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Cat. No. CHAN 10678 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10678 - Czech Music for Strings
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Available From: 15 June 2011
Czech Music for Strings

This recording presents music by the Czech composers Janácek, Martinu, and Haas, all of whom were prominent figures in their country’s musical history during the early twentieth century. The works are performed by the Janácek Chamber Orchestra, which has won awards for their interpretations of Czech music.

Janácek wrote his String Quartet No. 1 during a particularly creative period towards the end of his life. It took its inspiration from Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata, a portrait of a loveless marriage. The dramatic power and deep emotion of this work, coupled with some extraordinary textures and eccentric orchestration, place it among the greatest string quartets ever written. It is here played in a version for string orchestra. Also recorded is the Suite, one of Janácek’s very first works for orchestral ensemble.

Pavel Haas was considered the most gifted of all of Janácek’s many students. A composer of Jewish descent, he was transported to Auschwitz in 1941, where he died in 1944. The Study for String Orchestra was written in the summer of 1943 for the Auschwitz camp string orchestra, and the first performance of the work is preserved in part in a German propaganda film.

After Janácek, Martinu was the leading Czech composer of the last century. A highly prolific composer, he often wrote at great speed and the prize-winning Sextet for Strings is no exception. It was written in just seven days in May 1932. This work displays a real exuberance, from the energetic opening movement through to the spirited finale.

 

Reviews

"...There’s no doubting the excellent recording quality of this Chandos disc, and the performances are classy. too... there are many insights and no little distinction in this disc."
Jonathan Woolf - Fanfare - January/February 2012


"This is a fine collection of Czech music written or arranged for string orchestra... The Janacek Chamber Orchestra was organiszed in 1964 from the Janacek Philharmonic of Ostrava. They are a thoroughly professional group. The notes are detailed, and the recording is up to Chandos’s usual high standards."
Bauman - American Record Guide - November/December 2011

              Recording of the Month
“... There is basically nothing to criticize about this release ... they all engage the ear and they fit together stylistically –in other words, it’s a great program. The orchestra play beautifully, with the required rhythmic precision, and, where the music allows it (like the Suite’s fifth movement), great poetry as well. Solos are superb all around. For fans of Janácek, Haas and Martinu, this is an hour of guaranteed satisfaction”
Brian Reinhart – MusicWeb-International.com – November 2011

“Fans of Czech music should bounce along and hear this, and for anyone wanting to explore the string orchestra repertoire beyond the ubiquitous Tchaikovsky, Dvorák and Elgar, it will hold many rewards.” ****
Jessica Duchen – Classic FM Magazine – September 2011

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Tim Ashley – The Guardian – 8 August 2011

 

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