Janacek: On An Overgrown Path, In The Mists, Sonat
Label: PIANO CLASSICS
Format: COMPACT DISC
Janacek composed his piano music around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, before he found fame late in life with operas such as ‘Jenufa,’ ‘Kata Kabanova’ and ‘The Makropulos Case.’ Epigrammatic but obsessive, these intimate pieces speak of the composer’s passions and frustrations. But like his later works they are loaded with drama and big ideas. The first book in ‘On An Overgrown Path’ is notable for its poetic titles- such as ‘Our evenings,’ ‘They chattered like swallows,’ ‘Unutterable anguish’- which find expression in music of apparent folk-like innocence and sudden passions, which reach a powerful climax in the violent contrasts of the first book’s final piece, ‘The Barn-Owl has not flown away.’ This is music of heartbreak and desolation hardly less moving on its way than the great scenes of love and abandonment which Janacek composed for his operatic heroines. Stripped of such titles, the second book in ‘On An Overgrown Path’ is more elusive in meaning, swinging between a gentle, Czech translation of Debussy’s Impressionist tone-painting and darker, more sinister currents of expression that run raw and angry in the Sonata which Janacek wrote to commemorate the death of a young man at the hands of the police in Prague during political protests in the autumn of 1905. From seven years later, the four-movement cycle of Mists recovers some of the Romantic melancholy of ‘On an Overgrown Path,’ though its cathartic finale presents a stiff challenge to any pianist with its torrents of notes. As the recipient of a prestigious Borletti-Buitoni award, the Hungarian pianist Zoltan Fejervari is a solo, concerto and chamber-music pianist with several well-received recordings to his credit such as Liszt’s Malediction and an album of Mozart violin sonatas in partnership with Erno Kallai.