Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Czech Music for Strings.

From my collection.
Bought in 2012.
First listen: 30-1-2012.
Second listen: 5-2-2012.
Third listen: 14-3-2017.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: May 2009 & September 2010.
Recording venue:  Church of the Czechoslovak Hussite, Siezská Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Recording engineer: Jaroslav Stráňavský.
Running time: 64:42.
Classical relevance to me: Not relevant, and will be removed from my collection.

Works performed:
Leoš Janáček. (1854-1928)
Suite. (1877)
Quartet No. 1. (1923) for two violins, viola and cello, after Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy's The Kreutzer sonata, to the Czech Quartet. Arranged for String orchestra by Richard Tognetti.

Bohuslav Martinů. (1890-1959)
Sextet (1932/1950.
Arrangement by the composer for String orchestra od Sextet for two violins, two violas, and two cellos. Dedicated to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge.

Pavel Haas. (1899-1944)
Study. (1943) Completed and revised by Lubomir Peduzzi.


Performed by:
Janáček Chamber Orchestra.

Took me a few years to get this back in the player again but today I succeeded, but after all these years, my reaction to this disc is still one of rejection. That has all to do with the interpretation and the recording. As for the composers I like the Janáček pieces, but the Martinů and Haas compositions do absolutely nothing for me. That has of course in part to do with what this ensemble is offering. What comes out of their effort is a cold technical robust performance without nuances and thrives on effect instead of affect. There is no effort to play it other as technical exercises and so it sounds. There is not an ounce of warmth in this recording. From an engineering standpoint this disc sounds good, a tad bright at times, but the ensemble balance is good. The dynamics will crush your ears if you play it too loud for it is closely recorded. Added the rational approach towards the music, and the technical modernity does the rest to kill the project. They play loud and the accents are devastatingly crude.
It has its effect on the music, of course. My advice is to search for more committed performances, for this will crush you appetite for these works. It did for me. This ensemble is in no small way to blame for the failure. There is no way that this disc is going to be in my player ever.



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