Leoš JANÁCEK (1854-1928)
In the Mist for piano solo (1913) [15:42]
In the Mist (supplement) for piano solo (1913) [3:30]
Zdenka Variations for piano solo (1880) [10:45]
Three Moravian Dances for piano solo (1892) [5:19]
Violin Sonata (1913-22) [17:32]
Romance for violin and piano (1879) [4:24]
Dumka for violin and piano (1880) [5:02]
Presto for cello and piano (1910?) [2:40]
Fairy Tale (Pohadka) for cello and piano (1910) [12:36]
Radoslav Kvapil (piano); Petr Messerieur (violin); Evzen Rattay (cello)
rec. Studio Damiens, Paris, 1989. DDD
REGIS RRC 1312 [76:41]

Originally issued on the French Amat label in 1990 these are the complete Janácek works for piano with violin or cello. The chamber duos are supplemented with the two works in Janácek’s least complicated folk dance idiom – the Zdenka Variations and the Three Moravian Dances. The style of these earlier works recalls the piano solos on the two Kenge CDs issued by Guild a couple of years ago. When contrasting the elusive subtleties of In the Mist it is like comparing Janácek’s Lachian Dances with his Sinfonietta - only more so. The Lachian Dances I first heard on a Decca LP (SXL6507) where the conductor was François Huybrechts and the orchestra the LPO. The Moravian Dances are early works with more in common with Dvorak than with the works of Janácek’s long maturity.

Radoslav Kvapil knows this music from the inside and has the technique and imagination to make it accessible to the listener without obstacles. He is aided in this by two eloquent members of the Talich String Quartet: Petr Messerieur and Evzen Rattay. This is a hoarse and passionate reading of the Violin Sonata (apparently the third – the other two have been lost) which is nevertheless every bit as subtle as the In the Mist Suite and the stutteringly impressionist supplement movement heard here. Again there’s a real stylistic contrast between the Violin Sonata and the Dumka which veers between Dvorák and Mozart. The Dumka has a gypsy swoon to it – rather like a moody blend of Bruch and Sarasate. We then move to the pieces for cello and piano. The first is the Presto which Kvapil believes to date from circa 1910. It is much more distinctive Janácek than the two genre pieces for violin. It has something of the dissenting mastery of Sinfonietta and Taras Bulba. Much the same applies with the three movement Pohadka with its halting-faltering melodic units, pauses and flurrying accesses of emotion. The second movement is remarkable – Janácek’s originality is clearly evident here.

The notes are by James Murray so we are in safe hands.

The rear insert sheet lists the tracks in a different order from that in which they appear on the disc. The insert leaflet has things correctly.

Eloquent and authoritative readings of Janácek’s chamber works in superbly immediate sound.

Rob Barnett

Eloquent and authoritative readings of Janácek’s chamber works in superbly immediate sound.