On Friday Pierre Boulez is conducting Janáček's Glagolitic Mass at the Proms. This will be a must as he hasn't officially recorded Janáček, but in the real world musicians do a lot more than what filters down the commercial system. His Janacek Sinfonietta is a wonder to behold, totally making a case for Janáček as a seriously original and ground breaking composer. Last year I was in Amsterdam to hear Boulez conduct From the House of the Dead. This isn't one of the cutesy operas like Cunning Vixen (which could I think benefit from a more incisive approach than it usually gets). In his last years, the composer was entering new territory musically. Who knows where he'd have gone had he lived longer ? Remember, Janáček was the guy who notated chickens in his yard and whose experiments with non western sounds in some ways lean closer to Bartók than Dvórak. Boulez's From the House of the Dead is a revelation! The director was Patrice Chéreau, with whom Boulez created the Wagner Ring that transformed Bayreuth a generation ago. Fantastic experience ! There's a link to the Amsterdam performance below. It's now out on DVD with extras, so GRAB IT.
Glagolitic Mass has always been a poser to me, because it's huge and sprawling, and that sort of thing tends to bring out extreme syrup from most conductors. But Boulez doesn't conduct music he hasn't thought carefully about, so I don't think he will serve up stodge.