Jean-Efflam Bavouzet / Edward Gardner / Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Janácek: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1

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The Vol. 1 designation in the graphics suggests that this will be the first item in a complete cycle of Leos Janácek's orchestral works, and as such it's quite promising. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, from Norway, is led by its frequent guest conductor, Edward Gardner. The biggest find here is a work that might more accurately be called chamber music rather than orchestral music: the Capriccio for piano left hand, flute or piccolo, two trumpets, three trombones, and tenor tuba, JW VII/12. This work is rarely heard even on piano one-hand recitals, but its revival here by (two-handed) pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet argues for more frequent performances. The undeniably odd ensemble is exquisitely balanced, with equal doses of both Janácek's trademark lyricism and a bit of impish humor. The slow second movement has the feel of entering an enchanted forest. The Sinfonietta, JW VI/18, of the same year and the Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen, JW 1/9, in a version by the great Janácek interpreter Charles Mackerras, are also entirely satisfying: less edgy than Czech versions, perhaps, but cleanly and idiomatically done. Listeners also benefit from the quiet, pleasant acoustic of the Grieghalle in Bergen, handled well by Chandos' engineers. This makes one very ready to hear more in the series.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sinfonietta, JW 6/18
1 02:08
2 06:12
3 05:20
4 03:03
5 06:43
Capriccio, JW 7/12
6 05:02
7 05:15
8 03:38
9 06:20
The Cunning Little Vixen Suite, JW 1/9
10 09:50
11 10:26
blue highlight denotes track pick