WORKS: Taras Bulba; The Fiddler’s Child; Jealousy; The Cunning Little Vixen Suite
PERFORMER: Czech Philharmonic Orchestral Jiri Belohlavek
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9080 DDD
In this new recording Taras Bulba is joined by three orchestral rarities. The real treasure is the orchestral ballad The Fiddler’s Child, which combines the passion of Janacek’s Osud with the narrative bustle of The Excursions of Mr Broucek. Also included is the black sheep overture to jenufa, entitled Jealousy, which was not given at the opera’s first performance. The sheer tension and power of this remarkable movement is superbly captured.
After all this authentic Janacek, the suite from The Cunning Little Vixen, arranged by Talich and tinkered with by both Smetacek and Belohlavek, sits a little uneasily, but again the performers go about their task with conviction.
Belohlavek’s approach in all of these orchestral works is both meticulous and dramatically compelling, and the Czech Philharmonic plays with a concentration it seems to lack under other batons. An excellent recording and the rarity of much of this repertoire makes this a very attractive issue indeed. Jan Smaczny