Janacek: Orchestral Works Vol 1 / Bavouzet, Gardner, Bergen Philharmonic
That said, this release represents an auspicious beginning to a new series of Janácek orchestral works. Gardner really is a good conductor. He plays the Sinfonietta swiftly and, happily, without an inappropriate effort to polish the music’s rough edges. There are a couple of quirky touches. The second movement starts quickly and then settles down to a marginally slower tempo for the rest. The fourth movement, too, after those two sudden eruptions towards the end, is taken very slowly for the last appearances of the main theme. I’m not sure that I like it because it sits oddly with the overall spunky tenor of the performance, but it’s not wrong, and it may improve on repetition.
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet plays a mean Capriccio, another swift performance, especially in the third movement, which the brass handle with aplomb. This is such a weird piece that you can do almost anything with it (or to it) and have it come out successfully, but Bavouzet’s fluidity in the spiky solo part, and the excellence of the ensemble generally, disarm criticism. Finally, Mackerras’ version of the Vixen suite is surely the way to play it, and Gardner doesn’t put a foot wrong. The SACD sonics are quite good–occasionally a touch low level, perhaps, but that’s easily remedied.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: CHSA 5142
Composer: Leoš Janáček
Conductor: Edward Gardner
Performer: Christopher Dudley, Gary Peterson, Hans Andreas Kjolberg, Ingela Oien, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Jon Behncke, Kjell Erik Husom, Oyvind Hage