The three sets of Janácek songs on this Hyperion release might seem an odd group, with the deadly serious and even obsessive The Diary of One Who Disappeared joined to the subtle, frequently humorous Ríkadla (Nursery Rhymes), and often joyous Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs. However, the three works are linked by the presence of folk music, which is always there in Janácek's music even at its most modern and expressionistic. The Diary of One Who Disappeared, inspired by Janácek's paramour Kamila Stösslová, is a song cycle that at times verges on opera, for tenor, alto, three female voices, and piano. It has a full-blown narrative about a young villager who falls in love with a gypsy girl, and despite its small scale, it's a great example of the heated psychological intensity of Janácek's masterpieces of the 1920s (the work was completed in 1921). Tenor Nicky Spence excels here; the young Scot has Wagnerian power but reduces it to the inward dimensions of the song cycle, and accompanist Julius Drake adds an edgy tension. The various female singers deliver exquisite readings of the nursery rhymes, with vocal slides and barked text, and the early Moravian Folk Poetry contains numerous little harbingers of the Janácek to come. Recommended, although the church acoustic is wrong for this Liederabend.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Zápisník zmizelého JW V/12, The diary of one who disappeared|
|Říkadla JW V/16 Nursery rhymes, Original version for 1-3 voices, clarinet and piano|
|Moravská lidová poezie v písních JW V/2|
|Moravská lidová poezie v písních jw VI2|