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Leoš Janáček - String Quartet No. 1, Kreutzer Sonata (1923)
String Quartet No. 1 (Janáček) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Leoš Janáček’s String Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata", was written in a very short space of time, between 13 and 28 October 1923, at a time of great creative concentration. The work was revised by the composer in the autograph from 30 October to 7 November 1923.
The composition was inspired by Leo Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata. (The novella was in turn inspired by Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 9, known as the "Kreutzer Sonata" from the name of its dedicatee, Rodolphe Kreutzer.)
The première of the Quartet was given on 17 October 1924 by the Czech Quartet at a concert of the Spolek pro moderní hudbu (Contemporary Music Society) at the Mozarteum in Prague. A pocket score of the work was published in April 1925 by Hudební matice.
Janáček also used the Tolstoy novel in 1908-1909 when it inspired him to compose a Piano Trio in three movements, now lost. Surviving fragments of the Trio suggest that it was quite similar to the surviving quartet, and reconstructions as a piano trio have been performed. Structure and style
"I was imagining a poor woman, tormented and run down, just like the one the Russian writer Tolstoy describes in his Kreutzer Sonata", Janáček confided in one of his letters to his young friend Kamila Stösslová. In the music of the quartet is depicted psychological drama containing moments of conflict as well as emotional outbursts, passionate work rush towards catharsis and to final climax.
The composition consists of four parts:
Adagio - Con moto
Con moto - Vivo - Andante
Con moto - (Adagio) - Più mosso
The thematic idea central to the whole work is very similar to the theme of the composer's Danube symphony (1923–25). Using a principle of thematic montage, the quartet almost abandons the fields of traditional harmony, homophony and counterpoint and instead makes free with the varied sonic factors typical of Janáček, including his characteristic modal inflections. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_Quartet_No._1_(Jan%C3%A1%C4%8Dek)
The Kreutzer Sonata
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Kreutzer Sonata (Russian: Крейцерова соната, Kreitzerova Sonata) is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, named after Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. The novella was published in 1889 and promptly censored by the Russian authorities. The work is an argument for the ideal of sexual abstinence and an in-depth first-person description of jealous rage. The main character, Pozdnyshev, relates the events leading up to his killing his wife; in his analysis, the root cause for the deed were the "animal excesses" and "swinish connection" governing the relation between the sexes.
Tolstoy's novella inspired the 1901 painting Kreutzer Sonata by René François Xavier Prinet.
During a train ride, Pozdnyshev overhears a conversation concerning marriage, divorce and love. When a woman argues that marriage should not be arranged but based on true love, he asks "what is love?" and points out that, if understood as an exclusive preference for one person, it often passes quickly. Convention dictates that two married people stay together, and initial love can quickly turn into hatred. He then relates how he used to visit prostitutes when he was young, and complains that women's dresses are designed to arouse men's desires. He further states that women will never enjoy equal rights to men as long as men view them as objects of desire, but yet describes their situation as a form of power over men, mentioning how much of society is geared towards their pleasure and well-being and how much sway they have over men's actions.
After meeting and marrying his wife, periods of passionate love and vicious fights alternate. She bears several children, and then receives contraceptives: "The last excuse for our swinish life -- children -- was then taken away, and life became viler than ever." His wife takes a liking to a violinist, and the two perform Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata (Sonata No. 9 in A Major for piano and violin, Op. 47) together. Pozdnyshev complains that some music is powerful enough to change one's internal state to a foreign one. He hides his raging jealousy and goes on a trip, returns early, finds the two together and kills his wife with a dagger. The violinist escapes: "I wanted to run after him, but remembered that it is ridiculous to run after one's wife's lover in one's socks; and I did not wish to be ridiculous but terrible." Later acquitted of murder in light of his wife's apparent adultery, Pozdnyshev rides the trains seeking forgiveness from fellow passengers.
