Heralded as one of the preeminent Czech composers of the early 20th century, Leos Janácek was highly active and prolific throughout his 74-year life. Despite the abundance of music that he left behind, much of it does not receive the level of performance and celebration it should. Fortunately, there are performers like pianist Radoslav Kvapil that have devoted a sizable portion of their career to the study and performance of Janácek and other Czech composers. This Regis reissue features Kvapil performing selected works for solo piano, as well as the complete works for piano and cello and piano and violin. The disc opens with the solo piano works, and listeners will immediately realize why Kvapil is so widely regarded. His playing features the utmost in control and precision without seeming overly technical. His rhythms are sharp and clean, his voicing nuanced, and rubato engaging. Regrettably, Regis' record quality is not stellar; Kvapil's piano sounds somewhat dull and tinny. Listeners will still find his playing so captivating and detailed that this minor shortcoming can be overlooked Kvapil goes on to prove himself a sensitive and dynamic accompanist when joined by members of the Talich Quartet for the Violin Sonata and Pohádka. Violinist and cellist Petr Messieurer and Evzen Rattay, respectively, share Kvapil's penchant for detail, nuance, and subtlety in playing. Like Kvapil, neither of the string players is afforded an especially luxurious sound quality, but the quality of playing more than makes up for it.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|In the Mist, for piano solo|
|In the Mist|
|Three Moravian Dances, for piano solo|
|Sonata, for violin and piano|
|Pohádka (Fairy Tale), for cello & piano|