Leoš Janáček: The Excursion of Mr. Broucek to the 15th Century

Leoš Janáček The Excursion of Mr. Broucek to the 15th Century
The Excursion of Mr. Broucek to the 15th Century

Leoš Janáček: The Excursion of Mr. Broucek to the 15th Century

Year of composition:
1917
Subtitle:
Opera in 2 acts
Composer:
Leoš Janáček
Editor:
Jirí Zahrádka
Translator:
Norman Tucker (23.07.1973); Robert Brock (16.01.1963)
Librettist:
Leoš Janáček
Roles:
Broucek, tenor Petrík, tenor Domsík of the Bell, bass-baritone Kunka, soprano Councillor, bass Student, soprano Kedruta, alto Miroslav the Goldsmith, tenor Vojta of the Peacocks, tenor Vacek Bradatý, baritone First Taborite, baritone Second Taborite, teno
Choir:
Bewaffnete Männer, TTTBBB Krieger, TTBB Stimmen, SSAATT Volk, SSAATTTBB Kinder, SA (Kinderchor)
Instrumentation:
4 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc, hp, cel, str - stage orchestra: ob(2), bsn, hn, tpt(3), org, bagpipe
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
3rd flute (+picc)
4th flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
cor anglais
1st clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
2nd clarinet in Bb
bass clarinet in Bb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
contrabassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in F
2nd trumpet in F
3rd trumpet in F
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
tuba
timpani
percussion
harp
celesta
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass
stage orchestra: 1st oboe
2nd oboe
bassoon
horn in F
1st trumpet in F
2nd trumpet in F
3rd trumpet in F
organ
bagpipe
Remarks:
This second part of the Broucek-opera may only be performed in combination with the first.
Duration:
60’
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The Excursion of Mr. Broucek to the 15th Century
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Work introduction

The Excursion of Mr. Brouček is a very complicated and difficult piece. It’s a wonderful piece I think. But again, it’s a very complicated idea, because it’s a double satire. Through Brouček the effeminate, artistic world, set on the moon, is satirized and on earth the ridiculously dogmatic, fanatical world of the Medieval religious fundamentalists is satirized, but at the same time Brouček himself is satirized as a contemporary petty bourgeois philistine, so it’s a double satire. Usually in a satire you have an Everyman figure through whom you see that the world is absurd. But in this piece you see the world as absurd, but you see that the central figure is absurd as well. So there is no centre.

David Pountney


The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the Moon and The Excursion of Mr. Brouček to the 15th Century doubtlessly occupy a special position within the composer’s operatic oeuvre. After all, they seem to completely contradict the fundamentally serious and dramatic character of his other operas. With its intense comedy, garnished with unmistakably satirical elements, one could almost characterise The Excursions of Mr. Brouček as being atypical of Janáček’s production. Yet here as well, his extremely expressive, text-orientated and, above all, original compositional style, which made him one of the 20th century’s most important composers, is unmistakably present. On the occasion of the German première in 1959, the Viennese music critic and cultural journalist Karl Löbl asked, How has this delectable music managed to remain hidden from us for so long?

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