As a continuation of our Janáček Online project, the Czech Center brings lovers of Leoš Janáček new online content about this renown Czech composer. Take a listen to a Janáček jam session or a piano and cello composition by Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová, influenced by Janáček’s oeuvre, or take a virtual guided video tour of Janáček’s house in Brno where he spent the last 18 years of his life and where he composed his most famous works.
JANÁČEK INFLUENCES – VÍTĚZSLAVA KAPRÁLOVÁ: Ritournelle for Cello and Piano, Op. 25 (1940)
Video by Julian Veverica
The breakthrough musical talent of the Brno composer Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915-1940) was strong enough to successfully establish her as a composer in the harsh world of classical music, in the first half of the 20th century still strongly dominated by men. Ritournelle for Cello and Piano, Op. 25 (1940) is the author’s last composition. She finished it in Paris, a month before her death.
The composition was included in the program of the planned Janáček recital organized by the Czech Center New York for March of this year. The dramaturgical inclusion of this composition by its interpreters, cellist Štěpán Filípek and pianist Katelyn Bouska, was supposed to represent one of the examples of works by Brno authors who followed after Leoš Janáček.
JANÁČEK JAM SESSION: Kristýna Kůstková with Michal Šupák
An afternoon jam session with Leoš Janáček and one of his most famous songs, “Lavečka” (Bench). Janáček was a great Czech composer and famous folk music collector and arranger. “Lavečka” is part of his cycle titled Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs:
That little bench of ours broke in two pieces ... as well as our hearts parted because my beloved betrayed me.
Kristýna Kůstková, voice student at Mannes School of Music, was supposed to sing “Lavečka” and other songs from this cycle at the opening night of the Janáček’s exhibition at the Czech Center New York this spring. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, it was unfortunately not possible, so she joined the project Musicians Who Won’t Be Silenced From Prague and invited the pianist Michal Šupák to collaborate, who also played with Kristýna at the Christmas Concert in Bohemian National Hall in New York last December. During their session, “Lavečka” and its new arrangement comes alive.
It is interesting how Janáček observed Czech speech and dialects and created a concept of “speech tunes” in his vocal works (mostly in his operas) – the vocal lines are therefore assimilated to the rhythm and intonation of common people’s speech. It would be really interesting to know how Janáček would hear it today!Take a listen then to the song and how it can be assimilated to the language of jazz music in Michal Šupák’s improvisational arrangement
GUIDED VIDEO-TOUR OF LEOŠ JANÁČEK MEMORIAL IN BRNO BY JIŘÍ ZAHRÁDKA
For Janáček lovers, the Moravian Museum and TIC Brno have prepared a commented guided tour of Leoš Janáček’s Memorial in Brno.
Take a look at the house in Brno in which Leoš Janáček lived the last 18 years of his life, during which he composed most of his famous operas – including Káťa Kabanová and The Makropulos Case, and other works. The villa housed Janáček’s Ehrbar piano that he used to compose his entire life’s work, as well as intriguing gadgets he used for collecting speech melodies of Czech dialects that feature so prominently in his musical oeuvre.
Narrated by Jiří Zahrádka, musicologist and curator of the Janáček’s collections at the Moravian Museum’s Department of the History of Music.
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