Břetislav Bakala conducts works of Janáček

Rafael Kubelik and Bakala

I’ve tried to bring together some unavailable recordings of Czech conductor, and pupil of Janáček, Břetislav Bakala (1897-1958). Supraphon has a cd of his versions of the Glagolitic Mass and Sinfonietta (the latter in a Czech PO version, different from the Brno one I have posted), and there are a few radio recordings that have been issued by Panton and Multisonic. Some of the recordings I offer were issued by Arlecchino, but from poor copies, and poorly processed.

Bakala is generally considered to be the performer with the most direct musical connection to Janáček. I would be interested to find out more on performing editions that he used, since many felt Janáček’s orchestration should be altered, and that group even included Vaclav Talich. I don’t know that the orchestration is altered in the incomplete recording of the Capriccio that I present here, but the piano part certainly is altered, and sounds rather like a two-handed version of the left-handed original. In any case, the obvious beauty and authority of Bakala’s readings can be heard and treasured, and it’s a shame that these recordings are difficult to obtain through retail channels.

Leoš Janáček:
Lachian Dances (Lašské Tance)
Recorded 1952
Supraphon LPV 201

The Fiddler’s Child (Sumarovo Díte), ballad for orchestra
Ballad of Blaník (Ballada blanická), symphonic poem for orchestra
Recorded 1957
Supraphon SUA 10053

Prelude to The Makropulos Case
Prelude to Katya Kabanová
Ultraphon G 22905 (78 rpm)

Songs of Hradcany (Hradcanské písnicky), for female voices & instruments
Jadwiga Wysoczanska, soprano
Hynek Kašlik, Flute; T. Souckova, Harp
The Wolf’s Trail (Vlcí stopa), for soprano, female chorus & piano
Marie Bakalová, soprano; T. Svabova, Piano

Moravian Women Teacher’s Chorus
Recorded 1955
Supraphon LPV 475

Kaspar Rucký, ballad for soloists & female chorus
M. Nováková, soprano
Moravian Female Teachers Chorus
Recorded 1946
Esta F 5217 (78 rpm)

Taras Bulba, rhapsody for orchestra
Supraphon/Ultraphon H 23094/96 (78 rpm)
(note: Bakala’s own 4 hand piano reduction may be downloaded here)

Stravinsky: Fireworks (filler on lp)
Recorded 1956
Eterna H 720077

Bonus items:
Violin Sonata
Alexander Plocek, violin
Josef Páleníček, piano
Esta H 5156/57 (78 rpm)
Recorded 1944
(Bakala not involved in this, but thought it would be welcome here)

Capriccio for piano (left hand) and chamber ensemble
Ludvík Kundera, piano (father of author Milan Kundera!)
Ultraphon H 23381/3 (78 rpm)
Recorded 1949
(incomplete, only discs 2 & 3, starting on pt. 2 of mvt. 2)

Břetislav Bakala, conducting the Brno Radio Symphony Orchestra (renamed the Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra in 1956, by the time of the Fiddler’s Child/Ballad of Blanik recording)

Thanks to Tobias for the Kaspar Rucký, Violin Sonata & Capriccio 78 dubs (which included manual de-clicking of severe damage to the Kaspar record!), and to Mike Gartz for the balance of this material. There is a technical problem with the first movement of Taras Bulba, and it seems that the fluttering sound is in the original, and not a tracking problem. I wish I had recording dates, but I do know that Kaspar Rucký was Bakala’s first recording, from 1946, according to this site, which lists many of these recordings. I’m not sure I trust the recording dates they list, but it’s a stab, perhaps these can be trusted as release dates, at least.

If that isn’t enough, here is another Bakala conducted collection that I made available a few months ago:

Vítězslav Novák: Serenade for Small Orchestra, D major, Op. 36

Josef Bohuslav Foerster: Cyrano de Bergerac, suite for large orchestra, Op.55
Supraphon LPV 382 (here is the link to Gramophone’s review of this)

Brno Radio Symphony Orchestra


This entry was posted in Bakala, Janáček, Orchestral, Páleníček. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Břetislav Bakala conducts works of Janáček

  1. adolf1955 says:

    Great Collection
    The last link of Novek/Foerster is dead, can reupload?
    Thansk for all

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