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Leos Janácek

July 3, 1854 - August 12, 1928
born in Hukvaldy, Czech Republic, composed during the Modern period
Leos Janácek (1854-1928) is regarded as the greatest Czech composer of the early twentieth century. In his early works, which included the opera Sárka (1888), and numerous vocal and instrumental works, Janácek followed a traditional, Romantic idiom, typical of late nineteenth century music. Having completed Sárka, however, Janácek immersed himself in the folk music of his native Moravia, gradually developing an original compositional style. Eschewing regular metrical phrasing, Janácek developed a declamatory method of setting the voice that follows the natural rhythmic patterns of the Czech language. Characteristically, Janácek allowed these patterns to inform the music itself. In addition, Janácek's harmonies, forms and orchestration are highly idiosyncratic. His music favors repetitive patterns, often set in stark contrast to longer, more lyrical, lines, or large blocks of sound. Dramatic effects are attained with minimal thematic or contrapuntal elaboration. The result is music of great rhythmic drive, sharp contrasts, and an intricate, montage-like texture. Exemplifying Janácek's radical stylistic transformation is his tragic opera Jenufa (1904), based on a story of jealousy, murder, and innocence.

At first unknown outside of Moravia, where he was recognized primarily as a teacher, conductor, and champion of folk music, Janácek first gained national and international fame with the Prague production of Jenufa in 1916. The success of Jenufa in Prague tremendously energized the composer, who, in his sixties, experienced an astonishing creative surge, composing several masterpieces. Janácek's euphoric state of mind could be attributed to two factors. First of all, after the foundation, in 1918, of the Czechoslovak state, Janácek became a national celebrity. The second, and perhaps more important, factor, was Janácek's affection for Kamila Stösslová, a considerably younger married woman. While his ardor was not reciprocated, Janácek's passion for Kamila undoubtedly simulated his creativity. Janácek's modern fame rests on his four last operas, Kát'a Kabanová (1921), The Cunning Little Vixen (1924), The Makropulos Affair (1926) and the posthumously premiered From the House of the Dead (1930). What makes these works outstanding is Janácek's profound dramatic sense, which allows his operas, in spite of their brevity, to effectively communicate a complex plot. The dramatic effect is heightened by the composer's ability to adapt his music to the tonal and rhythmic characteristics of the Czech language. The last four operas in particular are perfectly paced for the right dramatic impact. In addition, Janácek drew on the inner resources of music and speech to convey complex feelings and emotional states to his listeners. Janácek's extraordinary power in translating profound psychological insights into music truly comes to the fore in The Makropoulos Affair, based on a work by Karel Capek, a story about a woman with the gift of eternal youth. In 1926, Janácek, whose early interest in Moravian folk music developed into an effort to grasp Slavic musical traditions in their totality, composed his Glagolitic Mass, a work aiming to express the profound spiritual bonds underlying the seemingly disparate cultural traditions of the Slavic nations (the term "glagolitic" refers to one of the early alphabets of Old Slavic). During his final creative period, Janácek also composed a small number of exceptional chamber works, including the two string quartets and the Sinfonietta. In addition to his work as a composer, Janácek actively contributed to his country's musical life as a teacher, critic, and organizer. Founder of the Brno Organ School (later to become the Brno Conservatory), director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, teacher at the State Conservatory of Prague, and initiator of many musical festivals, Janácek greatly enriched Eastern European music education and culture. ~ Zoran Minderovic, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Janacek: Brumes D'Enfance

Title: Kacena Divoká (The Wild Duck), Folk Song For Chorus, Jw 4/18
Title: Holubicka (The Little Dove), Song For Male Chorus, Jw 4/19/2
Title: Placici Fontana
Title: Elegie Na Smrt Dcery Olgy (Elegy On The Death Of My Daughter Olga), Cantata For Tenor, Chorus & Piano, Jw 4/30
Title: In The Mists (V Mlhách), Pieces (4) For Piano, Jw 8/22
Title: Vlcí Stopa (The Wolf's Trail), For Soprano, Female Chorus & Piano, Jw 4/39
Title: Ríkadla (Nursery Rhymes) (18) For 9 Voices & 10 Instruments, Jw 5/17
x

