The Song Is You

Long fascinated by the crossover between music and language, I was delighted to come across a dissertation by Jonathan Pearl entitled Music and Language: The Notebooks of Leoš Janáček. The Czech (or more accurately Moravian) composer was taken by the idea that character was manifest in prosody and strove to come up with melodies for his operatic characters which were true to the music of their speech.

Jonathan Pearl does a much better job of explaining it – either here in the full-length dissertation or here in a shorter version (look for Eavesdropping with a Master: Leos Janácek and the Music of Speech). Very interesting reading!

Illustrating this idea with a single YouTube clip is tricky so instead let me embed a clip of one of Janáček’s most famous non-operatic works – the final movement of his Sinfonietta, conducted here by Pierre Boulez. Listen out for great trumpet section work at 5:00:[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

2 thoughts on “The Song Is You”

  1. A very apt anti-spam word Alan as my new cleaning girl
    has is learning about Janacek
    Like the kids in school she says the music is ‘not her style’
    and she had never heard of this well known composer from Brno
    I told her that everyone who goes to the cinema 50% – 99% of film
    music is orchestral. she is listening as she cleans.
    We’ll see if the furniture is well dusted!
    ps I’ve always loved this work. and Brno is an interesting
    place…went there in 1988 A

  2. Sorry Alan it was in Hukvaldy that
    Janacek was born….silly me.
    AnnI have been to Brno though…

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