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Friday Arts Feature - Sinfonietta

by Chauncey Tinker – 8 Nov 2019

Mucha’s The Slav Epic cycle No.2: The Celebration of Svantovít (1912)

Image By Alphonse Mucha - http://russianculture.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/slovane_v_pravlasti_81x61m.jpg, Public Domain, Link

My recent posts have been about music from the very distant past, but this week I want to share one of my favourite pieces of music from the last century (which is doubtless much better known), the Sinfonietta by Janáček. Leoš Janáček was born in a village in what was at the time still a part of the Austrian Empire, but later in Janáček’s lifetime became part of an independent Czechoslovakia. Of course Czechoslovakia was later “liberated” by the Soviet Union, but that happened some time after Janáček’s death (he died in 1928).

The above image is a painting by Alphonse Mucha, which he presented to the Czech nation on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of independence in 1928, as part of a series on the history of the Slavic peoples.

Another example of Mucha’s work, in the Art Nouveau style:

Zodiac calendar for La Plume (1897)

Image By Alphonse Mucha - http://www.wm-painting.ru/MasterPieces/p19_sectionid/58/p19_imageid/1568, Public Domain, Link

Janáček wrote a great religious piece called the Glagolithic Mass to celebrate the declaration of independence, although like me he was an atheist. Apparently many in Czechoslovakia had become atheists as a reaction to the harsh imposition of Catholicism under the Habsburgs. I have a shorter musical piece to share with you today in the tradition of these arts features however; Janáček’s Sinfonietta was written in 1926 and was dedicated “to the Czechoslovak Army” of the independent nation, it is performed here by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle:

Have a good weekend everyone.

Prague

Image By Jiuguang Wang - https://www.flickr.com/photos/jiuguangw/11920245696, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:

From Wikipedia:

Leoš Janáček

Alphonse Mucha

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