Track List: Janacek: Chamber Music

Disc 1
Title: Piano Sonata ("Zulice, 1.x.05," "From The Street, 1 October, 1905"), Jw 8/19 (Final Movement Lost)
Title: Pohádka (Fairy Tale), For Cello & Piano ("The Story Of Tsar Berendyey"), Jw 7/5
Title: Presto For Cello & Piano, Jw 7/6
Title: On The Overgrown Path (Po Zarostlém Chodnícku), For Piano, Jw 8/17
Disc 2
Title: In The Mists (V Mlhách), Pieces (4) For Piano, Jw 8/22
Title: Romance, For Violin & Piano In E Major, Jw 7/3
Title: Dumka, For Violin & Piano, Jw 7/4
Title: Theme And Variations For Piano In B Flat Major ("Zdenciny Variace," "Zdenka Variations"), Jw 8/6
Title: Moravian Dances (3), For Piano (Combines Jw 8/18 And Jw 8/12)
Title: Sonata For Violin & Piano, Jw 7/7
Title: Allegro For Violin & Piano (Version Of The 4th Movement Of The Violin Sonata)
Title: Vzpomínka (Reminiscence), For Piano, Jw 8/32
x

Track List: Janacek: From The House Of The Dead

Disc 1
Title: From The House Of The Dead (Z Mrtvého Domu), Opera, Jw 1/11
Disc 2
Title: Mládí (Youth), Suite For Wind Sextet, Jw 7/10
Title: Ríkadla (Nursery Rhymes) (18) For 9 Voices & 10 Instruments, Jw 5/17
x

Track List: Janacek: Sinfonietta/Glagolitic Mass - Felicity Palmer, Malcolm King, Sir Simon Rattle, Philharmonia Orchestra

Title: Sinfonietta For Orchestra ("Military," "Sokol Festival"), Jw 6/18
Title: Mass (Msa Glagolskaja) For Soloists, Double Chorus, Orchestra & Organ ("Glagolitic Mass"), Jw 3/9
x

Track List: Janácek: Chamber Music & Orchestral Works

Disc 1
Title: On The Overgrown Path (Po Zarostlém Chodnícku), For Piano, Jw 8/17
Title: Theme And Variations For Piano In B Flat Major ("Zdenciny Variace," "Zdenka Variations"), Jw 8/6
Title: In The Mists (V Mlhách), Pieces (4) For Piano, Jw 8/22
Title: Vzpomínka (Reminiscence), For Piano, Jw 8/32
Disc 2
Title: String Quartet No. 1 ("Kreutzer"), JW 7/8
Title: String Quartet No. 2 ("Listy duverné," "Intimate Letters"), JW 7/13
Title: Sonata For Violin & Piano, Jw 7/7
Title: Dumka, For Violin & Piano, Jw 7/4
Disc 3
Title: Mládí (Youth), Suite For Wind Sextet, Jw 7/10
Title: Capriccio For Piano (left Hand), Flute & Brass Ensemble ("Vzdor," "Defiance"), JW 7/12
Title: Concertino For Piano, 2 Violins, Viola, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon, JW 7/11
Title: Pohádka (Fairy Tale), For Cello & Piano ("The Story Of Tsar Berendyey"), Jw 7/5
Title: Presto For Cello & Piano, Jw 7/6
Disc 4
Title: Sinfonietta For Orchestra ("Military," "Sokol Festival"), Jw 6/18
Title: Taras Bulba, Rhapsody For Orchestra, Jw 6/15
Title: Lachian (Lasské) Dances (6) For Orchestra, Jw 6/17
Disc 5
Title: Suite For String Orchestra, JW 6/2
Title: Ríkadla (Nursery Rhymes) (18) For 9 Voices & 10 Instruments, Jw 5/17
Title: Mass (Msa Glagolskaja) For Soloists, Double Chorus, Orchestra & Organ ("Glagolitic Mass"), Jw 3/9
x

