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A Very Strange Fairytale

Donald Macleod discusses Janacek's youth and musical upbringing in his native Moravia, as he made his name as a composer and wooed his wife Zdenka.

Donald Macleod explores Janacek's youth with a selection of rare chamber works. Including extracts from his sparkling Nursery Rhymes for choir and ensemble.

The life of Leos Janacek (1854-1928) is one of the strangest in all classical music. Virtually ignored for most of his career, in his late 60s Janacek abruptly began to compose some of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century, whilst all the time hopelessly and unrequitedly in love with a woman more than half his age, Kamila Stösslová. Yet once upon a time Janacek was best known as a composer of chamber music. This week, Donald Macleod explores the composer's life through his instrumental and small-scale compositions, revealing the little-known story of his struggle for recognition.

We begin the series with Janacek's youth and musical upbringing in his native Moravia, as he makes his name as a composer and woos his wife Zdenka - his future companion of nearly half a century of turbulent married life. Donald Macleod presents a selection of music written during his studies in Leipzig - city of Bach and Mendelssohn, a set of variations for his new beloved, and a mature masterpiece looking back on his own idyllic youth.

Introduction; The Beetroot Got Married (Rikadla)
Collegium Vocale Gent
Het Collectif
Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor

Sonnet (Znelka) for four violins
Members of the Wroclaw Orchestra Leopoldinum, violins

Mládi (Youth)
Claude Debussy WInd Quintet, Bruno Martinez (bass clarinet)

Variations for Zdenka, Op 1
Rudolf Firkušny, piano

Romance and Dumka
Ulf Wallin, violin
Roland Pöntinen, piano

There's Nothing Better than the Springtime; The Mole Creeps; Karel Rode Off To Hell; Ripped Trousers (Rikadla)
Collegium Vocale Gent
Het Collectif
Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 15 Aug 2016 18:30

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Music Played

  • Leos Janáček

    Rikadla (Children's rhymes)

    Composer: Reinbert de Leeuw. Choir: Collegium Vocale Gent.
    • Alpha Alpha 219.
    • Alpha.
    • 13.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Suite No. 3 in B minor

    Performer: Richard Egarr.

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