Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss

Janácek: Choral Works; Moravian Choruses

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins

This terrific recording of choral works by Leos Janácek features the superb Cappella Amsterdam, led by Daniel Reuss. The choir's tone is full, pure, richly nuanced, and the singing captures the wide idiomatic diversity of the music, which spans the composer's career; Janácek made the transcriptions of Dvorák's Moravian Duets between 1877 and 1884, and the 19-movement cycle Ríkadla dates from 1926, just a few years before his death. His Moravian Choruses are, predictably, Dvorákian in their lush melodic Romanticism, and the influence of Stravinsky is evident in the rhythmic complexities and acerbic quirkiness of Ríkadla. There are six other lovely, anthem-like choral works, including a massive 16-minute setting of the Lord's Prayer accompanied by harmonium and harp, that filter the traditional folk idioms of Czech and Moravian traditions through the composer's individual, dramatic voice. Tenor Thomas Walker is featured prominently in several of the songs. The most engaging and most characteristically Janácekian work is Ríkadla (Nursery Rhymes), scored for chorus and a truly weird ensemble including pairs of flutes, clarinets, bassoons, double bass, and piano, plus ocarina and toy drum. Radio Blazers Ensemble provides a perky, breezy accompaniment for the piece. The composer's treatment of the traditional texts is giddy and whimsically unpredictable, and often laugh-out-loud funny. The sound of the Harmonia Mundi recording is clean and warmly resonant, but the tenor sometimes sounds unnaturally foregrounded.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Six Moravian Choruses (Sechs Klänge aus Mähren)
1 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:14 Amazon
2 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:16 Amazon
3 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:33 Amazon
4 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:12 Amazon
5 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 03:06 Amazon
6 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 03:19 Amazon
7 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 03:38 Amazon
8 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 07:32 Amazon
9 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 07:35 Amazon
Nursery Rhymes (Ríkadla)
10 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:34 Amazon
11 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:29 Amazon
12 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:11 Amazon
13 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:14 Amazon
14 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:37 Amazon
15 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:29 Amazon
16 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:58 Amazon
17 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:34 Amazon
18 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:01 Amazon
19 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:39 Amazon
20 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:08 Amazon
21 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:37 Amazon
22 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:21 Amazon
23 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:39 Amazon
24 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:44 Amazon
25 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:46 Amazon
26 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:46 Amazon
27 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 00:22 Amazon
28 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 01:35 Amazon
On an Overgrown Path
29 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 04:11 Amazon
30 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 04:55 Amazon
31 Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss 16:08 Amazon
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