Track List: Janácek: Choruses For Male Voices

Title: Orání (Ploughing), Folk Song For Male Chorus, JW 4/1
Title: Coz Ta Nase Bríza (Our Birch Tree), Song For Chorus, JW 4/22
Title: Vínek (The Garland), Folk Song For Male Chorus, JW 4/31
Title: Perina (The Eiderdown), Folk Song For Male Chorus, JW 4/38
Title: Male-Voice Choruses (Ctverice Muzskych Sboru) (4), JW 4/17
Title: Moravian Male-Voice Choruses (Ctvero Muzských Sboru Moravských) (4), JW 4/28
Title: Kantor Halfar (Halfar The Schoolmaster), Song For Male Chorus, JW 4/33
Title: Marycka Magdónova, For Double Male Chorus, JW 4/34 (first Version)
Title: 70,000 (Sedmdesát Tisíc, The Seventy Thousand), For Soloists & Male Chorus, JW 4/36
Title: Ceská Legie (The Czech Legion), For Tenor, Bass & Male Chorus, JW 4/42
Title: Potulný Sílenec (The Wandering Madman), For Soprano, Tenor, Baritone & Male Chorus, JW 4/43
Title: Male-Voice Choruses (Tri Muzské Sbory) (3), JW 4/19
Title: Láska Opravdivá (True Love), Folk Song For Male Chorus, JW 4/8
x

Track List: Janácek: Operas

Disc 1
Title: Jenufa, Opera, JW 1/4
Disc 2
Title: Jealousy (Zárlivost), overture for orchestra, JW 6/10
Disc 3
Title: Jenufa, Opera, JW 1/4
Disc 4
Title: The Cunning Little Vixen (Príhody Lisky Bystrousky), Opera, JW 1/9
Title: The Cunning Little Vixen, suite for orchestra (arranged and orchestrated by Václav Talich)
Disc 6
Title: From The House Of The Dead (Z Mrtvého Domu), Opera, Jw 1/11
Title: The Makropulos Case (Vec Makropulos), opera, JW 1/10
Disc 7
Disc 8
Title: Káta Kabanová, Opera, JW 1/8
Disc 9
Title: Sinfonietta For Orchestra ("Military," "Sokol Festival"), Jw 6/18
Title: Taras Bulba, Rhapsody For Orchestra, Jw 6/15
x

Track List: Janácek: Orchestral Works

Disc 1
Title: Sinfonietta For Orchestra ("Military," "Sokol Festival"), Jw 6/18
Title: Lachian (Lasské) Dances (6) For Orchestra, Jw 6/17
Title: Taras Bulba, Rhapsody For Orchestra, Jw 6/15
Disc 2
Title: The Cunning Little Vixen, suite for orchestra (arranged and orchestrated by Václav Talich)
Title: Jealousy (Zárlivost), overture for orchestra, JW 6/10
Title: From The House Of The Dead (Z Mrtvého Domu), Opera, Jw 1/11
Title: The Makropulos Case (Vec Makropulos), opera, JW 1/10
x

Track List: Janácek: Piano Music

Title: Piano Sonata ("Zulice, 1.x.05," "From The Street, 1 October, 1905"), Jw 8/19 (Final Movement Lost)
Title: On The Overgrown Path (Po Zarostlém Chodnícku), For Piano, Jw 8/17
Title: In The Mists (V Mlhách), Pieces (4) For Piano, Jw 8/22
Title: Vzpomínka (Reminiscence), For Piano, Jw 8/32
x

Track List: Janácek: Piano Music, Vol. 1

Title: On The Overgrown Path (Po Zarostlém Chodnícku), For Piano, Jw 8/17
Title: Piano Sonata ("Zulice, 1.x.05," "From The Street, 1 October, 1905"), Jw 8/19 (Final Movement Lost)
x

