their approaches are so different as to be complimentary, the performances here are fully idiomatic, detailed and stirring. "On an Overgrown Path" is variegated, flexible and unpredictable in terms of moods and mood shifts, sufficiently so to become truly haunting; the Sonate is stirringly restless and makes a unique impact, and In the Mist is graceful and poignant in an almost otherworldly manner resembling no other auditory experience. ECM's engineering is dazzling, even though the piano sound becomes almost over-resplendent at times (perhaps there is a little too much reverberance). In any case, this is a classic, and completely unmissable