What else goes with Janacek?

Not much.

Two new recordings attempt to pair the string quartets and piano works with works by other composers, and somehow miss the mark.

The Amadeus Quartet, dominant in the middle of the last century, told me in retirement that their greatest regret was never having played the two Janáček quartets. You can see how the omission occurred. Janáček is the ultimate outsider, the one who doesn’t fit in any canon, whose music never sits easily with any other – which is what makes the repertoire in these two albums so challenging. 

Read the rest of  my Album of the Week on sinfinimusic.com. Click here.


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  • Curiously, two composers have both referenced Janacek’s music in our discussions about music. They are Keith Emerson and Peter Tork. There is a definitive fascination with Janacek’s music for these composers of more popular styles, evidenced in their own symphonic music.

    • Hey a Peter Tork mention! I listened to his piano concerto and enjoyed it. One part sounded like Scott Joplin meets Bela Bartok. Good for him.

  • I have never understood why critics are so obsessed with “pairing” music, in albums or concerts.

    I don’t care which pieces get paired with which others. The works can have absolutely nothing to do with each other and I’d be fine with that.

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