Janáček: The Diary of One Who Disappeared

Janáček: The Diary of One Who Disappeared


2019 | Hyperion

Nicky Spence (tenor), Václava Housková (mezzo), VOICE, Victoria Samek (clarinet)


Like many of Janáček’s late masterpieces, the genesis of the ‘Diary’ is unseparable from its composer’s intense, obsessional love for Kamila Stösslová. A song-cycle like no other, here it’s the main work in a recital which showcases the extraordinary talents of Nicky Spence, Václava Housková and the vocal trio Voice.

Track Listing

Janáček: The Diary of One Who Disappeared

One Day I Met A Gypsy Girl

That Black-Eyed Gypsy

Twilight Glow-Worms

Already Swallows

Weary Work

Hey There, My Tawny Oxen

I’ve Got a Loose Axle

Don’t Look

Welcome, My Handsome One

God All-Powerful

From The Ripening Cornfield

Forest’s Shady Height

Intermezzo Erotico

See How High The Sun Is

Now My Tawny Oxen

What Has Come Over Me?

Who Can Escape His Fate?

Nothing Matters Now

See That Thieving Magpie

Have I A Beauty

Father, How Wrong You Were

Then Farewell

Janáček: Ríkadla

The Mole Creeps

Karel Rode Off

Franta The Knacker’s Son

I’m Giving A Little Talk

Ho, Ho, Off Go The Cows

A White Goat’s Picking Pears

Vasek, Pasek

Frantík, Frantík

Janáček: Moravian Folk Poetry In Songs


Heat From My Love


Who’s The Posy For?






The Posy




“Spence is prized for his operatic Janacek roles and delivers a wide variety of tone, while Drake adds quasi-orchestral drama to the piano part. The makeweight works are welcome, revealing the composer’s roots in Czech and Moravian tradition.” – The Sunday Times

“This is an important release. Janáček’s Diary song-cycle has seen a resurgence of interest of late; even so it should be even better known still. Nicky Spence’s searing yet beautiful account with admirable support from Julius Drake makes for compelling listening. Drake’s way with the highly individual piano-writing makes much of the harmonics, sonority and percussive demands. Spence, always a fine recitalist, here shows that his lyrical voice is now developing in fascinating ways. He still has the bright fluidity atop the stave but there is now a bronzy heroic quality at the core that brings the more dramatic, desperate and impassioned moments to vivid life. Yet there is a sense of sadness that pervades the whole – his voice suits the idiom. His words are astonishingly clear too so that even a non-Czech listener can easily follow along with the text provided without getting lost. In the few songs that she takes a role Václava Housková also makes a strong impression with focus and clarity. For those with operatic leanings, and Janáček left an extraordinary canon of stage-works, Housková may lack the voluptuousness for the young gypsy girl whose appearance changes the life of the young man. That said, given the range of expression of Spence’s journey, the relative straightforwardness of Housková’s contributions provide a telling and vital foil. The VOICE trio make their brief presence felt, too, and complete a winning performance of music that gets under the skin. The ‘fillers’ are anything but. Řikadla (Nursery rhymes) opens with VOICE playing with sonority and vocal tone in a characterful, suitably childish way and then towards the end of the first song enters the clarinet of Victoria Samek. Her characterful playing dazzles, enchants and exudes sheer fun. Drake provides the keyboard ‘bricks’ that underpin the whole unobtrusively yet significantly. Moravian Folk Poetry allows Housková to show her considerable skill at mood-painting alongside Spence. They duet enchantingly and their plaintive voices capture the solemnity integral to much of the text, yet there is restrained and overt humour present too. Drake’s light and elegant playing brings the calm, colours and a wonderful sense of the improvisatory as well as rhythmic vitality to the dances.” – Classical Source

“Julius Drake handles the piano writing wonderfully by turns tender and poignant, urgent and explosive as Janáček takes us from the first flash of young love to self-hatred, doubt and tortured destiny” – BBC Radio 3

“Julius Drake’s accompaniment is always alive to the operatic nuance of the work. Performance  Recording” – BBC Music Magazine