Friday, July 3, 8854

Leos Janacek (1854-1928)

Leos Janacek (1854-1928)

Sinfonietta (1926)

I. Allegretto

IV. Allegretto

Leoš Janáček (July 3, 1854 – August 12, 1928), was a Czech composer. He was inspired by Czech, Moravian and all Slavic folk music and on these roots created his original style. His most celebrated compositons include the symphonic poem Sinfonietta, the oratorial Glagolitic Mass, the rhapsody Taras Bulba, the instrumental cycle Lachian Dances, and his string quartets and operas.

Janáček was born in Hukvaldy, Moravia, (then part of the Austrian Empire), the son of a schoolmaster. In 1865 he enrolled as a ward of the foundation of the Abbey of St. Thomas in Brno, where he took part in choral singing and occasionally played the organ. In 1874 went to Prague to study music at Prague organ school and made a living as a music teacher. He also conducted various amateur choirs.

From October 1879 to February 1880 he studied piano, organ, and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory; among his teachers there were Oskar Paul and Leo Grill. From April to June 1880 he studied composition at the Vienna Conservatory with Franz Krenn.

In 1881 he returned to Brno, where he married Zdenka Schulzová. He was appointed director of the organ school, a post he held until 1919, when the organ school became the Brno Conservatory. In 1888 he attended the performance in Prague of Tchaikovsky’s music, and he met the older composer personally. At that time he also started a systematic study and collection of folk songs, dances and music. In 1903 his daughter Olga died.

In 1916 he started a long professional and personal relationship with theatre critic, dramatist and translator Max Brod. When Jenůfa was performed in Prague in 1916 it was a great success, and brought Janáček his first acclaim; he was 62. A year later he met Kamila Stösslová, a young married woman who was an inspiration to him for the remaining years of his life, and with whom he conducted an obsessive correspondence – passionate on his side at least. In 1924, the year of his 70th birthday, the first biography of Janáček was published by Max Brod. In 1925 he retired.

In 1926 Janáček travelled to England, The Netherlands and Germany. In August 1928, along with Kamila Stösslová and her son Otta, he made an excursion to Štramberk. Soon after this Janáček became ill, and died in the sanatorium of Dr. L. Klein in Ostrava. He is buried at the Central Cemetery in Brno.

[8854 Sousa / 8854 Janacek / 8844 Rimsky-Korsakov]