Leoš Janáček. Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Reihe C, Band 1: Männerchöre I. Herausgaben von Leoš Faltus, Petr Oliva. Prague: Supraphon, and Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1983

Beckerman, Michael

The sixth volume of the Complete Critical Edition of Janacek's works, consisting of the early unaccompanied male choruses, has recently appeared. This collection, which covers the years 1873 to 1897, takes us from the very beginning of Janacek's compositional career up to the composition of Jenufa.These are not Janacek's greatest works in the genre; that distinction is reserved for works like Kantor Halfar (Schoolmaster Halfar), Marycka Magdonova, Sedmdesat tisic (The Seventy Thousand), and Potulny silinec (The Wandering Madman), which were composed between 1906 and 1922. Yet this collection is nonetheless an important one; it marks the first time that all of Janacek's early male choruses have been available together. Thus it becomes possible to follow the progress of the composer from Orani (Ploughing), where, as a nineteen-year-old, he was almost completely indebted to the musical language of his teacher Pavel Krizkovsky, to Slavnosti sbor (Festive Choir) of 1897, a work which reflects elements that we associate with Janacek's mature style: incessant repetition; short, jagged phrases; and fresh modulations and inflections.The problems ~and strengths of the Janacek Edition itself have been discussed rather fully in the last several years, by myself and others. The remarks here will only concern themselves with specific features of the present volume.



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March 26, 2015