7. 11. 2022, 7 p.m.

Mahen Theatre

Iva Bittová and Brno Contemporary Orchestra

Leoš Janáček – The Diary of One Who Disappeared (version with instrumentation by Miloš Štědroň)

Iva Bittová – Nezabudka for Male and Female voice and Piano, Janáček miniatures in contemporary arrangements by Miloš Štědroň



The concert lasts 75 minutes without intermission.


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This arrangement of Janáček´s The Diary of One Who Disappeared was prepared by Miloš Štědroň Junior and Senior upon the request of the Bärenreiter Praha publishing house. It has been performed at a number of festivals and recorded by Czech Radio Brno. The arrangement makes use of a tenor, a mezzo-soprano, 3 female voices and a chamber ensemble of 11 players – flute (piccolo), clarinet (bass clarinet), bassoon (contrabassoon), trombone, celesta, harp, violin, viola, cello, double bass, and timpani.  Janáček´s musical score is consistently preserved, and just colourfully layered.

The Fugue for Piano in G Minor was most likely created in the autumn of 1879 during Janáček’s studies in Leipzig. Soon I’ll be whistling fugues like a parrot – that´s how the composer evaluated the fact that he was forced to produce quite a large number of piano fugues (these pushed out the organ fugue, and thus became a frequent concert piece) in a letter to Zdeňka. These fugues were known to exist, but only 3 of them have been discovered by chance – this being during the archiving of a huge collection of fugues named Liber fugarum, which was collected by Janáček´s friend, the priest Josef Chmelíček, throughout his life. The collection is owned by a Cistercian monastery in Rein, Austria, to which Chmelíček bestowed the work. The three preserved fugues were published in 2008 by Editio Janáček Brno. After composing these fugues as a student, Janáček never returned to the genre and his only polyphonic composition is the masterful double passacaglia Organ solo from The Glagolitic Mass.

In memoriam – we don’t have the manuscript for this piano miniature, only a printed copy entitled In Memoriam Leoš Janáček. The Janáček´s Works catalogue (Simeone, Tyrrell, Němcová, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1997) dates it to 1887. It is a piano miniature in a memorial collection for Eliška Krásnohorská. The composition is one of the first documents with evidence of Janáček´s style –  chords instead of harmony, a simple melody on the verge of banality “alienated” by swift rhythmic motifs.

That Field in Brezova – One of Janáček’s favourite songs from the area around Brezova on the Moravian-Slovak border. Janáček copied down music intensively there, making an independent study of the region. We already chose this song for Iva Bittová´s CD IVA BITTOVÁ CLASSIC (Supraphon, 1998).

Janáček wrote the miniature I Am Waiting for You! on 5th August 1928 – just one week before his death – in the Album for Kamila Stösslová in Hukvaldy. This 12-bar composition of almost Dvořák-like fervour is probably just a sketch, to which the composer would later have added the usual contrasting “alienating” layer, had he returned to it. The whole Album was published with accompanying studies and commentaries by Jarmila Procházková in 1994 at the Moravian Museum in Brno.

Janáček knew the dance named The Saws from his native region, and, in addition to the Dvořák-esque symphonic dance stylization in Lachian Dances, he returned to the dance in 1904 with a form of piano stylization. The virtuoso piano miniature is a demonstration of Janáček´s favourite ostinato and chords which replace harmony. The ostinato figure brings the miniature closer to similar piano dance stylizations by Béla Bartók.

Janáček made notes on The Ancient One, The Lady Turned Pale in a 1901 study named On the Musical Aspect of Moravian Folk Songs. He described the sample, which he wrote in two lines (the first in the violin clef for singing and violin, the second in the bass clef for double bass), as the Ancient Lachian One, and stated that this and another sample were dances that originated… from the Těšín and Skočov regions

The Enigma – this is how we marked a mysterious place in the last part of the 2nd string quartet Intimate Letters. Janáček got the idea for the melody, which sounds almost like something from an operetta, but in the typical Janáček fashion masterfully “alienated” by a background of sounds, sometime between November 1927 and January 1928. He was at the Stössls’ in Písek between 2nd and 4th November 1927, when he probably went with Kamila to visit R. Benatzky´s touring operetta production Dolly (though the melodic pattern of The Enigma does not appear in this operetta, which was already inspired by the jazz that was so popular in that period). Janáček was at the Stössls’ in Písek again from 8th – 12th December 1927. At that time, he lent Kamila Zdenek Fibich´s Love Diary by Zdeněk Nejedlý. The quartet was created between 29th January and 19th February 1928.

Krajcpolka – an adaptation of a folk song with the text My brother died, I remained, his shoes passed to me…  for singer and piano. The Janáček´s Works catalogue lists this song as being created between 1908 and 1912.

The 3rd part of what was originally a five-movement symphony titled The Danube (the Janáček´s Works catalogue dates the beginning of work on the unfinished vocal symphony to 1923 after Janáček returned from Bratislava). One movement was lost, but Ludvík Kundera saw it on Janáček´s desk in Hukvaldy when compiling an inventory of the composer’s property after his death, and he wrote down the incipit, at least. Janáček took this quick Allegro, twice interrupted by a lyrical slowdown, from his penultimate opera The Makropulos Case, where it was supposed to be a ‘warm-up’ vocalise for Emilia Marty. The high soprano forms a massive gradation arch. This part is the de facto culmination of the symphony The Danube.

Miloš Štědroň

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