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Janácek: Taras Bulba; Lachian & Moravian Dances / Warsaw PO - Wit

Album Summary

>Janácek, Leos : Taras Bulba
>Janácek, Leos : Lachian (Lasske) Dances (6) for orchestra, JW 6/17
>Janácek, Leos : Moravian Dances (5) for orchestra, JW 6/7
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Leo Janácek was an authority on his native folk-music, and the Lachian and Moravian Dances preserve and celebrate culture and traditions which were vanishing even in his own lifetime. Based on Gogol's historical novel, Janácek's inspired orchestral rhapsody on Taras Bulba depicts three moving and dramatic episodes in the violent life of the Cossack leader, climaxing in his stirring and triumphant prophecy of liberation. This release follows Antoni Wit's acclaimed Warsaw recording of Janácek's Glagolitic Mass and Sinfonietta (8.572639). Antoni Wit, one of the most highly regarded Polish conductors, studied conducting with Henryk Czyz and composition with Krzysztof Penderecki at the Academy of Music in Kraków, subsequently continuing his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. In 2002 he became managing and artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Everything about this disc is fabulous: the performances, the coupling, and the sonics. Antoni Wit’s Taras Bulba sounds like no other. It’s full of details that you won’t have heard before, particularly in the layering of textures and shades of woodwind color... Finding appropriate couplings for the composer’s scant orchestral output is never easy... Wit’s choice of the two dance suites turns out to be an inspired decision, since they offer music that marries very well with Taras Bulba. They are delightful... Strongest recommendation." -Classics Today (10/10)

HBDirect.com - Paul Ballyk, May 2012
Leo Janácek's powerful rhapsody for orchestra, Taras Bulba, receives a superb performance from Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic on this new Naxos CD. In three movements, Taras Bulba depicts three moving and dramatic episodes from the violent life of the Cossack leader. The disc is magnificent in every way! You won't hear a better recording in terms of both performance and sonics. Moreover, the inclusion of the rarely recorded Lachian & Moravian dance suites serves to round off a perfect program. Regardless of whether or not your shelves already hold a large selection of Janácek's music, this recording will take an important place and will be a prized addition to your collection.

American Record Guide, July / August 2012
The five Moravian Dances are along the same lines as the Lachian ones; they are just as lively, but there are fewer lyrical moments, and they are shorter. I like the last two best. Janacek's dances remind one of Dvorak's. I think Janacek using folk melodies sounds like a better composer, if less original. But Sinfonietta is his defining work.

MusicWeb International
My new favourite Taras Bulba, elevated by superb orchestral playing and the most emotional (and least repetitive) ending I've yet heard. The Lachian Dances and my favourite cover painting of 2012 don't hurt.


Beautiful orchestral sound from the Warsaw Philharmonic
Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic have been on a major hot streak with their Naxos recordings, winning major awards and rave reviews, and they continue with this release of music by Leos Janacek. Janacek writes passionate music of great beauty and delicacy which requires expert instrumentalists and a conductor with vision and control. The whole package is here, and once again the music is presented to best effect by the Naxos engineers. Wit's Taras Bulba is especially impressive; I would put it in the same league as the famous recordings by Charles Mackerras and Vaclav Talich. It's encouraging that in the New Europe a Polish orchestra can really get behind this music, since the Poles are the bad guys in Janacek's version of Gogol's novel about a Cossack revolt. It all happened more than 300 years ago!

The Lachian and Moravian Dances are beautifully played, though maybe a bit polished for my taste. I like this music to sound slightly more earthy. Still, Wit brings out a beautiful orchestral sound with exciting climaxes and dreamy, graceful interludes.
Submitted on 05/02/12 by Dean Frey 
A Formidable Taras Bulba
Antoni Witt and his crackerjack Warsaw band do a fine job of animating Janacek’s unique language-derived writing as well as clarifying the composer’s oftentimes daring harmonic excursions. The program is thoughtfully assembled, from the appealing early dance collections of the 1890’s to the mature 1918 masterpiece, Taras Bulba. Production and engineering are topnotch. The key organ part in the opening section of Taras Bulba emerges very effectively. Throughout Janacek’s complex orchestration is vividly illuminated. Good liner notes by Keith Anderson. A welcome addition to Wit’s ever expanding discography.
Submitted on 10/19/12 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : Taras Bulba
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland (09/02/2010/09/03/2010)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1915-1918

>Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : Lachian (Lasské) Dances (6) for orchestra, JW 6/17
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Notes: Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Concert Studio, Warsaw, Poland (10/12/2010/10/13/2010)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1924

>Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : Moravian Dances (5) for orchestra, JW 6/7
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Running Time: 8 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1889-1891