Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček
Gabriela Beňačková (soprano), Drahomíra Drobková (contralto), Jozef Kundlák (tenor), Sergej Kopčák (bass)
Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
The idiom of his Bohemian musical origins was something he was neither able nor wanted to disown. A trained violinist and viola player and a member of the Czech Philharmonic, Václav Neumann (1920–1995) always built the orchestra he conducted around its string tone – around authentic tonal sensuality. He was regarded internationally as a specialist in the classic works of his homeland, of Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, but also of avant-gardists such as Josef Suk and Bohuslav Martinů. At the same time he was an artist with a broad musical background and a comprehensive repertoire, which he sought to expand wherever he worked. Dvořák’s position as his country’s leading composer was taken over upon his death by Leoš Janáček. His highly fresh and original late works even reveal links with the avant-garde currents of the subsequent generation. The magnificent Glagolitic Mass which uses the appropriate sections of the Ordinary in Old Church Slavonic is foremost a national declaration, a commitment to the ancient Slavonic language.