Leos Janacek

Janáček, Leoš

 

(also Leo Eugen Janáček). Born July 3, 1854, in Hukvaldy, Moravia; died Aug. 12, 1928, in Ostrava. Czech composer, folklorist, choirmaster, conductor, teacher, and music critic.

Janáček studied under P. Křižkovský in Brno from 1865 to 1872 and under F. Z. Skuherský at the Organ School in Prague in 1875; in 1879 and 1880 he studied at the Leipzig and Vienna conservatories. In 1881 he founded the Organ School in Brno (since 1919 a branch of the Prague Conservatory) and became its head. From 1881 to 1888 he was conductor of the orchestra of the Czech Philharmonic Society and edited the music newspaper Hudební listy (Musical Pages).

Beginning in the 1890’s, Janáček collected and adapted Moravian folk music, publishing some 2,500 folk songs. In 1889 he wrote the now classic article “The Musical Aspect of Moravian Folk Songs.” The founder of the 20th-century national school of composers, Janáček drew on previously unknown ancient Moravian folk music, although his mature works did not make use of particular folk melodies. In highly original fashion he musically rendered specific Bohemian and Moravian speech inflections, which he notated as “spoken songs.” He achieved a synthesis of the harmony, rhythm, and color of folk music art with a modern musical idiom, thereby creating a unique individual musical style that drew on the achievements of 20th-century musical art and is distinguished by its strikingly national originality.

Janáček, reacting against the influence of German late romanticism on Czech music, turned to Russian realistic musical art, Franco-Italian verismo, and French music of the turn of the 20th century. He initiated Czech composers’ interest in Russian literature as a source for operas and programmatic works. He headed the Russian Circle in Brno from 1896 to 1915 and visited Russia in 1896 and 1902. His Piano Trio (1909) and String Quartet (1923) were inspired by The Kreutzer Sonata of L. N. Tolstoy, whom he called a “teacher of life,” and sketches for the operas Anna Karenina and The Living Corpse have been preserved. Also based on plots from Russian literature were the symphonic rhapsody Taras Bulba (1918, after N. V. Gogol), the opera Katia Kabanova (1921, based on A. N. Ostrovskii’s The Thunderstorm), and the opera From the House of the Dead (1928; staged 1930, Brno; after F. M. Dostoevsky).

Notable among Janáček’s nine operas are Her Foster Daughter (Jenůfa; 1904, Brno), the productions of which in Prague in 1916 and Vienna in 1918 earned the composer worldwide recognition, and The Cunning Little Vixen (1924, Brno). Other works include the oratorio Glagolitic Mass (1926), the Sinfonietta (1926), works for chamber orchestra with various instruments, choral works, songs and song cycles, and piano sonatas.

After the independent Czechoslovak Republic was created, Janáček gained widespread recognition. He was chairman of the Moravian Composers’ Club (1919) and represented Czech musical art at international music festivals in Salzburg (1923), Venice (1925), and Frankfurt am Main (1927). An opera theater and the Academy of Fine Arts (1947) in Brno were named in his honor. Festivals devoted to Janáček’s works were held in Brno in 1948, 1958, 1965, and 1978.

REFERENCES

Asaf’ev, B. lanachek, Novak, Ferster, Suk: Izbr. trudy, vol. 4. Moscow, 1955.
Nest’ev, I. ’Eepadcheritsa’ L. lanachka. Moscow, 1960.
Poliakova, L. Opernoe tvorchestvo Leosha lanachka. Moscow, 1968.
Poliakova, L. Cheshskaia i slovatskaia opera XX v., book 1. Moscow, 1978. Pages 73–273.
Vogel, J. Leoš Janášek. Prague, 1958.
Štědroň, B. Leoš Janáček. Prague, 1976.

L. V. POLIAKOVA

References in periodicals archive ?
We will commemo rate the anniversary of the death of Leos Janacek with his underperformed cantata Amarus followed by the Glagolitic Mass.
Contract notice: Provision of regular air services between Ostrava Leos Janacek Airport (OSR / KLMT) - airport Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS / EHAM) and back in the performance of a public service obligation for a period of four (4) consecutive years.
But it was his discovery and promotion of the works of Leos Janacek and other Czech composers that helped to mark his legacy as one of the most important conductors of the twentieth century.
El virtuosismo jugaba un papel muy importante en la musica Keith Emerson, fuertemente influido por compositores como Leos Janacek, Bela Bartok y Aaron Copland, de los que en muchas ocasiones tomo temas sin darles el credito correspondiente.
The concert will feature Russian bard songs by Bulat Okudzhava and Sergey Nikitin, along with classical works by Ernest Bloch, Vytautas Barkauskas, Leos Janacek, Johann Sebastian Bach, Witold Lutoslowski, Pyotr Illich Tchaikovsky and Manuel de Falla.
On 13 and 14 May 2014, the music librarians had a meeting in Brno, where the Jin Mahen Library held a seminar on the theme Leos Janacek.
El plato fuerte dentro de la XVII edicion del Festival Amazonas de Opera, con una por demas nutrida y variada programacion que ha incluido por otra parte Un bailo in maschera del tambien bicentenario Giuseppe Verdi, La zorrita astuta del bohemio Leos Janacek, un concierto especial en el centenario del natalicio del ingles Benjamin Britten y El rey Roger del polaco Karol Szymanowski, entre otros muchos recitales y actividades diversas en derredor de la musica y el genero lirico, esta sorpresiva y sorprendente gran produccion del Parsifal ha estado signada ademas por la sumaria aportacion sincretica de creadores e interpretes de muy distintas partes del mundo.
PAVAO QUARTET The Artrix, Bromsgrove THE infatuation the ageing Leos Janacek felt for Kamila Stosslova, a married woman 38 years his junior, is to be welcomed for the many works he produced as a result of his obsession.
Delcompositor checo Leos Janacek to cara su Sonata 1.
After making a wide, sweeping turn and lining up for its final approach, the legendary aircraft touched down at Leos Janacek Airport in Ostrava, Czech Republic, to loud cheers.
32 Moravian Duets for soprano, contralto, and piano, this work was among several that were recast for four-voice chorus and piano by Leos Janacek, and that is the version that Carr used to created this eight-horn arrangement.
With music by Czech composer Leos Janacek, it is sung in English and casts English tenor John Graham-Hall as the sausage-loving Broucek.