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Janáček - Taras Bulba: Rhapsody for Orchestra (1918)

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Published on Jun 2, 2012

Taras Bulba: Rhapsody for Orchestra (1918)

I. The Death of Andrei [0:06]
II. The Death of Ostap [9:21]
III. The Prophecy and Death of Taras Bulba [14:49]

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An orchestral rhapsody by Czech composer Leoš Janáček (1854-1928), based on the novel "Taras Bulba" by Nikolai Gogol. The first version of this work was written in 1915, but major revisions followed in 1918, with the finishing touches being added in 1927. The following description of the three movements is taken from Wikipedia:

"The first movement, 'The Death of Andrei', focuses on the Cossack Taras Bulba's younger son, who falls in love with the daughter of a Polish general. The opening is a passionate episode between the lovers with solos by English horn, violin, and oboe. Throughout there are occasional hints of darkness, and eventually the music grows more turbulent, showing a battle between the two armies: angry trombone barks, tolling bells, and triumphant trumpet calls. Andrei fights on the side of the Poles, but when his father nears him in the battle, he realizes his treachery, and lowers his head to be killed by Taras Bulba himself. In the end, there is a brief reminiscence of the love music.

"The second movement, 'The Death of Ostap', focuses on Taras Bulba's older son, who is overcome with grief by Andrei's death and is captured by the Poles during the battle, and hauled off to Warsaw for torture and execution. Taras Bulba sneaks into Warsaw in disguise, and at the moment of Ostap's death, he forgets where he is and calls out to his son. Much of the music is taken up with a kind of inexorable, limping march. In the end there is a wild Mazurka as the Poles dance in triumph. Taras Bulba is personified by dark trombone statements, and Ostap's last anguished cry is played by high clarinet. (There are clear parallels to two earlier orchestral execution scenes: in Berlioz's 'Symphonie fantastique' and Richard Strauss's 'Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks'.)

"In the final movement, 'The Prophecy and Death of Taras Bulba', the Cossacks fight madly throughout Poland to avenge Ostap. Taras Bulba is eventually captured in a battle on the Dnieper River, but before he is burned to death by the Polish army, he issues a defiant prophecy: 'Do you think that there is anything in the world that a Cossack fears? Wait; the time will come when you shall learn what the orthodox Russian faith is! Already the people sense it far and near. A Tsar shall arise from Russian soil, and there shall not be a power in the world which shall not submit to him!' The opening music is filled with battle music and war-cries by Taras Bulba--the trombones again--until a quiet passage depicting his capture. The prophecy itself is a stirring passage for brass and organ, culminating in the ringing of bells and a triumphant epilogue."

Conductor: Ondrej Lenárd
Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bratislava

  • Category

  • Song

    • Taras Bulba, JW VI/15 - I. The Death of Andrei
  • Artist

    • Ondrej Lenard
  • Album

    • Famous Symphonic Poems, Vol. 2
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • AdShare MG for a Third Party (on behalf of Naxos_thenax)
  • Song

    • Taras Bulba, JW VI/15 - II. The Death of Ostap
  • Artist

    • Ondrej Lenard
  • Album

    • JANACEK: Lachian Dances / Taras Bulba / Sinfonietta
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • AdShare MG for a Third Party (on behalf of Naxos_thenax)
  • Song

    • The Prophecy and Death of Taras Bulba
  • Artist

    • Ondrej Lenard
  • Album

    • JANACEK: Lachian Dances / Taras Bulba / Sinfonietta
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • AdShare MG for a Third Party (on behalf of Naxos_thenax)

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