(John Tyrrell (Editor), Leos Janacek, Kamila Stosslova (Contributor)
These are the letters of a great love story. In 1917, the Czech composer Leos Jancek met Kamila Stsslov while on holiday at Luhacovice, a spa resort in Moravia. He was sixty-three and locked in a loveless marriage; she was twenty-six, the wife of an antique dealer frequently away from home. After the holiday, Jancek began writing to Stsslov. Undeterred by her lack of interest in his work and her spasmodic replies, he continued to send her letters until his death eleven years later. An extraordinarily self- revealing portrait emerges of an isolated artist at the height of his creative powers and the beginning of his international fame. It is also a portrait of a lonely man who, as the years went by, came to fantasize about Stsslov as his true "wife"--the inspiration for many of the works of his old age. Most of these letters were suppressed until changing conditions in Czechoslovakia allowed their full publication in 1990. John Tyrrell has edited and translated a comprehensive selection, concentrating on the almost daily letters of the final eighteen months. Supported by a diary of meetings between Jancek and Stsslov, a decoding of the erotic references in the letters, and a selection of mostly unknown photographs, this remarkable book breathes life into the story one of the greatest of operatic composers and provides vital clues to the nature of his creative genius.
(Paul Wingfield, editor)
This is the first major set of essays on the Czech composer Leos Janacek, widely considered one of the most important composers of the early twentieth century. The essays deal with a range of subjects relating to opera, symphonic poem, instrumental music, cultural context, reception, and Janacek as music theorist and analyst. Some topics, such as the sources of Janacek 's musical expressivity, narrative, Janacek as musical analyst and realist have hitherto received little attention, whilst other, more conventional topics, such as 'speech melody' and Janacek's ethnographic activities, are reappraised.