Leoš Janáček (1854 – 1928), perhaps more than any other composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Gustav Mahler and Sergey Rahmaninov, represents a puzzling case in point as for the cultural and spiritual seismic shift that took place between the 1870s/’80s and the 1920s. He comes from a world already shaken by the French Revolution and all subsequent revolutions up to 1848, yet still sufficiently alive so to remember the old ways: fairy tales and folk legends, style, distinction, Monarchy, Catholicism. This last quarter of the 19th century was at the same time the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII, who indeed fought like a lion in order to ward off the meanwhile 360° onslaught, open and hidden, against the old order and the Catholic Church. However, Janáček, like so many of his generation, was drawn into those false promises of a “new era”, whether pan-Slavic, pantheist, or plain modernist. Still he kept the memories of the old world of his childhood days. His musical oeuvre, especially his folkloristic works, so painfully as well as articulately shows what had been lost – lost forever …
Recorded at Bratislava on January 29/30, 1990
Taken from the CD: “Janáček: Sinfonietta / Lachian Dances / Taras Bulba”, released by NAXOS. Order that CD here: http://www.amazon.com/Jan%C3%A1cek-Si…
or from your local CD-shop.
See also the connected blog: http://thecontemplativeobserver.wordp….