Review By David Denton, Naxos,February 2009
Though most of Leoš Janáček’s operas are now firmly embedded in the repertoire of the world’s opera houses, anything that brings them further exposure to those unfamiliar with such great masterpieces is most welcome. Towards the end of his life they had gained acceptance in Prague, but he had lived much of his compositional career unable to hear the highly distinctive sounds he was creating and which were his unique possession. Having spent a lifetime travelling wherever his operas were performed, I have to be regarded as biased, but he is surely among the most remarkable composers of the 20th century. In the last 30 years have performances of his works have become more common, the exception being the comic opera, The , Janáček’s use of words to create music being lost when translated, yet without it the audience fails to understand the comedy. Jeůufa, with its story of the ignominy that a child born out of wedlock brings in a close-knit village is both dramatic and deeply moving, and remains his masterpiece. In making his suite Peter Breiner switches backwards and forwards to create an interesting concert hall experience and uses orchestral passages to avoids the need to recast the vocal line on instruments. He had a much more difficult job with Brouček as the vocal line and story is all important and the opera depends on the summation of those parts. The New Zealand Symphony—New Zealand Opera having recently staged Jenůfa—plays with impact, brilliance and a nice feel for the Janáček sound, Peter Breiner’s conducting is generally in line with the tempos you would hear in the opera house. High impact, highly detailed sound.more....