Songs of the Czech soul
On the one hand, firmly rooted in Western music history and the great currents of his time, Leoš Janáčeks music also testifies to his deep roots in his Czech mother tongue and the folk music traditions of his homeland.
Like Smetana, who was thirty years older, and his contemporary Dvořák, Leoš Janáček was also a fervent supporter of the Czech cause. Already active as a choir director at a young age, he was choir master of Umělecká beseda (Artistic Association), one of the oldest Czech cultural associations, from 1876. In 1877, the close friendship between Janáček and Dvořák was established, the first expression of which was the choral arrangement of Dvořáks Moravian Duets ("Sounds of Moravia" for voice and piano). Janáček was an enthusiastic collector of Czech folk music and was inspired by the immensely rich sources of folk songs and fairy tales, folk dances and peasant nursery rhymes of the Czech and Moravian tradition to conjure up a mood alternating between melancholy and cheerfulness with chromatic harmonies.
But there are also personal confessions in his choral music: When his daughter Olga died in 1903 at the age of 20, a friend of Olga's expressed her shock in verse, which the composer immediately set to music. The musical obituary of the daughter is a gentle contemplation of death, in which the beautiful and peaceful face of the young girl who has fallen asleep forever and the victory of the "spirit over death" are mentioned. The distinctly dramatic Czech "Our Father" expresses both Janáčeks religiousness and Czech patriotism by quoting a Hussite chorale. Thus, this CD reflects a musical language that is deeply rooted in Eastern Europe and yet has been able to create a completely universal emotional world for almost a century.
Prize of the German Record Critics 2 / 2012: Enchanting pictures of nature, in which love, disappointment or separation of people are reflected, but also funny nursery rhymes, a funeral music about the early deceased daughter and moving sacred works - the Cappella Amsterdam under the direction of Daniel Reuss has created a fascinatingly wide range of Leoš Janáčeks choral music. Perfect articulation and sensitive melody composition make this recording a unique listening experience
Audio 03 / 12: "The popular stories about unhappy love presentit the Cappella Amsterdam fresh and differentiated. With a tight performance she shines with the witty and bizarre nursery rhymes. Exciting cross-section through Janacek's diverse Choir music."