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CHAN 10678
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CHAN 10678

Janacek Chamber Orchestra - Czech Music for Strings

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2011


Janacek Chamber Orchestra


Church of the Czechoslovak Hussite, Slezská Ostrava, Czech Republic


Ralph Couzens



Jaroslav Stranavsky

Record Label



Total Time - 64:00
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Suite, JW VI/2 (1877)

  for String Orchestra  
1 I Moderato 3:28
2 II Adagio - Meno 3:17
3 III Andante con moto 1:26
4 IV Presto - Andante - Presto 3:04
5 V Adagio 3:47
6 VI Andante 3:52



Sextet, H 224A (1932/1950)

  Arrangement by the Composer for String Orchestra of Sextet for Two Violins, Two Violas, and Two Cellos, H 224  
  To Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge  
7 I Lento - Allegro poco moderato 7:01
8 II Andantino - Allegretto scherzando - Tempo I 7:12
9 III Allegretto, poco moderato 4:00



Study (1943)

  for String Orchestra  
  Completed and revised by Lubomír Peduzzi  
  Allegro con brio - Meno mosso, ma molto energico - Adagio, molto meno mosso -  



Quartet No. 1, JW VII/8 (1923)

  for Two Violins, Viola, and Cello  
  after Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata  
  To the Czech Quartet  
  Arranged for String Orchestra by Richard Tognetti  
11 I Adagio - Con moto - Adagio - Con moto - Adagio - Con moto - Adagio - 4:04
12 II Con moto - Un poco meno mosso - Tempo I - Meno mosso - Tempo I - 4:26
13 III Con moto - Un poco più mosso - Vivace - Andante - Tempo I - Adagio 3:56
14 IV Con moto - Un poco più mosso - Meno mosso - Tempo II - Adagio - Più mosso - 5:24

This recording presents music by the Czech composers Janácek, Martinu, and Haas, all of whom were prominent figures in their country’s musical history during the early twentieth century. The works are performed by the Janácek Chamber Orchestra, which has won awards for their interpretations of Czech music.

Janácek wrote his String Quartet No. 1 during a particularly creative period towards the end of his life. It took its inspiration from Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata, a portrait of a loveless marriage. The dramatic power and deep emotion of this work, coupled with some extraordinary textures and eccentric orchestration, place it among the greatest string quartets ever written. It is here played in a version for string orchestra. Also recorded is the Suite, one of Janácek’s very first works for orchestral ensemble.

Pavel Haas was considered the most gifted of all of Janácek’s many students. A composer of Jewish descent, he was transported to Auschwitz in 1941, where he died in 1944. The Study for String Orchestra was written in the summer of 1943 for the Auschwitz camp string orchestra, and the first performance of the work is preserved in part in a German propaganda film.

After Janácek, Martinu was the leading Czech composer of the last century. A highly prolific composer, he often wrote at great speed and the prize-winning Sextet for Strings is no exception. It was written in just seven days in May 1932. This work displays a real exuberance, from the energetic opening movement through to the spirited finale.


"...There’s no doubting the excellent recording quality of this Chandos disc, and the performances are classy. too... there are many insights and no little distinction in this disc."

Jonathan Woolf - Fanfare - January/February 2012

"This is a fine collection of Czech music written or arranged for string orchestra... The Janacek Chamber Orchestra was organiszed in 1964 from the Janacek Philharmonic of Ostrava. They are a thoroughly professional group. The notes are detailed, and the recording is up to Chandos’s usual high standards."

Bauman - American Record Guide - November/December 2011

              Recording of the Month
“... There is basically nothing to criticize about this release ... they all engage the ear and they fit together stylistically –in other words, it’s a great program. The orchestra play beautifully, with the required rhythmic precision, and, where the music allows it (like the Suite’s fifth movement), great poetry as well. Solos are superb all around. For fans of Janácek, Haas and Martinu, this is an hour of guaranteed satisfaction”

Brian Reinhart – – November 2011

“Fans of Czech music should bounce along and hear this, and for anyone wanting to explore the string orchestra repertoire beyond the ubiquitous Tchaikovsky, Dvorák and Elgar, it will hold many rewards.” ****

Jessica Duchen – Classic FM Magazine – September 2011

Tim Ashley – The Guardian – 8 August 2011

S Lyden