Canellakis & Janácek: The Cunning Fox
- Leoš Janáček The sly little fox
Karina Canellakis, principal conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, once again delves into Leoš Janáček's operatic oeuvre. This year it is the turn of The Cunning Fox. Heartwarming.
We may wonder if the "youth opera" The Cunning Fox is actually a fairy tale, and also if it is a youth opera at all. All sorts of singing animals figure in the work, but at its center is the relationship between nature and man. A fox cannot be tamed, which is why it constantly challenges the human world. But the composer's message is that nature, like man himself, is subject to an eternal cycle of dying and being born.
The old Janáček as modernist
Janáček wrote The Cunning Fox in 1924, when he was 67 years old. His vocal language is partly based on Czech and Moravian speech rhythms, a technique the composer had learned in principle from Wagner and Mussorgsky as well as from Debussy. But despite the dialogue form, the lyrical-dramatic cantabile actually dominates the vocal sound, with grand symphonic sections. This, combined with strongly rhythmic passages and surprising changes of measure, makes him one of the great modernists of the years between the two world wars. Chief conductor Karina Canellakis continues her Janáček cycle with this heartwarming Little Fox.