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Janacek - On an overgrown path

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    This may be something many of you have not heared before.

    Last week our distinguished Czech pianist Richard Pohl mailed me a live recording of one item from Janacek's cycle "On an overgrown path". I thought that single item would look a bit lonely on the page so I dedided to provide some more items before putting it up. Admittedly these are the easy ones in the set - otherwise I'd have needed some more preparation.

    Janacek - On an Overgrown Path - 1: Our Evenings ( 4:16 )
    Janacek - On an Overgrown Path - 2: A blown-away Leaf ( 2:26 )
    Janacek - On an Overgrown Path - 3: Come along with us ! ( 1:23 )
    Janacek - On an Overgrown Path - 4: The Virgin of Frydek ( 2:52 )
    Janacek - On an Overgrown Path - 7: Good night ! ( 3:48 )

    Enjoy Janacek's rural, quaint and subtle music. I guess you can hear which one of these is Richard's.
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    These pieces have a sad feel to them. I think he composed the set as a ode to the death of his wife (? or was it daughter?).

    I tried to play through "V placi" ("In Tears") but quickly called it quits because it was too hard for me.

    Good luck with the rest of the set!

    p.s. When will you play through his sonata :wink:
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have played through it. But I quit, it is too hard for me.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Sad is good! These are nice.

    I have never heard of Janacek before, but I just did some reading up and find him interesting, especially the part about his 'muse' the much younger woman in his life, and his connection to Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

    Julius - it is his daughter.
     
  5. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    daughter! But of course! How could I have been so oblivious to the fact :roll:
     
  6. demonic_advent

    demonic_advent New Member

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    oooo...
    I like these!
    They're depressing!

    My kind of music! :twisted:
     
  7. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Never heard this music before but it was "easy listening" music which connects fast in my brain. On an overgrown path suggests old memories to me, perhaps from the youth as it includes the term "Our evenings". Did Richard Pohl really play the fourth? The ID3-tagging suggests so ;).
    You play them very well from what I can hear and thanks for introducing this composer to us.
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    :lol: Depressing music is the best music. :wink:
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    This music has never struck me as depressing. Rather, it is full of the conflicting emotions of a hyper-sensitive and romantic soul. Not so differemt from Schumann and Schubert, in that respect. Above all I find it very peculiar and quaint music - I always have a thing about ethnically coloured music, and here I smell fresh earth, pine-cones and mushrooms and imagine the dark and still Bohemian woods where small animals rustle in the underground, and owls screech in the moonlit night. Sad ? Maybe... Depressing ? Definitely not. These are two entirely different things.

    This who have never heard any Janacek should check out his absoluter masterworks - the Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba, and the Glagolitic Mass. Music like nothing else in the world, as only Janacek could pen down.

    Thanks all for the comments. Yes no.4 is the one Richard Pohl submitted. You can hear it is a live recording. I think I'll need to record it too, now I've gotten into this set again - and probably feel compelled to complete it .... :x
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Well played, as usual, and with a little more dynamic contrasts than your abitudes (or is it only
    a my wrong impression?).
    I'm a "fan" of Czech Republic: not extended land, but how many musicians and artists (I adore the
    writer Bohumil Hrabal) of amazing level.
    I'll play some Janacek, and not only because "Janacek" is the name of my (czech, and loved) piano...

    All best,
    Sandro
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Sandro. I am working hard on improving my dynamics, and I think it's starting to pay off in the last batches of recordings. Still, a long way to go...

    I feel the same, though I can not vouch for any of the other arts. Whenever I listen to Dvorak, Smetana, Suk, or Janacek, I feel the Czechs are maybe the most melodically gifted people ever.

    Sure, Janacek would suit you. But if you are looking for some sparkling, absolutely first-rate Czech piano repertoire, look no further than Smetana.
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    These are all nice, except for no. 4, which doesn't really go anywhere. No. 5 reminds me of something Grieg would write. I liked no. 6 the best but almost a tie with no. 7.

    Your playing is good, and as Sandro said, good dynamics. Sometimes things get a little blurred on the low passages, and I'm not sure if it's too much pedal or too much reverb. No. 5 sounds hard to get out all those repeated notes in the background and you did well with them.

    What I liked about each one of these is that they all end in a major key.
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Monica. Yes, no.4 is very static and does not really 'go anywhere'. I don't feel that it needs to, though - it is just a simple religious outpouring, like a hymn twice repeated. I am not satisfied with the LH tremoloes (so simple and yet so hard to get right) and will have to re-record it. No.5 is rather tricky indeed and I am not convinced it is good enough like this.
    Blurring, hmm yes, that could be pedal and/or reverb. But also, my grand has a very sonorous and resonant bass that tends to drown out the treble rather quickly. I suppose I should compensate for it somehow, but I just love that sound :)

    Now that you mention - I had never really noticed these consistent major key endings (wil have to chack if that persists in the rest of the cycle). Nor did I know this cycle is a memento to his deceased daughter. You learn something new every day... Amazing how an ageing man could turn his grief into music that is hopeful rather than sad. Surely this is the hallmark of a great composer and a resilient human being.
     
  15. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well played again. I give you the tip of my hat.

    Speaking of great melodies, Janacek's Collected Moravian Dances are little jewels of their own kind! Have you heard of them?
     
  16. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks juufa. Now you'll have to walk around with a malformed hat :lol:

    Yes I heard some of the Moravian Dances, they are very short and primitive, and sometimes rather clumsy. In his younger years, Janacek reputedly felt like Dvorak had already written the stuff that he'd wanted to write, and better than he could do it. He took the consequence and went his own original way rather than following in Dvorak's footsteps. But he also wrote a splendid set of Lachian Dances which I think much resemble Dvorak's Slavonic Dances.
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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  18. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nice playing! Since I don't know these, that's about all I can say.
    Except about the music itself: I think these are all too long by about half. Yes, there's interesting elements, but he doesn't seem to want to stop. Do you feel that when you play them?

    No. 8 is cute and reminds me of animals or maybe more like butterflies sitting on a flower and blinking to one another. You know - blink, blink, like you hear in the music? (maybe butterflies don't have eyelids, so it would have to their wings blinking).

    I liked no. 11 best. I guess he ran out of cute titles for it and also no. 12.
     
  19. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I do not, but now that you mention it, he is being a bit Schubertian here. It is music that needs patience and serenety (both of which I have in abundance :lol: )

    Hehe :D

    Actually, the set is didived in two 'books'. Book II (11-15) have no titles. I decided to lump them all together as there does not seem a point to the 2 separate books.

    Thanks for the feedback. I think this set is coming out quite presentable.
     
  20. Ronald

    Ronald New Member

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    Actually, Nr. 4 ("Frydecka Panna Maria") is supposed to evoke a vision of folk religious procession. And the middle section should be /according to Ludvik Kundera, Janacek´s pupil, our first headmaster and incidentally also father of Milan Kundera, well-known Czech writer/ "passionate improvisation" by an organist in a cathedral. And the three repetitions of the "procession" theme are allways marked with increasing dynamics, meant as the image is getting closer and closer (in the end it should be felt like the procession has come to its destination, so to say).
     

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