In the wake of the highly acclaimed recording of Janáček's symphonic works (Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba, etc., SU 4131; Orchestral Choice, Gramophone, August 2013), Tomáš Netopil and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra have focused on the composer's vocal- instrumental pieces. The Glagolitic Mass is a generally known work, yet not in the composer's original "September 1927" version, as it was performed at the premiere in Brno, which has been recorded for the very first time for this CD. It is fascinating to observe how many distinct traits of Janáček's expressive musical language have vanished from the work as a result of its later modifications. The Eternal Gospel, on the other hand, is a piece virtually unknown worldwide (the only previous Supraphon recording was made almost fifty years ago). Janáček was inspired by, and created the libretto on the basis of, Jaroslav Vrchlický's poem about the medieval monk Joachim de Fiore, to whom an angel appeared, bringing tidings of the arrival of a realm of love. Janáček worked on the piece concurrently with the opera The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon and completed it in the spring of 1914, a few months prior to the outbreak of World War I. Netopil's new recording may facilitate bringing the remarkable work back to concert stages.
A premiere recording of the Glagolitic Mass's original version.
“Netopil's performance seethes with nervous energy, his soloists are dedicated, and so are his chorus and orchestra…The Eternal Gospel hasn't been recorded in aeons…Again, the performance is excellent.“
Gramophone, October 2014
“Raw and thrilling, this is Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass in its never-before-recorded original 1927 version, later toned down by the composer for practical rather than aesthetic reasons. It’s performed with suitably full-throated vigour by Czech forces under Tomas Netopil.“
The Times, 4th October 2014
“Elements of drama and complex discourse that had to be toned down in the interests of performers also assert themselves with a special impact here, with chorus and soloists fearless and forthright in expression and the orchestra dynamic and propulsive. The Eternal Gospel of 1914 makes for a radiant coupling.“
The Daily Telegraph, 4th November 2014
“It’s rawer, more stringent, and more confrontational than what we are used to hearing now, and even more difficult to perform; many of the revisions that Janáček made were to reduce the demands on the singers and players, and he took away some of the piece’s wildness in the process. The performance is a nicely detailed one, with adequate rather than outstanding soloists.“
The Guardian, 5th November 2014
“Netopil directs an excellent performance which, appropriately enough, reflects the operatic world of The Cunning Little Vixen and the Excursions of Mr Broucek…[the Credo] is beautifully shaped and genuinely thrilling. If not entirely perfect, this reading, along with a fine performance of The Eternal Gospel is well worth investigating.“
BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 ****