Anybody ever play any Janacek?

Posted by: fledgehog

Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/03/13 03:03 AM

Favorite of his piano pieces to play? Easiest? Hardest? Experiences? Other random thoughts?

I knew some of his orchestral stuff (Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba, and the Glagolitic Mass) and recently discovered that he had a small amount of piano music too. Currently listening to Leif Ove Andsnes' CD with the piano sonata, In the Mists, and the first series of On the Overgrown Path, and wondering if any of it might be fun to play. Anybody have experience with him?
Posted by: FSO

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/03/13 04:44 AM

In the Mists; very rewarding to play, so beautiful...the only piece of his I've even attempted (and failed laugh )...um...it's doable, but definitely a challenge [worth taking] laugh Yay Janacek! ^>^
Xxx
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/03/13 11:14 AM

FSO: Off the subj, but wanted to let you know: I wanted to listen to your "Eww" but it seems to require a download, which I avoid doing. I wonder if it's possible that's why nobody else has replied too.

About Janacek: I've known little about him, but recently I looked into some of his works and read some about him after a friend recommended it in relation to other things we were discussing. From what I read, I wanted to like it, but wasn't very taken by the music. It felt like whatever I'd get from playing his works would be better gotten from other pieces. Maybe I just need more exposure, which is how it's been with some other composers.
Posted by: beet31425

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/03/13 11:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
From what I read, I wanted to like it, but wasn't very taken by the music. It felt like whatever I'd get from playing his works would be better gotten from other pieces. Maybe I just need more exposure, which is how it's been with some other composers.

I'll say this about Janacek: He's strange. But not strange in an "obvious" way like Schoenberg might be, or even Bartok. In contrast, Janacek seems to play by all the regular 19th-century rules, but he doesn't. Particularly, his sense of harmonic rhythm, i.e. his choices on when to change harmonies, follow rules like no one else's. Try his string quartets.

To the OP: I've read through a lot of Overgrown Path and Mists, and love them! They're like nothing else in the world.

-J
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/03/13 11:35 AM

Originally Posted By: beet31425
....He's strange. But not strange in an "obvious" way like Schoenberg might be, or even Bartok....

My goodness!
Those are 2 of the 3 other composers that leaped to mind as I listened to his music, and to whom I was sort of referring in that post. (The other was Scriabin.)
Posted by: BDB

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/03/13 11:46 AM

Some of his folk song and dance arrangements are really simple to play. Some of his other piano music is extremely difficult, particularly the Capriccio. You might start with the Zdenka Variations, which are a pleasant change from more well-known repertoire.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/03/13 12:39 PM

I love the piano sonata and have always thought about learning it, but there was always something else to learn. Maybe when I'm done with my current program.
Posted by: didyougethathing

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/03/13 06:05 PM

The piano sonata is beautiful. On The Overgrown Path is amazing and has some very playable parts. I still need more time with In The Mists to form an opinion, but it's very unique.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/04/13 01:34 AM

Moravian Folk Dances for piano duet are not so difficult and a lot of fun to play, although it seems I am a bit of an oddity around these parts in (admitting to) enjoying playing quatre mains...
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/04/13 03:06 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
....although it seems I am a bit of an oddity around these parts in (admitting to) enjoying playing quatre mains...

Oh, it's not as odd as all that. grin
I'm with you on it.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/04/13 05:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: theJourney
....although it seems I am a bit of an oddity around these parts in (admitting to) enjoying playing quatre mains...

Oh, it's not as odd as all that. grin
I'm with you on it.


I'd love to find someone who'd be willing to play Fauré's Dolly Suite and Debussy's Petite Suite with me..... cry

Going back to Janácek. I bought a volume of his complete solo piano music some time ago, but have only sight-read through a few movements so far. I'm still ambivalent about whether his unique folk-inspired style of music is really for me.....
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/04/13 08:40 AM

Yuppers, Overgrown Path. It was choreographed by Jiri Kylian and I am reliably informed it was used in the movie "Closely Watched Trains" - lots of atmosphere...
Posted by: FSO

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/04/13 10:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
FSO: Off the subj[...]

About Janacek ...it felt like whatever I'd get from playing his works would be better gotten from other pieces. Maybe I just need more exposure, which is how it's been with some other composers.

Consider it amended; it's been so long I forgot whether it needed anything downloaded or not; I loathe the downloadiness as well, um...forgive the inhumanity shocked Janacek *is* unique, I must say, in the way that all composers are unique; he has something to offer that nobody else does...but, I suppose, there's no more point forcing exposure of one over another, I mean, um...if it doesn't grab you immediately it will likely never (though not impossibly) shake your core and, perhaps, there are plenty other composers you'll get along with better...he *is* really good though ^>^
Xxx
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/05/13 01:01 AM

I love how Janacek's music sounds, especially his operas. For a long while I was obsessed with the Mackerras recording of Cunning Little Vixen and even transcribed the little folk dance in Act III for the piano. That was a long time ago, but I can still remember exactly how it goes. All of his music is quirky. The way it's written is odd, sometimes awkward, sometimes contradictory, but it's impossible to argue with the results. His sound is luscious.
Posted by: Lemon Pledge

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/05/13 08:10 PM

During my student years I played Mists, the piano sonata, and the violin sonata. I remember wanting to do the Diary of the Vanished but being unable to assemble the forces. I loved all of those pieces at the time. I must be less of a fan now, because I haven't looked at any of that music for over a decade.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/06/13 02:58 AM

I just got back from a concert where a piano trio played a transcription of the first string quartet. Interesting, but I think I like the original better.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Anybody ever play any Janacek? - 03/09/13 04:39 PM

I have his Sinfonietta and love it!