This vastly entertaining comic work centers around Kate, a talkative, shrewish woman who is avoided by everyone at the village dance. Angry, she announces that she would dance with the devil himself, and voila!, the Devil Marbuel–not-quite-Lucifer, but a “junior” devil–enters and carries her off to Hell. The clever shepherd Jirka offers to rescue her. In Hell, all the devils sit around playing cards, and Kate and Marbuel enter.
While not a lot of its classical pursuits in the 2000s have panned out, Sony Classical has had good luck with violinists, thanks due to the popularity of contract player Hilary Hahn and an apparent assumption of the recording duties of the great Canadian violinist Lara St. John. This is Latvian violinist Baiba Skride's third disc, the first two being released simultaneously in 2004 and, of these, the violin solo disc – containing works by Ysayë, Bartók, and Bach – winning a German Echo Classic award.
The Quatuor Diotima offers a passionate performance of both quartets that would merit consideration in any case, but sample the viola d'amore's opening utterance at the beginning of track 9, and you may decide, even if you are already a confirmed admirer of Janácek's tense but richly romantic music, that a rehearing of these works is in order.James Manheim (allmusic.com)
(…)The accordionist Teodoro Anzellotti has put together an album of Janacek piano pieces that he has arranged for his own instrument The cycle Po zarostlem chodnicku [Along an Overgrown Path] is the dominating piece, and is complemented by Three Moravian Dances and the two piano miniatures Na pamatku [Keepsake] and Vzpomrnka [Memory]. An accordion version of Overgrown Path is not as distant from the original as it might seem, since Janacek actually composed the cycle for harmonium and the piano version was second in line.(…)Kratochvil, Matej
Baiba Skride (1981-) is a Latvian classical violinist. She was the winner of the Queen Elisabeth Violin Contest in 2001, and has performed around the world. Her new album offers a very own, but absolutely sensible mix and uses her concert-experience to its advantage – recorded live at Munich, this captures Skride in a pensive and yet explosive mood. The dark waters of the first movement of Shostakovich’ Vilolin Concerto are juxtaposed with a fulminant follow-up, while the saddened sighs of the “Passacaglia” dissolve into a cold, yet ethereal solo. Monumental and massive, this is like a musical totem. Janacek’s “The Wandering of a Little Soul” is equally intense, offering naive folk-melodies in one instant, nerve-wracking, almost minimal-music-like movements and fiery erruptions in the other.