Janacek was probably thinking of his recent use of the organ in the Glagolithic Mass, but further indication of the organ's "proper place" comes from two works completed in 1918 -- the orchestral rhapsody Taras Bulba
and the opera The Excursion of Mr.
When it comes to Czech music, these first and foremost include the recordings of Leos Janacek's Sinfonietta and Taras Bulba
, and Bohuslav Martinu works.
The evening began with a secure, full-blooded account of Jan[sz]cek's Taras Bulba
contained magical oboe solos, Symphony Hall's allenveloping organ and plenty of audible tubular bells.
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Listening to the Vienna Taras Bulba
or Sinfonieta, which are refined and perfect in terms of sound, I felt they lacked the vigorous Janacekian drive, and a more convincing stress on his distinctive musical language.
We needed the joyous, sensuous life-enhancement of the great hymn to love which is Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony after the emotional batterings of Janacek's gratuitously gory Taras Bulba
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As an example of the difficulty of the work for the editors we might take one of the earliest volumes, which in addition to 98 pages of the score of the orchestral rhapsody Taras Bulba
contains another approximately 60 pages of preliminary, alternative or abandoned versions of the work and 10 pages of facsimiles showing different phases of the final moulding of the work into its definitive form.
Two rhapsodies filled the first half, Janacek's Taras Bulba
and Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini.
In the sixties they were still quite a rarity and where they were produced at all, they concentrated more on tried and tested titles such as the Sinfonietta or Tares Bulba
After a Janacek-like ending we moved to some real Janacek, Taras Bulba
, unfortunately not his finest piece with its garish response to a repellent story, but one offering many colourful opportunities skilfully taken by the players.
For example, the symphonic rhapsody Taras Bulba
was recorded a very long time ago on old breakable 78 discs by the Janacek expert and conductor Bretislav Bakala--with the then still existing Brno Radio Symphony Orchestra.