Movement 1: And so it will pass, as written in the scriptures!
Movement 2: See the angel flying, silently soaring
Adrian Thompson (tenor), Edinburgh Festival Chorus, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov (conductor)
Movement 3: O hearken, you whose heart is faint and wilted!
Adrian Thompson (tenor), Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (soprano), Edinburgh Festival Chorus, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov (conductor)
Movement 4: All this the angel told me at my vigil
This may seem an unlikely choice of subject for the resolutely agnostic Janácek, but the composer himself gave a clue to its appeal when he described the cantata’s opening theme as representing ‘open arms longing to embrace the whole world’. In short, what drew Janácek to the text was its visionary humanity rather than Joachim’s biblical exegesis. The result is a score that is full of memorable and surgingly lyrical musical ideas, ending with a joyful proclamation of the Kingdom of Love. The first performance was at the Smetana Hall in Prague on 5 September 1917. The conductor on this occasion was Jaroslav Kricka, and the soprano soloist was Gabriela Horvátová who had triumphed as the Kostelnicka in the Prague premiere of Jenufa the previous year, and who was, at the time, involved in a torrid and passionate correspondence with Janácek.
from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2005