Leos Janacek, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Antoni Wit - Glagolitic Mass, Sinfonietta

Published Tuesday 27th December 2011
Leos Janacek, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Antoni Wit - Glagolitic Mass, Sinfonietta
Leos Janacek, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Antoni Wit - Glagolitic Mass, Sinfonietta

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 122310-
LABEL: Naxos 8572639
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Leos Janacek was born in Moravia in 1854 which made him a subject of the Austrian Empire but by the time of his death in 1928 he was a Czech. Janacek was proud of his national heritage and collected many folk tunes but it is this Glagolitic Mass that stands as his musical and spiritual testament. Glagol was once the language of the Slavic church so setting the Mass in this dead language rather than the equally dead Latin was a political statement. The music is intense and passionate and on this disc Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir do it full justice, as do the four vocal soloists but the standout performance to these ears is from organist Jaroslaw Malanowicz. Some modern pieces from the early years of the 20th century now sound dated but this piece is an exception. Clearly it is of its time but the brilliance of the writing when coupled with a secure performance such as this means that it speaks to us even if we cannot understand the text unless we use the crib sheet provided in the CD booklet. Two other positives are that the Mass is coupled with Janacek's own "Sinfonietta" from 1926, a bright and vibrant work that sits well with the Mass. Well worth seeking out.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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