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Cat. No. CHAN 9816 Price: Ł10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9816 - Bartok: Divertimento · Janacek: Idyll
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Available From: 16 March 2000
Both Bartók and Janácek were steeped in the folk music of their different homelands and from their studies each had absorbed what he wanted into his mature style.

Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings, Sz113 (1939), was written at the height of the composer’s maturity, when he began to simplify a style which was increasingly preoccupied with modernist experiment. It was commissioned of the Basle Chamber Orchestra by Paul Sacher who wanted ‘something simpler’ than the previous piece he had commissioned from Bartók – Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz106 (1936). MThe resulting three-movement piece conforms to traditional structures, respectively, of sonata form, ternary form and rondo form. There is residue of folk music everywhere, but far more integral is the melodic and harmonic language – Bartók’s sophisticated extension of conventional modality.

Taken together Janácek’s pieces provide some insight into the music the young Janácek had come across. Both works are a homage to Dvorák, the composer he most venerated. Most movements are cast in the formal structures of Baroque dances, as the titles of the movements attest, but they betray the young Janácek’s ignorance of Baroque music. For example, the Sarabande is in quadruple time, and the Allemande is not particularly dance-like. There is little that hints at the mature Janácek, although in 1926 he looked through the Suite and had it published, but the Idyll was thought lost and not published until after his death.
Both Bartók and Janácek were steeped in the folk music of their different homelands and from their studies each had absorbed what he wanted into his mature style.

Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings, Sz113 (1939), was written at the height of the composer’s maturity, when he began to simplify a style which was increasingly preoccupied with modernist experiment. It was commissioned of the Basle Chamber Orchestra by Paul Sacher who wanted ‘something simpler’ than the previous piece he had commissioned from Bartók – Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz106 (1936). MThe resulting three-movement piece conforms to traditional structures, respectively, of sonata form, ternary form and rondo form. There is residue of folk music everywhere, but far more integral is the melodic and harmonic language – Bartók’s sophisticated extension of conventional modality.

Taken together Janácek’s pieces provide some insight into the music the young Janácek had come across. Both works are a homage to Dvorák, the composer he most venerated. Most movements are cast in the formal structures of Baroque dances, as the titles of the movements attest, but they betray the young Janácek’s ignorance of Baroque music. For example, the Sarabande is in quadruple time, and the Allemande is not particularly dance-like. There is little that hints at the mature Janácek, although in 1926 he looked through the Suite and had it published, but the Idyll was thought lost and not published until after his death.


Reviews

‘This new performance, at once elegant and beautifully phrased, is also very committed: the playing has great feeling and passion… Rhythm’s are taut and springy, and one senses every player giving his or her all.’
Hi-Fi News on CHAN 9708 (Strauss/Tchaikovsky)

‘The performance by Iona Brown and her fine Norwegian Chamber Orchestra musicians… is rendered with skill and in fine style… Brown elicits playing of supreme warmth…’
Fanfare on CHAN 9708 (Strauss/Tchaikovsky)

 

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