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Record Box - Planning your collection - with Bill Newman

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Global Fascinations and Sophistications

Bartók and Janácek

 

One of the finest of smaller ensembles today is undoubtedly the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra under their director Iona Brown, versatile in a whole range of repertoire old and new. Their latest Chandos CD features music by Bartok and Janacek, totally idiomatic in the Hungarian composer's Divertimento for string orchestra based on Hungarian folk music, with its rhythms in movements 1 and 3 and growing tensions during the central movement. Marvellous precision and expressive attention to detail reaches virtuosic peaks of excitement in the closing pages [listen -- track 3, 5:49-6:49].

Bartók - Janácek (c) 2000 Chandos Records Ltd

Janacek's excursions into Moravian folk poetry also inspired two early works for string ensemble -- Idyll in seven short movements; Suite, with six.

They date from 1878, and the year before -- 1877, respectively. Both were initially rejected by the composer, although he did later change his mind allowing the Suite to be numbered in his output. Idyll resurfaced in 1937, published in 1951. Their dance movements are closer to the Baroque period, but both have great charm and melodic content, though for the typical Janacek of later years listeners will turn to the Lachian Dances with their true Czech flavour. The two composers rarely confided but were superficially polite when they met, and this is an attractive coupling, quite superbly recorded.

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Copyright © 13 December 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - CHANDOS CHAN 9816

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