Wednesday, 9 November 2016

On an overgrown path by Leoš Janáček

Po zarostlém chodnícku
On an overgrown path 
Leoš Janáček
arranged for Flute, Harp & Cello by Ernestine Stoop

Born in Moravia (Brno) the son of a school teacher, Leoš Janácek was a gifted child who showed musical ability from an early age.

The music he composed before 1900 gave no indication of the road he was about to take - leaving the path of the traditional, classic romantic structures he was using, he developed his own unique treatments of harmony and rhythm. Only Debussy had made a comparable move in composing. The opera ‘Jenufa’ (1904) was Janácek’s great break-through.

During this period of development the musicologist Jan Branberger asked him to submit a contribution for piano, violin or voice for inclusion in a budget edition of miniature compositions. It took Janácek about 10 years to finish the compositions which became the cycle ‘On an overgrown path’ (1900-1910). Originally intended for harmonium it was finally scored for piano.

Leoš Janácek wrote: “The little pieces ‘On an overgrown path’ contain distance reminiscences. Those reminiscences are so dear to me that I do not think they will ever vanish. Whenever I have a moment to indulge myself undisturbed in these recollections, then I find another such little piece comes to mind. It is on an overgrown path. There is a love song on the path, too, as well as the bitterness of disappointment.”

Ernestine Stoop arranged these 10 pieces for flute/alto-flute, violoncello and harp.

When asked to play a ‘Balkan’ programme, her decision to perform Leoš Janácek’s ‘On an overgrown path’ was not a difficult choice. The simple and honest beauty of each piece speaks for itself.

The choice of instruments was obvious: the flute and especially the hoarse sound of the alto-flute are perfect for most of the melodic parts, the violoncello is a beautiful instrument to colour the flute and take care of the harmonium part, the harp (like the piano) takes care of the harmony and rhythm most of the time. (the harp plays the beautiful chords-solo in the Frydek Madonna).

This edition is dedicated to Harrie Starreveld, flutist and Eduard van Regteren Altena, cellist. They have been the ideal musicians to help me improve the arrangement.

For further information visit Creighton's Collection

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