Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Leoš Janáček

If you're wondering what church music written by an atheist sounds like, listen to the Glagolitic Mass. Whatever your take is on spiritual matters, I hope you'll give it a listen. Leoš Janáček made a masterpiece - this ranks high on my Blockbusters of Western Civilization list. The text is in Old Church Slavonic, which you can learn more about here. I included a translation. The orchestration, solo, and choral writing are unique. I can't think of a single thing to compare this to, except the wild organ solo toward the end sounds like like the soundtrack of a vampire movie. The concluding Intrada section is pure adrenaline. Bizarre and absolutely incredible stuff.

Those of you familiar with "Knife Edge" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer will immediately recognize the opening fanfare of Sinfonietta, another awesome piece of music. Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra do an even better job than Simon Rattle on both these works... plenty of energy, fine acoustics. I still want to hear Mackerras.

I forget on which blog I found this, but mediafire is a quick download. And have I mentioned yet? This is currently out of circulation. MP3 versions of the recordings by Rattle and Mackerras you can find on Amazon.

Download here (no password):



Paul said...

Coincidence! I was planning to put Jancek's sinfonietta on the memory stick I'm sending! Probably won't now! lol

Ed said...

I bet you got the goods - looking forward to it. I just got an external CD drive, so now I can copy some of my collection with my netbook.

Paul said...

The fanfare from the fourth movement was also used for a 1970s UK TV show called "Crown Court".

I got into Janacek after seeing a string quartet performing some of his work.

I will get my act together with the memory stick. I've been putting together a list, as when I've thought of stuff to put on it.

Unknown said...

I always learn so much reading your blog, Angus! :-)

Ed said...

Thanks! Music is one of my favorite topics. Hey writing is pretty good too.