1854 - 1928
Leoš Janáček (3 July 1854 – 12 August 1928) was a Czech composer, musical theorist, folklorist, publicist and teacher. He was inspired by Moravian and other Slavic folk music to create an original, modern musical style.
Until 1895 he devoted himself mainly to folkloristic research and his early musical output was influenced by contemporaries such as Antonín Dvořák. His later, mature works incorporate his earlier studies of national folk music in a modern, highly original synthesis, first evident in the opera Jenůfa, which was premiered in 1904 in Brno. The success of Jenůfa (often called the "Moravian national opera") at Prague in 1916 gave Janáček access to the world's great opera stages. Janáček's later works are his most celebrated. They include operas such as Káťa Kabanová and The Cunning Little Vixen, the Sinfonietta, the Glagolitic Mass, the rhapsody Taras Bulba, two string quartets, and other chamber works. Along with Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana, he is considered one of the most important Czech composers.
Leos Janacek's long and rich creative life is a story of slowly and patiently acquired mastery, an achievement crowned above all by a sequence of operas whose warm and vivid originality is unparalleled among the music of his peers.
The son of a village schoolmaster in Moravia (later Czechoslovakia) Janacek received his formative musical experience as a chorister in the Augustinian monastery in Brno. The sound of the human voice, either solo or in a choir, was always to remain an inspiration to him. He trained and qualified as a general teacher and between 1874 and 1880 led an active musical life in Brno, centred on teaching and choral conducting, alternating with short, and not wholly satisfactory, periods of study in Prague, Leipzig, and Vienna.
Janacek was recognized as a full teacher of music in 1880, and the following year he married his piano pupil, the 15-year-old Zdenka Schulzova. Over time, this proved a stressful liaison, the tensions between the fiery, patriotic Czech and the stubborn, very young Germanic girl never really resolved.
Although the 1880s were for Janacek a period of intense musical activity as conductor, teacher, and musical administrator, his personality as a composer was slow to take shape. His earlier works show a clear debt to the nineteenth-century world of Dvorak and Smetana; he also became greatly interested in Moravian folk music, and spent time editing and performing it.
After one or two initial attempts at operatic composition, be spent the years between 1894 and 1901 writing his first great opera, Jenufa, and with it he began to establish a type of opera that integrated elements of folk song with colourfully dramatic effects, in which the music followed inflections of speech to produce a direct and realistic impact far removed from the high-flown sentiments of much nineteenth-century opera.
The success of the Brno premiere of Jenufa, when Janacek was aged 50, enabled him to devote more of his time to composition over the following ten years; the operas Osud and Mr Brouaek's excursion to the Moon were written during this time.
However, it was the enormous success of the premiere of Jenufa, in the town of Pisek m 191 6, that opened the floodgates of the 62-year-old composer's last, extraordinary period of creativity.
A catalyst for this amazing outpouring was the composer's passionate, though unreciprocated and uneonsummated, love for Kaniila Stosslova, the wife of an antiques dealer and 38 years younger than Janacek. The emotional heights and depths of this affair of the imagination were graphically portrayed in such works as the song cycle The diary of one who disappeared and the Second string quartet ("Intimate letters"). At the same time, operas such as Katya Kabanova and The cunning little vixen were immediately successful, and the 1920s performances of these works in Berlin, London, and New York began to establish Janacek's international reputation.
In his seventies the composer wrote two of his most communicative and popular scores, Sinfonietta m 1926 — inspired in part by the sound of a brass band playing in a Prague park — and the Glagolitic mass in 1927. His last opera, From the house of the dead, was practically complete at his death in 1928. It closed an astonishing late harvest of works, reminiscent in their vitality and originality of the last creative outpourings of Haydn and Verdi.
I. Allegretto [2:17]
II. Andante [6:08]
III. Moderato [5:22]
IV. Allegretto [3:01]
V. Andante con moto [7:13]
In the Mists
II. Molto adagio
String Quartet No. 1 "Kreutzer Sonata"
00:00 - I. Adagio - Con moto
04:47 - II. Con moto
08:58 - III. Con moto - Vivo - Andante
12:51 - IV. Con moto - (Adagio) - Più mosso
Taras Bulba - Rhapsody for Orchestra
I. The Death of Andrei [0:06]
II. The Death of Ostap [9:21]
III. The Prophecy and Death of Taras Bulba [14:49]
The Cunning Little Vixen - Orchestral Suite from the Opera
Janáček relief, by Julius Pelikán, at Olomouc
Sonata for Violin & Piano, JW 7/7
00:00 - I. Con moto
05:24 - II. Balada
10:10 - III. Allegretto
12:42 - IV. Adagio
Glagolitic Mass, mass in the Old Slavonic language
III. Gospodi pomiluj
VII. Agneče Božij
VIII. Varhany solo / Organ solo
Capriccio for Piano Left Hand and Wind Ensemble
Idyll Suite for String Orchestra
I. Andante 0:07
II. Allegro 3:54
III. Moderato 6:51
IV. Allegro 10:23
V. Adagio 13:48
VI. Tempo di scherzo 19:26
VII. Moderato 22:43
Jenufa (Její pastorkyňa)