The London Symphony Chorus kicks off its 2019/20 season with a spectacular choral work in the Czech Roots thread that the London Symphony Orchestra is presenting at the Barbican Concert Hall.
The concert, which begins with Janacek’s “Ballad of Blanik” and Dvorak’s “The Golden Spinning Wheel”, is now to be conducted by Kazushi Ono (after the withdrawal of John Eliot Gardiner for personal reasons). It concludes with the Janacek’s “Glagolitic Mass” in the 1927 version (edited by Paul Wingfield) in which the chorus is a major, energetic element. The soloists are Lucie Vagenknechtova (soprano), Lucie Hilscherova (alto), Ales Briscein (tenor) and Jan Martinik (bass).
The text is in Old Church Slavonic and Janacek, despite begin a well-known atheist largely follows the structure of the traditional mass seeting. It can be seen as a celebration of Slavic culture, in five movements. Before the closing “Intrada”, Janacek introduces a dramatic organ solo a perpetuo moto, of considerable originality.
In the words of the writer Milan Kundera, Janacek’s “Glagolitic Mass” is “more an orgy than a mass”.