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Cat. No. CHAN 3029 Price: £9 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 3029 - Janacek: Osud (Fate)
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Janácek began writing Osud (Fate) in 1903 at the Moravian Sap of Luhacovice, where he went to overcome the death of his daughter Olga earlier that year. He set to work imagining an opera that would be largely about himself, completely realistic, drawn from life at a sap. It was finally staged in 1958 after being previously withdrawn by Janácek. Although staging can be problematic, a recorded performance is the idea way to enjoy some of Janácek’s most incandescent music.

Before the opera begins, Mila and a composer Zivny have had an affair and a child. Mila’s mother, fearful of her daughter marrying a penniless composer, had done her best to split them up. The opera begins on a fine day in a spa town with the crowds out enjoying the sunshine. Mila and Zivny meet by chance and decide to go off together before Mila’s mother can stop them. Act two opens with Mila, Zivny their child and her mother living together. Mila’s mother is deranged by the catastrophe of her daughter’s marriage and is watched over by servants. However she eludes the servants and, after mockingly singing one of the love songs from Zivny’s unfinished operas, runs off with Mila pursuing her. Off-stage they both topple to their deaths over the balcony.

Eleven years later students are trying out a passage from Zinvy’s completed opera which is about to receive its premiere. The student Verva enters and tells them more about the work, believing it to be autobiographical and without the last act. When Zivny suddenly appears they ask him to tell them more about the opera, which he does with passion. The emotional charge of personal recollections become too great for him and, against the background of a storm, he collapses at the sight of a vision of his dead wife. In his final words he maintains that the last act is still in God’s hands.
Reviews

"Janacek’s - most unjustly neglected - opera, richly lyricl, more sustained and less fragmented than his later operas, is not just a valuable rarity but makes an ideal introduction to this composer... The warmly atmospheric ... recording made in Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, brings out the unusual opulence of the Janacek sound, yet it allows the words to come over with fine clarity..."
The Penguin Guide - 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12


Sir Charles Mackerrass conducting in this Welsh National Opera recording confirms the [scores] musical strength… this fine recording in English brings out its winning warmth…
The Guardian

Sir Charles Mackerras wins playing from the orchestra that is indeed incandescent.
Gramophone

…capturing the full gustiness, passion and impetus of the composers inspiration…
The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs

 

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