Cover image for Janáček and his world
Janáček and his world
Beckerman, Michael Brim, 1951-
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. ; Oxford : Princeton University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 316 pages : illustrations, music, genealogical table ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"The Bard Music Festival Princeton Paperbacks"--P. [4] of cover.
Introduction. Janáček and our world / Michael Beckerman -- pt. 1. Essays. The cultural politics of language and music : Max Brod and Leoš Janáček / Leon Botstein -- How Janáček composed operas / John Tyrrell -- Janáček and the captured muse / Diane M. Paige -- Reinterpreting Janáček and Kamila : Dangerous liaisons in Czech fin-de-siècle music and literature / Geoffrey Chew -- A Turk and a Moravian in Prague : Janáček's Brouček and the perils of musical patriotism / Derek Katz -- Zdenka Janáčková's memoirs and the fallacy of music as autobiography / Paul Wingfield -- Janáček's vizitka / Michael Beckerman -- pt. 2. Janáček's writings / translated by Véronique Firkušný-Callegari and Tatiana Firkušný; introduced, and with commentary, by Michael Beckerman. Introduction : Janáček--Writer / Michael Beckerman -- Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner (1884-1885) ; My Luhačovice (1903) ; Last year and this year (1905) ; An example from Podskalí (1909) ; Whitsunday 1910 in Prague (1910) ; Stage direction (1918) ; Janáček on naturalism (1924-1925) / Leoš Janáček.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.J18 J353 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Once thought to be a provincial composer of only passing interest to eccentrics, Leos Janácek (1854-1928) is now widely acknowledged as one of the most powerful and original creative figures of his time. Banned for all purposes from the Prague stage until the age of 62, and unable to make it even out of the provincial capital of Brno, his operas are now performed in dynamic productions throughout the globe. This volume brings together some of the world's foremost Janácek scholars to look closely at a broad range of issues surrounding his life and work. Representing the latest in Janácek scholarship, the essays are accompanied by newly translated writings by the composer himself.

The collection opens with an essay by Leon Botstein who clarifies and amplifies how Max Brod contributed to Janácek 's international success by serving as "point man" between Czechs and Germans, Jews and non-Jews. John Tyrrell, the dean of Janácek scholars, distills more than thirty years of research in "How Janácek Composed Operas," while Diane Paige considers Janácek's liason with a married woman and the question of the artist's muse. Geoffrey Chew places the idea of the adulterous muse in the larger context of Czech fin de siècle decadence in his thoroughgoing consideration of Janácek's problematic opera Osud. Derek Katz examines the problems encountered by Janácek's satirically patriotic "Excursions of Mr. Broucek" in the post-World War I era of Czechoslovak nationalism, while Paul Wingfield mounts a defense of Janácek against allegations of cruelty in his wife's memoirs. In the final essay, Michael Beckerman asks how much true history can be culled from one of Janácek's business cards.

The book then turns to writings by Janácek previously unpublished in English. These not only include fascinating essays on Naturalism, opera direction, and Tristan and Isolde, but four impressionistic chronicles of the "speech melodies" of daily life. They provide insight into Janácek's revolutionary method of composition, and give us the closest thing we will ever have to the "heard" record of a Czech pre-war past-or any past, for that matter.

Author Notes

Michael Beckerman is Professor of Music at New York University. His books include Janácek as Theorist (Pendragon), Janácek and Czech Music (Pendragon) Dvorák and His World (Princeton), and New Worlds of Dvorák (Norton). He writes on music for the New York Times , was awarded the Janácek Medal by the Czech Government, and is a laureate of the Czech Music Council..

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Beckerman, a musicologist and renowned Janacek scholar (NYU), has compiled a collection of essays on the life and works of the preeminent Czech composer of the 20th century. Leos Janacek has until recently been relegated to the second tier of significant composers of the past century, but recent revivals of his major operas, including the Metropolitan Opera's production of Jenufa, have prompted a reevaluation of his oeuvre. This series of essays serves to confirm Janacek's place in the pantheon of great composers. John Tyrell's contribution, "How Janacek Composed Operas," and Diane Paige's essay "Janacek and the Captured Muse" are especially revelatory. Beckerman's own inclusion is a witty, self-referential, postmodernist essay and acts as a welcome foil to the often-dense scholarly writing in many of the pieces. In the second half of the book, the essays give way to translations of Janacek's own writings, from reviews of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde to fragmented thoughts on the question of naturalism. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate and graduate music libraries.-Larry Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.