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Janacek: Diary of One Who Disappeared / 15 Moravian Songs Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, January 8, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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Janácek's Diary of One Who Disappeared is a cycle, almost a quasi-opera, of 22 songs for tenor, mezzo, an offstage chorus of three female voices, and a piano. It's based on poems the composer found in a Czech newspaper purporting to be the confessions of a young man who leaves family and village for the gypsy girl he loves. The songs speak of longing, sexual attraction, guilt, regret, anxiety, and a host of other emotions wonderfully captured by Ian Bostridge, whose high tenor voice has more body and thrust than in his other recordings. Singing in the original Czech, Bostridge sounds as comfortable as a native speaker. Thomas Adès, best known as a composer, is also a superb pianist. He has to be, because the keyboard part is of vital importance, not only commenting on the vocal line and in extended postludes, but in a brief solo as well. Ruby Philogene is appropriately sultry as the gypsy, and this deeply felt performance is a triumph for all concerned. Adès scores again in the Moravian Folksongs for solo piano and in the miniature solo pieces, some of which say more in their brief span than many longer works. --Dan Davis

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I. One Day I Met A Young Gypsy Girl - Ian Bostridge
  2. II. That Dark-Skinned Gypsy Girl - Ian Bostridge
  3. III. The Glow-worms Are Dancing - Ian Bostridge
  4. IV. The Young Swallows - Ian Bostridge
  5. V. Ploughing Is Heavy Work - Ian Bostridge
  6. VI. Hey, You Grey Oxen - Ian Bostridge
  7. VII. Now That I've Lost My Little Pin - Ian Bostridge
  8. VIII. Don't Look So Sadly After Me - Ian Bostridge
  9. IX. Welcome, Janicek - Ian Bostridge
  10. X. God In Heaven, Eternal One - Ian Bostridge
  11. XI. The Sweet Smell Of Ripening Wheat - Ian Bostridge
  12. XII. The Shady Elder-grove - Ian Bostridge
  13. XIII. Piano Solo - Ian Bostridge
  14. XIV. The Sun Climbs High - Ian Bostridge
  15. XVI. My Gren Oxen - Ian Bostridge
  16. XVI. What Have I Done? - Ian Bostridge
  17. XVII. That Which Fate Has Ordained - Ian Bostridge
  18. XVIII. Now Nothing Matters To Me - Ian Bostridge
  19. XIX. The Magpie Flies Away - Ian Bostridge
  20. XX. I Have A True Love - Ian Bostridge
  21. XXI. My Dear Father - Ian Bostridge
  22. XXII. Farewell, My Native Land - Ian Bostridge
  23. I. That Clock In Vivany - Thomas Ades
  24. II. When I Sing A Song - Thomas Ades
  25. III. Oh Georgie, Georgie Dear - Thomas Ades
  26. IV. Mary, My Mary - Thomas Ades
  27. V. My Darling's Already Leaving - Thomas Ades
  28. VI. A Girl Was Weaving Flax - Thomas Ades
  29. VII. You Promised To Marry Me - Thomas Ades
  30. VIII. Whose Lad - Thomas Ades
  31. IX. Whose Lass - Thomas Ades
  32. X. When I Lie Down - Thomas Ades
  33. XI. A Stream Is Running - Thomas Ades
  34. XII. The Hradcany Clock - Thomas Ades
  35. XIII. On A Black Mountain - Thomas Ades
  36. XIV. On That Javorine Plain - Thomas Ades
  37. XV. On That Clear Field Of Hurasky - Thomas Ades
  38. A Reminiscence, JW VIII/32 - Thomas Ades
  39. In Memoriam, JW VIII/9 - Thomas Ades
  40. Andante, JW VIII/31 - Thomas Ades
  41. Moderato, JW VIII/21 - Thomas Ades
  42. The Golden Ring, JW VIII/33 No.12 - Thomas Ades
  43. I Wait For You, JW VIII/33 No.13 - Thomas Ades
  44. Christ The Lord Is Born, JW VIII/20 - Thomas Ades
  45. X. God In Heaven - Ian Bostridge
  46. XIV. The Sun Climbs High - Ian Bostridge


Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 8, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00005O83M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,964 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Leos Janácek was clearly one of the 20th century's great composers and while his operas and orchestral works are widely performed, his chamber works are nearly well kept secrets. And so it is with pleasure that this completely unique recital by two of our finest musicians joins the CD repertoire.

