Prague Philharmonic Choir, Lukáš Vasilek

Stravinsky, Janáček, Bartók: Village Stories

Catalogue Number: SU 4333-2
Published: 27th October 2023
Genre: Orchestral
Format: 1 CD
Kateřina Kněžíková – soprano, Jana Hrochová – mezzo-soprano, Boris Stěpanov – tenor, Jiří Brückler – baritone, Lukáš Hynek-Krämer – bass, etc., Kiril Gerstein, Zoltán Fejérvári, Katia Skanavi, Alexandra Stychkina – piano, Zemlinsky Quartet, Belfiato Quintet, etc., Prague Philharmonic Choir, conductor Lukáš Vasilek

Leoš Janáček and the generation younger Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky were major 20th-century composers markedly influenced by folk music, bringing it to bear in their own creations. Janáček and Bartók also keenly devoted to folklore as theoreticians and collected folk songs around the villages. Stravinsky, for his part, was mesmerised by folk rituals. A case in point is Les noces, which in four choreographed scenes depicts Russian wedding customs. Following significant revisions of the instrumentation, the fourth, definitive, version of the piece received its world premiere in 1923 in Paris, as performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, to Bronislava Nijinska’s choreography. Janáček conceived his Nursery Rhymes at the age of 71, shortly after completing the opera The Makropulous Case. He too made changes to the instrumentation before arriving at a satisfactory form. The second version of the set bears witness to Janáček’s being enthralled by Stravinsky’s music. The Three Village Scenes for female voices and chamber orchestra feature arrangements of folk tunes Bartók collected in the Zvolen district in today´s Slovakia. The set is evidently influenced by Stravinsky’s style as well. The three challenging works have been undertaken by Lukáš Vasilek conducting the outstanding Prague Philharmonic Choir, which on numerous occasions have displayed its exceptional qualities and a great sense for performing music inspired by folk art. The album links up to the highly acclaimed recording of Bohuslav Martinů’s cantatas (Gramophone Editor’s Choice, nomination for the BBC Music Magazine Award).

The rediscovered magic of folk songs and traditional rituals in the music of three 20th–century masters
Igor Stravinsky
The Wedding (Les Noces)
1. At the Bride's House (The Tresses) (La Tresse) 05:33
2. At the Bridegroom's House (Chez la marié) 06:07
3. The Bride's Departure (Le Départ de la mariée) 03:18
4. The Wedding Feast (Le Repas de noces) 10:45
Leoš Janáček
Nursery Rhymes, JW V/17
5. Introduction 00:38
6. Turnip’s Getting Married 01:16
7. Spring Grass Looks So Fresh and Pleasant 01:20
8. A Black Mole´s Crawling by a Hedge 01:10
9. Noel Trotted off to Hell 00:34
10. Shabby Tattered Pair of Tights 00:26
11. Frankie Diddle Played the Fiddle 00:59
12. Our Dog 00:39
13. Hearken, Hearken to My Words! 00:56
14. Old Hag Did Her Spells and Magic 00:37
15. Ho, Ho, Al’ Cows Go 01:03
16. Mah Guidwillie Bonny Lass 00:40
17. Old Crone Crawls into the Brush 00:22
18. Pears Are Gathered by a White Goat 00:41
19. No Good Kraut, up the Spout 00:28
20. Goat is Lying in the Hay 00:46
21. Rodney Podney Drums So Hard 00:43
22. Frankie Lad 00:21
23. A Black Bear’s Bobbing on a Big Bough 01:40
Béla Bartók
Three Village Scenes, BB 87b
24. Wedding 04:06
25. Lullaby 05:03
26. Lad’s Dance 03:01