Janacek: Piano Works
Rudolph Firkusny, piano
Who better to present a recital of a composer’s music than an artist who studied with him? Rudolf Firkusny
began his musical career under the tutalage of Leos Janacek, which
gives his intepretation of Janacek’s solo piano works special
All of Janacek’s major works for the instrument are present: Piano Soanta 1.X.1905, On an Overgrown Path, and In the Mists.
It’s difficult to say exactly how, but Firkusny’s playing seems
imminently suited to these works. Just as Czech orchestra can make
Dvorak sparkle in a way that seems elude ensembles from other countries,
so to does Janacek’s music benefit from the touch of a sympathetic
It’s clear that Firkusny understands Janacek’s music and it’s likely he
discussed the finer points of interpretation with the composer. The
folk-inspired passages sound forthright and simple, while the more
complex develop organically. Janacek relied heavily on the cumulative
dramatic effect of short phrases and motifs, and Firkusny delivers them
with a sure hands. He knows how to draw the connections between the
musical thoughts to present a cohesive whole.
With most other performers, Janacek’s music seems to me beautiful, yet
static. In these performances Firkusny imbues them with a sense of
forward motion that’s leading to an inevitable climax.
These recordings were originally released on RCA Red Seal over a decade
ago. Newton Classics provides a real service by making them available
again. The remastering is flawless, and never gets in the way of the