Leos Janácek


Born: 1854   Died: 1928   Country: Czechoslovakia   Period: 20th Century
Leos Janácek (1854-1928) is regarded as the greatest Czech composer of the early twentieth century. In his early works, which included the opera Sárka (1888), and numerous vocal and instrumental works, Janácek followed a traditional, Romantic idiom, typical of late nineteenth century music. Having completed Sárka, however, Janácek immersed himself in the folk music of his native Moravia, gradually developing an original compositional style. Read more Eschewing regular metrical phrasing, Janácek developed a declamatory method of setting the voice that follows the natural rhythmic patterns of the Czech language. Characteristically, Janácek allowed these patterns to inform the music itself. In addition, Janácek's harmonies, forms and orchestration are highly idiosyncratic. His music favors repetitive patterns, often set in stark contrast to longer, more lyrical, lines, or large blocks of sound. Dramatic effects are attained with minimal thematic or contrapuntal elaboration. The result is music of great rhythmic drive, sharp contrasts, and an intricate, montage-like texture. Exemplifying Janácek's radical stylistic transformation is his tragic opera Jenufa (1904), based on a story of jealousy, murder, and innocence.

At first unknown outside of Moravia, where he was recognized primarily as a teacher, conductor, and champion of folk music, Janácek first gained national and international fame with the Prague production of Jenufa in 1916. The success of Jenufa in Prague tremendously energized the composer, who, in his sixties, experienced an astonishing creative surge, composing several masterpieces. Janácek's euphoric state of mind could be attributed to two factors. First of all, after the foundation, in 1918, of the Czechoslovak state, Janácek became a national celebrity. The second, and perhaps more important, factor, was Janácek's affection for Kamila Stösslová, a considerably younger married woman. While his ardor was not reciprocated, Janácek's passion for Kamila undoubtedly simulated his creativity. Janácek's modern fame rests on his four last operas, Kát'a Kabanová (1921), The Cunning Little Vixen (1924), The Makropulos Affair (1926) and the posthumously premiered From the House of the Dead (1930). What makes these works outstanding is Janácek's profound dramatic sense, which allows his operas, in spite of their brevity, to effectively communicate a complex plot. The dramatic effect is heightened by the composer's ability to adapt his music to the tonal and rhythmic characteristics of the Czech language. The last four operas in particular are perfectly paced for the right dramatic impact. In addition, Janácek drew on the inner resources of music and speech to convey complex feelings and emotional states to his listeners. Janácek's extraordinary power in translating profound psychological insights into music truly comes to the fore in The Makropoulos Affair, based on a work by Karel Capek, a story about a woman with the gift of eternal youth. In 1926, Janácek, whose early interest in Moravian folk music developed into an effort to grasp Slavic musical traditions in their totality, composed his Glagolitic Mass, a work aiming to express the profound spiritual bonds underlying the seemingly disparate cultural traditions of the Slavic nations (the term "glagolitic" refers to one of the early alphabets of Old Slavic). During his final creative period, Janácek also composed a small number of exceptional chamber works, including the two string quartets and the Sinfonietta. In addition to his work as a composer, Janácek actively contributed to his country's musical life as a teacher, critic, and organizer. Founder of the Brno Organ School (later to become the Brno Conservatory), director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, teacher at the State Conservatory of Prague, and initiator of many musical festivals, Janácek greatly enriched Eastern European music education and culture. Read less
Janácek: Sinfonietta;  Dvorák: Legends / Järvi, Bamberg
Release Date: 09/26/1994   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 436   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $21.99
CD: $18.99
Low Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $21.99   CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Janácek: Die Ausflüge Des Herrn Broucek / Keilberth, Et Al
Release Date: 03/06/1995   Label: Orfeo D'or  
Catalog: 354942   Number of Discs: 2
On sale! $39.99
CD: $32.99
In Stock
On sale!   $39.99   CD:  $32.99 Add CD to Cart

Janácek: Osud / Albrecht, Straka, Aghová, Benacková, Kusnjer
Release Date: 10/24/1995   Label: Orfeo  
Catalog: 384951   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $22.99
CD: $18.99
In Stock
On sale!   $22.99   CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

Chopin, Janácek, Mussorgsky / Rudolf Firkusny
Release Date: 11/30/2004   Label: Orfeo D'or  
Catalog: 633041   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $19.99
CD: $15.99
In Stock
On sale!   $19.99   CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

Leos Janácek: Piano Music / Charles Owen
Release Date: 06/24/2003   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 28   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $18.98
CD: $14.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

There are 512 Leos Janácek recordings available.

Select a specific Composition Type or Popular Work or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below

Composition Types

Leos Janácek

I. Fanfares
II. The Castle
III. The Queen's Monastery
IV. The Street
V. The Town
I. The Death of Andrei
II. The Death of Ostap
III. The Prophecy and Death of Taras Bulba
1. Adagio
2. Con moto
3. Con moto
4. Con moto
1. Andante
2. Adagio
3. Moderato
4. Allegro
Janácek: Concertino for piano and chamber orchestra - 1. Moderato
Janácek: Concertino for piano and chamber orchestra - 2. Piů mosso
Janácek: Concertino for piano and chamber orchestra - 3. Con moto
Janácek: Concertino for piano and chamber orchestra - 4. Allegro
I. Con moto
II. Balada; Con moto
III. Allegretto
IV. Adagio
Glagolitic Mass: Uvod (Introduction)
Glagolitic Mass: Gospodi pomiluy (Kyrie eleison)
Glagolitic Mass: Slava (Gloria)
Glagolitic Mass: Veruju (Credo)
Glagolitic Mass: Svet (Sanctus)
Glagolitic Mass: Agneoe Bozij (Agnus Dei)
Glagolitic Mass: Organ solo (Postlude)
Glagolitic Mass: Intrada
On the Overgrown Path: Our evenings
On the Overgrown Path: A blown-away leaf
On the Overgrown Path: Come with us!
On the Overgrown Path: The Madonna of Frydek
On the Overgrown Path: They chattered like swallows
On the Overgrown Path: Words fail!
On the Overgrown Path: Good night!
On the Overgrown Path: Unutterable anguish
On the Overgrown Path: In tears
On the Overgrown Path: The barn owl has not flown away!
Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 'From the street': Presentiment
Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 'From the street': Death

Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In