Háry János Suite, etc
Kodály's music can be a lot of fun, and this disc is programmed for maximum entertainment value. The two sets of dances, which should be 20th-century Top 100 classical favorites, are about as entertaining as music is permitted to be, are the excerpts from the singspiel Háry János (which is Top 100, deservedly), the better- with the lesser-known music interspersed to excellent effect. Fischer adds to the mix three brief choral arrangements of Hungarian folk songs. The two children's choruses sing like angels, and the orchestra plays throughout with a tasty idiomatic quality, snapping the rhythms and emphasizing the imaginative color of the orchestration. If your collection isn't already overloaded with Kodály, this disc will be an excellent addition. (review by Leslie Gerber)
Janacek and Kodaly: Masses
(Westminster Cathedral Choir; James O'Donnell, conductor)
Here you will find a fascinating pairing of church music by two very different masters from the early 20th century. Along with a solemnly turned performance of Kodaly's Missa Brevis for organ and boys' choir is the dramatic Mass setting by Janacek. For those who are belatedly discovering his marvelous trove of operas--one of the great achievements of the lyric stage on the last century--this will be especially appealing.
Janácek: Glagolitic Mass; Kodály: Psalmus
(Copenhagen Boys Choir, Danish National Radio Choir, et al; Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor)
Sir Charles Mackerras has gone back to Janácek's original manuscripts and reinstated the music that was cut and rewritten after the piece's premiere on account of its (then considered) technical difficulty or impracticality. The result isn't all that different from the work we all know and love, other than a more extended and crazier setting of the Crucifixion sequence in the Credo. In this and all other respects, this excellent performance can be firmly recommended. Mackerras is the Janácek expert of our age, and all of his performances practically come with a guarantee of absolute musical integrity. This one is no exception, and the Kodály coupling is both apt and appealing. (review by David Hurwitz)