Janacek - On an Overgrown Path (arr. for strings) | ECM New Series 4856432

Janacek - On an Overgrown Path (arr. for strings)


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Label: ECM New Series

Cat No: 4856432

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 3rd December 2021



On an Overgrown Path, Leoš Janáček’s 15 pieces-spanning piano cycle, is here presented in a reshaped guise, arranged for string orchestra and interpreted by the Camerata Zurich under lead violinist Igor Karsko’s direction. This is the premiere recording of the orchestral adaption.

In this programme, Janáček’s cycle is bookended by Josef Suk’s Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale St Wenceslas and Antonín Dvořák’s Notturno – pieces that are thematically connected to the folkloric elements found in Janáček’s composition.

French writer Maïa Brami wrote poems to accompany the new arrangement of On an Overgrown Path, and their recorded versions, spoken by the writer herself, are included on the album, contextualizing the cycle with inventive analogies to Janáček’s life.

Much of the cycle On an Overgrown Path – previously captured in its original design on the ECM New Series release ‘A Recollection’ by András Schiff – had originally been conceived for harmonium, a popular domestic instrument in Janáček’s days, and was only later rearranged for piano, the instrument the remaining pieces were written for.

Ultimately divided into two volumes – referred to as ‘books’ – the first, comprising ten pieces, was published in 1911, and the second posthumously in 1942.

Moving seamlessly between subtle harmonic shifts, generous folkloric gestures and more sombre scenes from Janáček’s past, the cycle’s nuances are respectfully translated to strings on the recording, and the alternatingly light and dark themes that flare up across the 15 pieces turn into a compelling chiaroscuro.

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