View Poll Results: Is Leoš Janáček Overshadowed By Other Late Romantic Composers?

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  • Yes, very often overshadowed by other late Romantic composers

    3 11.54%
  • Somewhat overshadowed but as are many other composers too

    5 19.23%
  • No, not at all

    12 46.15%
  • I don't know enough to decide

    4 15.38%
  • Who care's?

    2 7.69%
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Thread: Is Leoš Janáček Overshadowed By Other Late Romantic Composers?

  1. #1
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    Default Is Leoš Janáček Overshadowed By Other Late Romantic Composers?

    I was listening to Leoš Janáček's opera Cunning Little Vixen. The score was rather uneven in quality to me. I found the instrumental parts most enjoyable but the vocal arias were weak. Maybe it was the performance but I was just a little underwhelmed by the uneven quality of the work.

    LJ is better known for his other works, no doubt. His Sinfonietta , his two well regarded string quartets for example are very great pieces of work.

    I find he gets overshadowed by his many contemporaries from the mid to late Romantic period.

    What do you think?

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    This was the version of the opera I listened to. Maybe it was the performance, maybe not.


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    But his two string quartets are quite something. This is the version I have, from Naxos.


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    Senior Member GreenMamba's Avatar
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    I like him a lot and think he is perhaps overshadowed, but is he late Romantic?

    Jenufa is a strong opera, I think. I love the Sinfonietta. Glagolitic Mass, Violin Concerto, String Quartets and solo piano music are all strong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMamba View Post
    I like him a lot and think he is perhaps overshadowed, but is he late Romantic?

    Jenufa is a strong opera, I think. I love the Sinfonietta. Glagolitic Mass, Violin Concerto, String Quartets and solo piano music are all strong.
    I have listened to many of those fine pieces. They were enjoyable.

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    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    No way!!!!! Maybe in Macon, Georgia.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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    He's not really a late romantic anyway; he's much more in line with early modernism.

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    Comparing composers based on being contemporaneous is a fools' game. But comparing even when not contemporaneous doesn't make much more sense. Music is not a competition, each composer is expressing what is personally important and we have to listen with that in mind. Our only appropriate decision is whether it 'speaks' to us.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpeggio View Post
    No way!!!!! Maybe in Macon, Georgia.
    Macon is a special place! From Alex Ross:
    ----------------------------------
    William Schuman often told the story of a concert in Macon, Georgia, after which he was approached by a member of the audience who told him she liked his piece even though she did not generally like atonal music. Schuman tried to explain that the work indeed was not atonal, but tonal, even though the harmony may be complex. Finally she interrupted his explanation with the comment, "That's very well, Mr. Schuman, but in Macon, Georgia, your piece is atonal."


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    Senior Member Grizzled Ghost's Avatar
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    Overshadowed? What does this even mean?

    I don't see any composers in the last 200 years casting very big shadows. Those of us in the teeny-tiny minority of classical music fans are free to direct our attention anywhere we please. Modern technology liberates us from the tyranny of the artistic directors at the big symphonies.

    I don't like to quibble over labels, but Janacek does not strike me as particularly modernist, simply by virtue of him having very little in common with those who might be called modernist. I think he just tried to come up with new and interesting sounds. Does that make him a modernist? I'd say he's sui generis.
    Last edited by Grizzled Ghost; Jun-28-2015 at 06:33.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzled Ghost View Post
    I don't like to quibble over labels, but Janacek does not strike me as particularly modernist, simply by virtue of him having very little in common with those who might be called modernist. I think he just tried to come up with new and interesting sounds. Maybe that makes him a modernist - I dunno. I'd say sui generis.
    Like Debussy and Bartok, he found a way of using folk music (and, in that connection, modality) as inspiration for a way outside of traditional tonality.

    His early works are romantic in the vein of Dvorak, but his mature works as you say find a unique voice.

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    Senior Member Grizzled Ghost's Avatar
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    Speaking of unique voice, wasn't he trying to incorporate human speech patterns into his music?

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzled Ghost View Post
    Speaking of unique voice, wasn't he trying to incorporate human speech patterns into his music?
    Yes he was and, in my opinion, very successfully.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Like Debussy and Bartok, he found a way of using folk music (and, in that connection, modality) as inspiration for a way outside of traditional tonality.

    His early works are romantic in the vein of Dvorak, but his mature works as you say find a unique voice.
    I agree. He sounds more modernist than romantic to my ears.
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
    "there's a fine line between having an open mind and having your whole brain fall out"
    --Anonymous

    アルバート セブン

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  26. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    He's not really a late romantic anyway; he's much more in line with early modernism.
    Out of curiosity, do you think one could say the same of late Nielsen? Not only his late symphonies/concerti, but even a few of his late piano pieces are rather astonishing...

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