[ LSO Live / 2 CD ]
Release Date: Friday 4 September 2020
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Melodious and charming, The Cunning Little Vixen is a work rooted in Czech history and folk music; a sentimental journey through the cycles of life. For Sir Simon Rattle, it's a deeply personal and emotional work. "It's the piece that made me want to become an opera conductor... and still one of the pieces that reduces me to tears more easily than any other," says the LSO's Music Director. Recorded with an outstanding cast during semi-staged performances, this recording is the second in an LSO Live series showcasing acclaimed collaborations between Rattle and the celebrated stage director Peter Sellars. Towering fanfares open Janácek's Sinfonietta, an ode to the composer's hometown of Brno in the now Czech Republic. It's a portrait composed for a national celebration of Slavic culture, with Janácek's love of musical tradition evident in dancing strings and celebratory brass.
"With pinpoint playing from the LSO and close, detailed recorded sound, this is a Vixen with sharp teeth as well as sharp ears… The sense of dramatic vividness is conveyed superbly by the cast, led by Lucy Crowe's impulsive Vixen, brimming with joie de vivre and mischief and singing with airy ease…The generous coupling is every bit as compelling: a taut account of the Sinfonietta that bristles with nervous energy and exultant joy… All in all, an outstanding release, and a rewarding celebration of this wonderful composer's art." Gramophone Editor's Choice Oct 2020
"Crowe makes the text integral to her vivid performance, and Gerald Finley's nobly sung Forester is up there with [Thomas] Allen's. Sophia Burgos's soprano Fox sounds perhaps too like Crowe, but all of the small parts are well characterised and the orchestra play with heart, soul and joy." Sunday Times