Czech Music around 1900

Czech Music around 1900

Edited by Lenka Krupková, Jirí Kopecky


Pendragon Press



An examination of Czech music, drawing attention to some unjustly forgotten treasures, in the two decades before the First World War.
Czech musical culture around 1900 saw itself as the culminating phase of the development of Czech national music. At the same time, however, it exhibited many contradictory phenomena mirroring the inexorable dissolution of unified Czech patriotic life, which especially in the second half of the nineteenth century had encountered resistant forces in the Germanophilic environment of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The extraordinary dynamics of the period of about two decades before the outbreak of World War I were determined by the rise of a young generation of composers who now accepted the "global" character of Czech music as a matter of course, thanks to the international success of works by Bedrich Smetana (the opera The Bartered Bride) and Antonín Dvorák (works for orchestra and chamber ensembles, large choral works).

Composers like Leos Janácek, Josef Bohuslav Foerster, Josef Suk, and especially Vítezslav Novák had extraordinary talent, received good training, and gradually won support from influential publishers. With courage and critical perspective they came to terms with the bequest of the "fathers", the "founders" of Czech music, as well as with the works of their own more famous contemporaries like Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, and Gustave Charpentier. They gained successes abroad. Reactions by the public, critics, and their colleagues, however, were mixed, as though Czech society were not capable of accepting divergent approaches to artistic creation. Many works (if not many composers) came out of this "battleground" weakened and fell by the wayside. One of the aims of this book, Czech Music Around 1900, is to draw attention to some unjustly forgotten treasures of Czech music.

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30 black and white illustrations
308 pages
23.4x15.6 in
Studies in Czech Music
Hardback, 9781576473023, November 2017
eBook, 9781576472927, November 2017
Pendragon Press
BISAC MUS006000, MUS020000
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Table of Contents

Introductory Remarks on the Conception of This Book
Flowers in the Graveyard, Tombstones in the Garden
The "Other World" of Music at the Turn of the Century
In the Footsteps of Tradition: The Spirit of Romanticism
1892: The International Success of Smetana's The Bartered Bride
A Rare Meeting of Minds in Kvapil's and Dvoøák's Rusalka
The Background, the Artistic Result, and Response by the World of Opera
Delayed Subjective Romanticism in Czech Music: Novák as a Romantic
Capek's Feminism and Janácek's Femme Fatale: Notes on Traditional Opera Aesthetics in Janácek's Opera The Makropulos Case
Czech Music at the Heart of European Music round 1900
Novák as an Axial Figure in Czech Music
Novák's Reception Abroad
Josef Suk, Dvorák's Favorite Pupil
Fibich's Path to Success in Prague's National Theater
Josef Bohuslav Foerster's Lyrical Opera Eva and the Tradition of the French Drama lyrique
Otakar Ostrcil and Mahler's Influence in Prague
Folk Culture as an Outward Source of Artistic Inspiration: Vítìzslav Novák the Tourist
The Clash with Compositional Issues of European Music
The Concept of Multi-Movement Structure within a Single Movement in the Music of Vítìzslav Novák
Heritage and New Paths in the Piano Sonatas of Vítìzslav Novák and Leos Janácek
Josef Suk's Ripening and the Birth of the Czechoslovak Republic
The Consequences of Conflict in the Czech Musical World: Zdenìk Fibich as a Point of Contention in Novák's Polemics with Nejedlý