Track List: Janácek: Piano Music, Vol. 2

Title: Theme And Variations For Piano In B Flat Major ("Zdenciny Variace," "Zdenka Variations"), Jw 8/6
Title: Moravian Dances (3), For Piano (Combines Jw 8/18 And Jw 8/12)
Title: Vzpomínka (Reminiscence), For Piano, Jw 8/32
Title: Music for Club-swinging Exercises (Hudba ke krouzení Kuzely), for piano, JW 8/13
Title: In The Mists (V Mlhách), Pieces (4) For Piano, Jw 8/22
Title: Concertino For Piano, 2 Violins, Viola, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon, JW 7/11
x

Track List: Janácek: Piano Works (Complete)

Disc 1
Title: Piano Sonata ("Zulice, 1.x.05," "From The Street, 1 October, 1905"), Jw 8/19 (Final Movement Lost)
Title: On The Overgrown Path (Po Zarostlém Chodnícku), For Piano, Jw 8/17
Title: In The Mists (V Mlhách), Pieces (4) For Piano, Jw 8/22
Disc 2
Title: Theme And Variations For Piano In B Flat Major ("Zdenciny Variace," "Zdenka Variations"), Jw 8/6
Title: In Memoriam (Na památku), for piano (Intimate Sketches No. 10), JW 8/9
Title: Ej, danaj! dance for piano, JW 8/12
Title: Music for Club-swinging Exercises (Hudba ke krouzení Kuzely), for piano, JW 8/13
Title: Elegie Na Smrt Dcery Olgy (Elegy On The Death Of My Daughter Olga), Cantata For Tenor, Chorus & Piano, Jw 4/30
Title: On The Overgrown Path (Po Zarostlém Chodnícku), For Piano, Jw 8/17
Title: Work(s)
Title: Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs (Moravská lidová poezie v písních), folk songs (53) for voice & piano, JW 5/2
Title: Work(s)
Title: Intimate Sketches (Intimní Skici) (13), for piano
x

Track List: Janácek: Taras Bulba

x

Track List: Leos Janácek: Piano Works; Solo Piano; Concertino And Capriccio

Disc 1
Title: Theme And Variations For Piano In B Flat Major ("Zdenciny Variace," "Zdenka Variations"), Jw 8/6
Title: On The Overgrown Path (Po Zarostlém Chodnícku), For Piano, Jw 8/17
Title: Vzpomínka (Reminiscence), For Piano, Jw 8/32
Disc 2
Title: Piano Sonata ("Zulice, 1.x.05," "From The Street, 1 October, 1905"), Jw 8/19 (Final Movement Lost)
Title: In The Mists (V Mlhách), Pieces (4) For Piano, Jw 8/22
Title: Concertino For Piano, 2 Violins, Viola, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon, JW 7/11
Title: Capriccio For Piano (left Hand), Flute & Brass Ensemble ("Vzdor," "Defiance"), JW 7/12

Comments

Love this!!
Haruki Murakami brought me here.
Listen to my Elf-Rune radio
Janacek gave up composing for an extended period until he met the love of his life; then hang on your hats: he went bananas, producing some of his greatest music. Love conquers all!
lkgrebnel
. . . pronounced < Yah nah' chic
hpahs.7
Don't read this because it really works. U will be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest possible Friday. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. But if u don't post this u will die in two days. Now u have started reading so don't stop. Put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes and when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. It's scary b/c it works.
Nice music!
merrysea5
the bad Czech
So unique. I love it!
Gets me each and everytime. (Cee Rex)
Splendid!
Janacek is one of the most varied composers you will fing. His earlier works are Romantic and he slid into a fantastic combination of the tonal and atonal, blended with folk themes.
hcarey5129
was his music used on Hitchcock's "Vertigo"?
Liked what I heard from him on Pandora. Fascinating biography here. Good stuff, inspiring.
i luv anything and everything by JANACEK and i am a KRAUT
very nice!!!
felliax
5 stars. :)
a precursor to minimalism? I'm Czech and I love it!
I absolutely love it!

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