Janacek: Piano Music

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Janacek: Piano Music

Catalogue No:




Release date:

31st Oct 2011




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Janacek: Piano Music



On An Overgrown Path

Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 in E flat minor, JW VIII/19 'From the Street'

In the Mists



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A comparatively tiny body of music – fitting on one CD – Janácˇek’s piano music may lie less easily under the fingers than (to cite a contemporary miniaturist) that of Anton Webern, but it’s affecting and intriguing out of all proportion to its size, from the violent Sonata inspired by a brutally quelled demonstration of social unrest, through the elliptical tone-poem In the Mists, to the almost diary-like intimacy of From an Overgrown Path. Composed against the backdrop of failed ambitions and arduous work on his operas, these piano works offered refuge to Janácˇek. But rather than turning inward, the composer found huge potential within their intimacy. Proto-dramatic, these pieces explode with enthusiasm.

Who better, then, to convey the quirky poetry of this music’s sudden outbursts than someone who learnt it at the feet of the composer himself. When the seven-year-old Rudolf Firkušný took lessons from the great man in 1919, Janácˇek had already composed all the music here and was embarking on the remarkable Indian summer of operatically centred creative activity that, launched with the long-delayed premiere of Jenu°fa, came to confirm him as one of the last century’s most instinctively gifted composers for the stage. Firkušný became a far more adept pianist than Janácˇek ever managed, and in a lifetime of performing this music – the present issue represents his last recorded thoughts – came ever deeper to convey the hidden emotions of From an Overgrown Path’s titles such as ‘Our evenings’, ‘They chattered like swallows’, and ‘The barn-owl has not flown away’.

Sonata 1.X.1905 ("From the Street"): The Presentiment

Sonata 1.X.1905 ("From the Street"): The Death

Janácek: On The Overgrown Path - Our Evenings

On an Overgrown Path, Book I: 2. A Blown-Away Leaf

On an Overgrown Path, Book I: 3. Come with Us!

On an Overgrown Path, Book I: 4. The Madonna of Frydek

On an Overgrown Path, Book I: 5. They Chattered Like Swallows

On an Overgrown Path, Book I: 6. Words Fail!

On an Overgrown Path, Book I: 7. Good night!

On an Overgrown Path, Book I: 8. Unutterable Anguish

Janácek: On The Overgrown Path - In Tears

On an Overgrown Path, Book I: 10. The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away!

On an Overgrown Path, Book II: 1. Andante

On an Overgrown Path, Book II: 2. Allegretto; Presto

On an Overgrown Path, Book II: 3. Piu mosso

On an Overgrown Path, Book II: 4. Allegro; Adagio

On an Overgrown Path, Book II: 5. Vivo

A Recollection

In the Mist: I. Andante

Janácek: In The Mists - Molto Adagio

In the Mist: III. Andantino

In the Mist: IV. Presto

BBC Music Magazine

April 2012


“Sophisticated, nuanced interpretations, fabulously paced in intensity, from a pianist long associated with the music of his fellow Czech. Truly great musicianship.”

Gramophone Magazine

March 1991

“Rudolf Firkušný … has long been a touchstone of interpretation of Janácˇek’s piano music; and his quickness of response, his sensitivity of phrase, his ability to seek out the essence of Janácˇek’s lyrical statements in a brief melodic curve are as rewarding as ever.”

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