Josef Palenicek

Janácek: Piano Works

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Idiosyncrasies abound in Leos Janácek's piano works, as in his symphonic and operatic masterpieces, and newcomers may notice his oddities of phrasing and ostensible breaks in continuity first, before suddenly appreciating the wealth of personal expressions, original melodies, rich harmonies, and inventive combinations waiting just under the eccentric surfaces. Pianist Josef Palenicek studied and played Janácek's piano oeuvre throughout his long career, and his devotion and commitment to this extraordinary literature is fully apparent in this generous double-disc from Supraphon. Solo works, such as the nostalgic collections On an Overgrown Path (1901-1908) and In the Mists (1912), are surveyed on Disc 1, though the profoundly moving fragment of the Sonata in E flat minor, "October 1, 1905," should not be missed. The second disc presents two more extroverted works for piano and instrumental ensembles, the impassioned Concertino (1925) and the cantankerous Capriccio (1926), which show some characteristics of the more expansive orchestral and operatic works, and almost burst out of their modest chamber parameters with the profusion of ideas and Janácek's irrepressible energy. These wonderful recordings were made in 1972, but the original analog masters have been carefully preserved and exquisitely mastered for digital, and sound exceptionally lifelike, clean, and free of tape hiss.

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