Janácek's 'The Diary of One Who Disappeared' is related to his operas in the dramatic intensity of the writing. Composed as his only song cycle the work is designated 'song cycle for mezzo-soprano, tenor, female chorus & piano' but in reality it is primarily a work for tenor and piano. In the hands of Ian Bostridge, whose Czech pronunciation is wholly convincing, the plight of the young man who leaves both family and town behind to follow the love for a gypsy is full of folk melodies and intense passion. Brilliant composer/conductor/pianist Thomas Adés provides the sensitive collaboration and the two are joined by mezzo Ruby Philogene as the gypsy and as part of the three voice female chorus offstage along with Diane Atherton and Deryn Edwards. This is a deeply moving work and the performance is first rate.

Filling out the recital Thomas Adés performs Janácek's works for piano, including excerpts from 'Intimate Sketches' and 'Moravian Folk songs'. His playing is subtle, intuitive and he finds all the quirky rhythms and soulful melodies inherent in Janácek's writing. Adés continues to be an outstanding piano soloist as well as one of the most important composers today. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, February 06
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Leos Janáček (1854-1928) was (and remains) an important Czech composer. As a young man he became friends with Dvorak and was one of the early so-called nationalist composers. This movement urged its composers to write music of their homeland and Janáček was among the early group who turner to the folk songs of his native land for source stylistic materials. Many others followed his lead in their own lands (think of Kodaly, Bartok, and even Stravinsky as examples of a much larger group).

This disk contains his only surviving song cycle - which is really a kind of song drama. It is based on some poems that appeared in a newspaper and caught the composer's eye. He clipped them out and took them with him on a trip to a spa and began working on the songs. The poems were published anonymously and were ostensibly by a rustic farm boy who is lured away by a gypsy and is never heard from again. It turns out they were by Ozef Kalda (the pseudonym of Josef Kalda (1871-1921). The songs are mostly for the tenor, but the gypsy makes her appearance, as do three female voices urging the boy to follow the gypsy. Ian Bostridge is superb as the rustic who disappeared and Ruby Philogene is fine as the gypsy.

The pianist, Thomas Adès, not only accompanies the song cycle, he also plays some wonderful solo pieces. One set is of piano pieces based on Moravian folk songs and then there is a set of miscellaneous pieces. All are quite short, but very expressive. Adès is a fine and expressive artist.

The disk concludes with earlier versions of two of the songs from the song cycle.

I think it is always good to stretch your musical experience. This music is quite different than the German, Italian, French art music and song writing that you are probably more used to hearing. This music, while certainly tonal, is quite different in harmonic language, melodic angularity and spacing. Enjoy!
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Janacek's song cycle Diary of One Who Disappeared is one of the most fascinating, compelling and stirring song cycles ever composed; only it isn't quite a song cycle - it is more a mix between song cycle, chamber opera and cantata. It is based on poems allegedly written by an unnamed "son of the soil" (probably a hoax), to which Janacek adds his own utterly distinctive brand of post-romanticism. Not only is the music strikingly memorable, but its cornucopia of shifting atmospheres, subtle tone painting and dramatic intensity is remarkable to the extent that there is nothing quite like it in the history of music.

As a song cycle (if we count it as one) I am prepared to defend the claim that it is rivaled only by Die Schöne Müllerin. It also requires something of the same qualities from the performers (although Janacek's songs require a different set of means). And Ian Bostridge does indeed manage to create the same mixture of emotion, spirit, power and reflection that he has earlier brought to Schubert's masterpiece - I cannot imagine a more compelling performance than this. Ruby Philogene is equally impressive in the mezzo part. The distant chorus is wonderful as well, though I can understand the complaints that it is too distantly recorded (though I would add that in my opinion it achieves exactly the effect it should). Neither do I see any possible, serious complaints about Thomas Adès's piano playing, and the piano is to a large extent an equal partner in this work.

To fill out the disc we get earlier versions of two of the songs and some Moravian Folksongs for piano and a few miniatures - trifles, perhaps, but full of Janacek's trademark quirkiness and striking plays with moods and colors. In short, this is a splendid recording of an undeniable masterpiece - perhaps the best around (though my knowledge of the alternatives is limited) and certainly recommended with all possible enthusiasm.
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