Music composer Leoš Janáček was not only very talented and original but also truly hard-working and devoted to his country and culture. Janáček’s music is full of emotions, colours, melodies and harmonies reflecting his personality and experience. His oeuvre continues to be performed and appreciated worldwide. This August, ninety-five years have passed since his death and next July the music world will be commemorating the 170th anniversary of his birth. That provides a fitting occasion to release a special compilation presenting Supraphon’s most remarkable recordings of his brilliant works. The anthology The Many Passions of Leoš Janáček will be released this Friday, 25 August 2023, as a 4-CD set and in digital formats.
“In connection with the previous compilation, The Many Loves of Antonín Dvořák, which met with favourable response from reviewers in the USA and in the UK, we asked the BBC 3 long-time music producer and one of the great experts in and lovers of Czech music and its recordings, Patrick Lambert, to compile a similar series dedicated to the Moravian master,“ said Supraphon’s producer Daniela Bálková.
Its name alone – Many Passions – reflects Janáček’s temperament and the selection is a result of thorough research into his personality. The composer approached all life’s changes with a wide range of emotions. Therefore, eight categories were created and got the same names as Janáček’s passions: the Folk Tradition; the Czech Case – Politics and Patriotism; Family; Life and Nature; Friendship with Dvořák; Women; Russian Literature; Religious Roots. The set contains famous pieces, such as Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba, Glagolitic Mass, Jenůfa and The Cunning Little Vixen, as well as many discoveries that put Janáček’s work into context, e.g. his choruses Seventy-thousand and The Czech Legion, the Danube Symphony, Prelude in G minor for organ and a fragment of his Mass in E flat major.
The selection of performers includes the classics of Janáček interpretation from Brno and Prague and some unique archival recordings as well as many new ones. Among the conductors are Břetislav Bakala, František Jílek, Jaroslav Vogel, Václav Neumann, Karel Ančerl, Bohumil Gregor, Sir Charles Mackerras and Jakub Hrůša, and other performers include important Bohemian and Moravian choirs, soloists Theodor Šrubař, Beno Blachut, Libuše Domanínská and Gabriela Beňačková, and instrumentalists Josef Suk, Ilja Hurník, Jan Panenka, the Janáček Quartet and the Pavel Haas Quartet.
The choice of compositions deeply reflects Janáček’s greatly varied music, paying homage to the most remarkable 20th-century Czech composer on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of his death and celebrating the unique richness of Supraphon’s archives.