The Kreutzer Sonata - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
After the work had been forbidden in Russia by the censors, a mimeographed version was widely circulated. In 1890, the United States Post Office Department prohibited the mailing of newspapers containing serialized installments of The Kreutzer Sonata. This was confirmed by the U.S. Attorney General in the same year. Theodore Roosevelt called Tolstoy a "sexual moral pervert." The ban on its sale was struck down in New York and Pennsylvania courts. Epilogue
In the Epilogue To The Kreutzer Sonata, published in 1890, Tolstoy clarifies the intended message of the novella, writing:
“ Let us stop believing that carnal love is high and noble and understand that any end worth our pursuit -- in service of humanity, our homeland, science, art, let alone God -- any end, so long as we may count it worth our pursuit, is not attained by joining ourselves to the objects of our carnal love in marriage or outside it; that, in fact, infatuation and conjunction with the object of our carnal love (whatever the authors of romances and love poems claim to the contrary) will never help our worthwhile pursuits but only hinder them. ”
Countering the argument that widespread abstinence would lead to a cessation of the human race, he describes chastity as an ideal that provides guidance and direction, not as a firm rule. Writing from a position of deep religiosity (that he had explained in his Confession in 1882), he points out that not Christ, but the Church (which he despises) instituted marriage. "The Christian's ideal is love of God and his neighbor, self-renunciation in order to serve God and his neighbour; carnal love, marriage, means serving oneself, and therefore is, in any case, a hindrance in the service of God and men".
During the international celebration of Tolstoy's 80th birthday in 1908, G. K. Chesterton would criticize this aspect of Tolstoy's thought in an article in the September 19th issue of Illustrated London News, writing: "Tolstoy is not content with pitying humanity for its pains: such as poverty and prisons. He also pities humanity for its pleasures, such as music and patriotism. He weeps at the thought of hatred; but in The Kreutzer Sonata he weeps almost as much at the thought of love. He and all the humanitarians pity the joys of men." He went on to address Tolstoy directly: "What you dislike is being a man. You are at least next door to hating humanity, for you pity humanity because it is human."
Το τελος του έργου του Τολστόι "And all that which a moment before had been so offensive to me now seemed to me so petty,--all this jealousy,--and, on the contrary, what I had done seemed to me so important that I felt like bending over, approaching my face to her hand, and saying:
"But I did not dare. She was silent, with eyelids lowered, evidently
having no strength to speak further. Then her deformed face began to
tremble and shrivel, and she feebly pushed me back.
"'Why has all this happened? Why?'
"'Forgive me,' said I.
"'Yes, if you had not killed me,' she cried suddenly, and her eyes shone
feverishly. 'Forgiveness--that is nothing. . . . If I only do not die!
Ah, you have accomplished what you desired! I hate you!'
"Then she grew delirious. She was frightened, and cried:
"'Fire, I do not fear . . . but strike them all . . . He has gone. . . .
He has gone.' . . .
"The delirium continued. She no longer recognized the children, not even
little Lise, who had approached. Toward noon she died. As for me, I was
arrested before her death, at eight o'clock in the morning. They took
me to the police station, and then to prison, and there, during eleven
months, awaiting the verdict, I reflected upon myself, and upon my past,
and I understood it. Yes, I began to understand from the third day. The
third day they took me to the house." . . .
Posdnicheff seemed to wish to add something, but, no longer having the
strength to repress his sobs, he stopped. After a few minutes, having
recovered his calmness, he resumed:
"I began to understand only when I saw her in the coffin." . . .
He uttered a sob, and then immediately continued, with haste:
"Then only, when I saw her dead face, did I understand all that I had
done. I understood that it was I, I, who had killed her. I understood
that I was the cause of the fact that she, who had been a moving,
living, palpitating being, had now become motionless and cold, and that
there was no way of repairing this thing. He who has not lived through
that cannot understand it."
We remained silent a long time. Posdnicheff sobbed and trembled before
me. His face had become delicate and long, and his mouth had grown larger.
"Yes," said he suddenly, "if I had known what I now know, I should never have married her, never, not for anything."
Again we remained silent for a long time.
"Yes, that is what I have done, that is my experience, We must
understand the real meaning of the words of the Gospel,--Matthew, V.
28,--'that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed
adultery'; and these words relate to the wife, to the sister, and not
only to the wife of another, but especially to one's own wife."
Leoš Janáček / The Janáček Quartet, 1966: String Quartet No. 1 - "Kreutzer Sonata" - Complete
Leoš Janáček : String Quartet No.2 "Intimate Letters"
KUBIN QUARTET : L.CAP, J.NIEDERLE, P.VÍTEK, J.ZEDNÍČEK
Leoš Janáček / The Janáček Quartet, 1966: String Quartet No. 2 - "Intimate Letters" - Complete
Leoš Janáček's , String Quartet No. 2,
performed by the Janáček Quartet (Jiří Trávníček (violin), Adolf Sýkora (violin), Jiří Kratochvíl (viola), and Karel Krafka (cello), in 1966