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Leoš Janáček: On an Overgrown Path

(Arranger: Richard Dünser)

  • for ensemble / chamber orchestra
  • 1 2 3 1 - 2 0 0 0 - hp, vln(2) vla(2) vc(2) cb(1)
  • Duration: 30’
  • Instrumentation details:
    flute
    oboe
    cor anglais
    clarinet in A
    basset horn
    bass clarinet in Bb
    bassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    harp
    1st violin
    2nd violin
    1st viola
    2nd viola
    1st violoncello
    2nd violoncello
    double bass
  • Composer: Leoš Janáček
  • Arranger: Richard Dünser
  • Dedication: Michaela Girardi herzlichst gewidmet
  • Commission: Im Auftrag von Ensemble Kontrapunkte

Work introduction

The piano cycle Po zarostlém chodní?ku (On an Overgrown Path) was composed by Leoš Janá?ek in the years between 1900 and 1909. The short pieces titled:

1. Our evenings
2. A blown-away leaf
3. Come with us!
4. The Frýdek Madonna
5. They chattered like swallows
6. Words fail!
7. Good night!
8. Unutterable anguish
9. In tears
10. The barn owl has not flown away!

“contain distant memories. They are so dear to me that it seems I will never forget them.” This was written in a letter by Janá?ek in 1912. Memories of farewells, love songs and lullabies, bitterness and disappointment, weeping, of a letter that has been finally put aside, …, and a premonition of death – in the motif of the barn owl in the final piece – are the poetic starting points for the compositions. There are no motivic, thematic developments, merely moods, contrasts, stirring harmonies and turns, themes – which, like the rhythms, seem inspired by Moravian folk music but transformed entirely – , and sound, an autobiography in sound, an overgrown path of memories, a path along which the journey began at the beginning of the 20th century and was continued by me at the beginning of the 21st century with my transcription of this cycle into the sound world of a large ensemble or chamber orchestra. The fact that this is far more than merely an arrangement in the traditional sense and rather a (present-day) act of re-composition stems from my deep conviction that for this project (and actually for all instrumentation) being restricted to a level that is merely technical or purely philological can neither prove worthy of the spirit of the original composition, nor create a living work of art. The love of the original work and its composer demands a fresh creative approach to the process.

Richard Dünser

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Location:
Musikverein, Wien (AT)
Date:
20.05.2019
Orchestra:
Ensemble Kontrapunkte
Conductor:
Peter Keuschnig

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